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Old 14 December 2009, 13:32   #51
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Fit for purpose?

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Originally Posted by Doug Stormforce View Post
It’s not the ticket that’s wrong. It does not claim running maintenance or knowledge of all vessels. It is the employers recruitment and training process that has failed them.
Doug sorry - just to clarify when I suggested that the Ticket was not "fit for purpose" what you wrote is precisely what I meant. Not that the ticket wasn't a suitable assessment of general baseline ability to operate "a" powerboat commercially - but that this ticket was not fit for the purpose of assessing someone's ability to operate a boat in the particular way/environment that is required. i.e. it is fit for the purpose that the RYA/MCA envisage it but it is not fit for the purpose to which some operators seem to be putting it (as the sole requirement for a job).
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Old 14 December 2009, 14:18   #52
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Doug sorry - just to clarify when I suggested....
Polwart my post was not aimed at your thoughts, they are not far of mine. I was really responding to Stu, Simon, Tim and DM who I think are all suggesting the ticket needs changing to accommodate the peculiarities of their work and save them from having to provide any staff training.
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Old 14 December 2009, 16:11   #53
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Originally Posted by Doug Stormforce View Post
Polwart my post was not aimed at your thoughts, they are not far of mine. I was really responding to Stu, Simon, Tim and DM who I think are all suggesting the ticket needs changing to accommodate the peculiarities of their work and save them from having to provide any staff training.

When did I say that, then! if you think my question on this thread, is to save Offshore companies training expense your pretty wide of the mark.

I do however think putting the right oil (or to indicate an inability to do so) in an engine, and knowing how to tie a boat up taking tidal range into consideration is a reasonable expectation of a qualified commercial boat driver by a charter operator.
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Old 14 December 2009, 17:30   #54
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Making people train in areas they would not use would make the ticket NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.
You wouldn't expect one of your instructors of whatever level to be able to fault find basic problems on petrol or diesel engines then. Yeh right.

What about fire fighting. Does having training in that make the ticket not fit for purpose. Or does that come under something that you might find you have to use. Like use of radar or engine (petrol and diesel) fault finding.

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It is the employers recruitment and training process that has failed them.
Blanket statement putting all in employers in the wrong. It's my perception that RYA adv comm skippers with not much in the logbook, when applying for jobs, are viewed with suspicion until proven otherwise. Why do think that is?


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Lot of nonsense been said here.
Good to see your input as well
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Old 14 December 2009, 20:08   #55
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DM, I assume that's Dave? (If it is sorry, I did not click earlier)

Must congratulate you on some very talented mis-quoting

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You wouldn't expect one of your instructors of whatever level to be able to fault find basic problems on petrol or diesel engines then. Yeh right.
Basic fault finding is in the syllabus and can be examined, my reference was to maintenance, there is I believe a difference. My students and junior/new staff carry out basic fault finding. My experienced/senior staff and outside professionals carry out maintenance.

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What about fire fighting. Does having training in that make the ticket not fit for purpose. Or does that come under something that you might find you have to use. Like use of radar or engine (petrol and diesel) fault finding.
You made reference earlier to engine maintenance and fire fighting, I did not comment on fire fighting, not sure why you are implying I did. Maybe you should write headlines for a tabloid paper

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Blanket statement putting all in employers in the wrong. It's my perception that RYA adv comm skippers with not much in the logbook, when applying for jobs, are viewed with suspicion until proven otherwise. Why do think that is?
I would say that any skipper with an empty logbook should be treated differently from an old hand who has proven himself many times over, this is exactly what I was talking about when I suggested that employers need to consider training and experience when recruiting skippers.


The way I understand is is none of us can gain commercial experience until we have a ticket. If you will not give anyone a ticket until they have massed thousands of hours of commercial experience then there is a problem.

Pulling up the ladder behind you now that you are qualified and have had the chance to use those qualifications to gain more experience might secure you work but will not help the offshore/commercial industry. Employers need to understand what they get when the take on a newly qualified skipper, expecting him to know everything they know after their lifetimes experience in the industry would be naive.
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Old 14 December 2009, 20:18   #56
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When did I say that, then?
Having re read your posts I take your name of the list, looking back you are far more positive in your posting towards the Adv Cert. of Comp. than I realised, my humble apoligies.

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I do however think putting the right oil (or to indicate an inability to do so) in an engine....,
Totally agree, I also think that as a boat owner/operator/employer keeping a spare bottle of the correct oil on board would be common sense and stop the problem from happening[/QUOTE]

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and knowing how to tie a boat up taking tidal range into consideration is a reasonable expectation of a qualified commercial boat driver by a charter operator.
Again totally agree and as Tim said we all have a bad day, I suspect the skipper in question demonstrated tidal understanding on exam day and many others but on this occasion messed up.
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Old 15 December 2009, 02:34   #57
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this thread actually seems to mostly be a bunch of people is violent agreement. It seems that everyone agrees that the RYA Advanced Commercial Ticket is good but inadequate as the only way of assessing a candidates competence at operating a powerboat in all circumstances.

Why is there a diesel engine maintainence course but no "outboards" course?
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Old 15 December 2009, 03:30   #58
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Quote:
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Why is there a diesel engine maintainence course but no "outboards" course?
I can only speak for us ... at SeaSkills we looked at producing an outboards course, and our conclusion was that:

- simple fault-finding and basic checks should be taught on the powerboat courses anyway, and don't need a special course to repeat them (whether or not they get taught effectively is perhaps another discussion)

- beyond the basics, modern 4-stroke engines with a high level of electronic control are not suited to owner maintenance. If something goes wrong, it is likely that it will need to be connected up to a computer diagnostic programme and workshop facilities.

- diesel engines are more suited to user maintenance, but even with diesels when we looked at a course to go beyond the basics we thought it would look more like an apprenticeship for a mechanic and wasn't feasible.
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Old 15 December 2009, 03:52   #59
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I can only speak for us ... at SeaSkills we looked at producing an outboards course, and our conclusion was that:

- simple fault-finding and basic checks should be taught on the powerboat courses anyway, and don't need a special course to repeat them (whether or not they get taught effectively is perhaps another discussion)

- beyond the basics, modern 4-stroke engines with a high level of electronic control are not suited to owner maintenance. If something goes wrong, it is likely that it will need to be connected up to a computer diagnostic programme and workshop facilities.

- diesel engines are more suited to user maintenance, but even with diesels when we looked at a course to go beyond the basics we thought it would look more like an apprenticeship for a mechanic and wasn't feasible.
Ian I'm going to split this into another thread - as I think it merits discussion. So I'll continue that topic over here: http://rib.net/forum/showthread.php?t=33565
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Old 15 December 2009, 10:21   #60
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Yes you were........
Actually, on that occasion I wasn't intending to.

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.......and you're still at it.
Yes, then I was (although sarcastic rather than patronising). I was sparked up by the yes minister comments

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Instructors, no matter how qualified are probably not the best to answer the question unless they've got commercial experience.
True - although I think you mean "specific commercial experience in this area". As has already been pointed out - commercial drivers go into very different things. I'd say, though, that newly qualified skippers might also lack the commercial experience - I don't think Stu's original question was based on experience, it was more based on what had changed in the Advanced Exam and any Preparation course. Therefore, I think instructors, whilst maybe not the best, were certainly appropriate to contribute to the question.

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That may be a crass statement to make but it might be interesting to see how many have experience of putting a boat against a windtower in a 2-3m sea,
Yes, I have done this in smaller seas. However, this is not something we teach on the Advanced Course, nor is it something that is Examined for the Advanced CoC. Most employers I know offer initial training in this - it's not work I've ever applied for.
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how many have experience of coming alongside a mother ship which is moving at 3-4 knots for crew transfer,
No, I've never done this. Is this not more appropriate for FRC Coxn's or similar? How many employers are actually getting Advanced CoC holders in for this - again not work I've ever applied for, nor something I teach.

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These are all tasks which an advanced commercially endorsed boat driver might be expected to carry out. Jimbo is teaching these people. Perhaps he might tell us of his own experience of these disciplines.
See above. I teach within my experiences and abilities, which I hope exceed the requirements of the Advanced CoC exam. I also teach safe practice and a positive and conscientious approach to boating, rather than specifics and specific scenarios.

I have had people on Advanced Exam preparation courses who have experience of the above - in this instance I pump them for information, and we talk about it. They are usually experienced in these areas already, and employers send them on the Advanced CoC exam as the fastest route to a commercial qualification. I doubt the same employers would hire someone who came out with an advanced CoC and no experience, and wanted to step straight into fairly specific offshore work with no further training.

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In post 32 you quoted from a lot of contributors to the thread. Was there a reason why you omitted Trailer Blokes comment re standards. He is after all a long standing employer of comercial skippers
No, it was because he was repeating an already expressed view, and my quotes were focused (or intending to be focused) on those offering specific suggestions on how to improve things - not just that they needed revision.

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I would be very much in favour of a new course, called the “advanced commercial boat handling course” or something, similar to the new PBI assessment (so basically pass or fail) which teaches and examines how people go about operating a boat commercially. This should cover things like maintenance, knowledge and understanding of the main systems on a boat (so that if something goes wrong, the skipper can at least identify what’s wrong even if he or she is not able to repair it), risk assessments, safety briefings for the punters etc.
I don't think this would work. We already have a subjective exam, which is the route to a commercially endorsed certificate. I think the issue lies at the point your advanced CoC is commercially endorsed, which is presently a purely paperwork exercise. What if in order to commercially endorse, you had to complete a quiz/test/workbook, to establish good practice in various scenarios?

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That's the exact opposite of what I think. Read the post! There's lots of people out there working windfarms, construction, coastal rides, survey etc on RYA commercially endorsed advanced or yachtmaster tickets. I don't think the current syllabus prepares them adequately.
I'd throw that back to the employers I'm afraid. As identified above, I don't apply for work I don't think I'm capable of, or have no experience of (and is so specific I can't simply apply good practice to it) but evidently others don't take the same view. Stu posted a while back offering work at a highly attractive rate, more than double what I earn in the RYA world, but as I wasn't the right man for it, I just didn't put myself forward.

I think the current syllabus prepares them adequately for navigation, seamanship, and good practice, but the potential requirements are so broad you couldn't possibly incorporate them all. It's also not as though the RYA route is the only option open to potential skippers, or the only qualification a potential employer can look for.

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Fair point, but my experience of powerboat trainers and advanced examiners is that they are normally extremely well qualified, and judge who they’re examining very fairly.
Yes, but the key is they have a broad range of subjects to examine, so can only test commonly required attributes. Introducing a second test wouldn't change this.

The examples you've referred to (with the exception of the drunk and the harbour wall muppet) would be covered by a basic induction and familiarisation with the boat - in the stress of a busy day running charters mistakes are made such as the wrong oil. I'm sure you've changed your induction procedures as a result of this.

I also find it interesting that mistakes made by a charter operator owner, sea school owner, offshore company lead skipper etc, are often reported back or managed as less serious than the same mistake made by a junior or new member of staff. There are things that can be changed within the RYA exam process, and there are some that it is inappropriate to modify.
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Don't try passing the buck to the RYA, they manage the generic ticket to drive boats not the specifics of each and every job, it is up to employers to train their staff or ensure they are familiar with the specific craft and what is role required of them.
As mentioned in my earlier posts, I have been in contact with the RYA, to pass on some of these views and suggestions as to how things can change/improve. They have made the following points/statements:

  • As you will no doubt be aware we have been helping the MCA in publicising the issues with “Rib Rides” and back injuries on these type of events. The MCA is also currently working on guidance for activities such as this. The rib rides are outside of RYA training activities which is why we are only assisting.
  • You will be aware that strictly speaking the commercial certificates of competence are the MCA’s responsibility rather than ours even though we help.
  • Around 1230 people complete the PBADV course each year. Approx 300 take the CoC and then around 60 – 70 % of that number go on to commercially endorse that CoC.
  • Keeping commercial skippers informed in a simple way can be done by signing up to the MCA mailings at http://nds.coi.gov.uk
I made the suggestion that it would be good for the RYA to send more information to Commercial Skippers that have qualified through the RYA pathways, in a similar way to the Wavelength magazine that is published for all Instructors. We've discussed several ideas for this, and the conclusion that we've come to is Wavelength will now feature a section specifically for Commercial Skippers. This will include information from the RYA, and any contributors (get typing guys and girls!).

How to distribute this to non-instructors and non-rya members is still a question - as there aren't specific funds allocated for this. The current suggestion is to e-mail all commercial skippers on the RYA database with a link to Wavelength on line - minimal cost implication. This isn't confirmed yet.

I am pleased we've been through this process on this thread - the way I see it we've clarified/achieved the following things:
  • Cleared up any confusion between the Advanced Course, the Advanced CoC, and a Commercial Endorsement
  • Re-aligned views from instructors and skippers on expectations, of the exam, of instructors, of skippers, and of employers
  • Discussed some specific examples (Celtic Pioneer) which has highlighted the specific issue of back injuries to anyone commercial who reads this thread
  • Made some of the views from Commercial Operators and Owners heard at the RYA - and their suggestions.
  • Encouraged the RYA to feed more information through to commercial skippers qualified via their pathway
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