Learning the ropes with Warsash Superyacht Academy

Yachting Pages interviewed Lars Lippuner, business development manager at Warsash Superyacht Academy to find out more about the crew training industry and how the maritime school has developed.

1) In your own words, how would you describe Warsash Superyacht Academy and how it all began? 

Warsash Maritime Academy is celebrating its 70th anniversary next year (however the roots of Warsash goes back to the Southampton School of Navigation founded in the 18th century).

Yachting has become increasingly important for us, so much so that the Warsash Superyacht Academy (WSA) was launched at the Monaco Yacht Show in 2012 to cater for the growing demand of quality crew for the yachting sector.

2) How do you describe your business?  How has it developed over the years?

WSA is a collaboration of professional companies; Warsash Maritime Academy, its parent organisation Southampton Solent University, and a group of some of the best known companies in yachting.  We are a first-class education and training centre for superyacht crew.

3) What makes Warsash Superyacht Academy different from its competitors?  How are you unique?

The quality of tuition, the range of the courses and the facilities of Warsash Superyacht Academy are unmatched within the yachting industry.

WSA is the only training provider who is part of a university and benefits from all the advantages that a university brings to students. It resides on a 17-acre waterside campus, which includes outstanding specialist facilities such as six full bridge simulators, the world’s most advanced engine room simulator, ECDIS suites, extensive engineering workshops, ETO labs, library, dedicated student learning areas, fire school and a survival centre to name just a few.

It even has a manned model ship handling on a lake on a second 20-acre site. £30m has been invested in the facilities since 2008 alone. 

Further to this, what makes WSA different from its competitors is that we were instrumental in setting up the very first yacht specific training schemes (Class 4) some 14 years ago, and even helped some of the competitors set theirs up initially. 

4) What’s new with your business?  Are you working on any new developments at the moment?

Warsash is constantly working on new developments for example by expanding the eLearning options even further. Last year an app for both iPad and Android devices was launched. 

5) What type of crew do you specialise in?

All crew at all levels, from entry-level deckhand, engineer or crew right up to heads of departments and captains.

Warsash also offers specialist courses for shore-based managers such as ‘Company Security Officer’ and ‘Designated Person Ashore’ courses.

6) What are your top tips for those seeking crew training courses/opportunities?

For crew: Make sure you record your sea service properly from day one. Know your career opportunities early. Always choose quality, it’s about your own professionalism in the end, don’t rush or fast track, nothing replaces experience.

For the industry: The industry will need to recruit several thousand of new crew over the next few years to satisfy the demand of the new builds and to replace crew on current yachts. However, it shouldn’t just be about attracting a large number of new crew, it should be about attracting the right standard of new crew.

In order for the industry to be attractive for talented young people it needs clear career progression opportunities; not only for the time the crew are on-board a yacht, but also including opportunities when the career takes them back ashore.

7) What are the current trends in your sector at the moment?

There is a general shift towards long-term career planning bringing further professionalism to crew. Another trend is the increased demand for full STCW unlimited certification, for yachts above 3,000GT and passenger yachts carrying more than 12 passengers.

8) Are you attending any upcoming boat shows? 

Yes, Warsash will be attending events at Palma, Antibes, Monaco, Fort Lauderdale and Antigua. Most effort is going into the Monaco Yachts Show with a stand both inside and outside the show.

For further information, visit Warsash Superyacht Academy.

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