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Old 04 August 2013, 17:54   #1
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Windfarm qualifications?

Spoke to a mate today, he is very excited about the prospect of Windfarm work, quoting much 's as probably wages.

He has a current Boatmaster Licence, a lost YM Theory ticket (date unknown), plently of driving experience on fishing boats & small passenger vessels, 'grey hair'.

Claims that the 'grey hair' is a sought after requirement for this industry, in preference to the much younger guys.

Is he talking drivel?
What are the current minimums required?

Someone has pointed him toward MSN 1802 & talked about STCW95, the latter being offered at Warsash for 900/5 day course.
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Old 04 August 2013, 18:18   #2
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I'd ring the wind farm direct.
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Old 04 August 2013, 18:23   #3
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think boatmaster is generally plenty but as above each may differ,

Pretty interested in this idea myself but i've only got one or two grey hairs which I tend to pluck on sight.
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Old 04 August 2013, 18:36   #4
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Minimum YM Offshore Commercial but Master 200 much preferred. Boatmaster not often accepted.
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Old 05 August 2013, 02:57   #5
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I work in the Wind Farm Sector and can tell you all that I am unaware of any operators who will accept BML for skippers. There are 2 reasons;

1. the wind farms are mostly well outside the limits of the BML's
2. the Energy Clients want to see all skippers holding at least MCA STCW 95 Master (Code Vessel) <200gt and often build this level of CoC into the charter contracts

Entry into the Sector now is based upon minimum Industry standard of holding at least STCW 95 Basic Safety Certs. There are many Training Providers who deliver these courses normally throughout the year.

From my experience anyone who has plenty of on board experience should apply to the various WFTV Operators but also note that they may well only be taken as a deck hand as the RYA Offshore Commercially Endorsed CoC plus STCW 95 Basic Safety Certs are the basic entry level for skippers (even though Clients want all skippers to Hold the MCA Master (CV) <200gt not any of the RYA Commercially Endorsed CoC's)

I know that MGN 280 (Small Commercial Vessel Code) indicates APB (CE) or even PB L2 (CE) as the minimum CoC level however the operators and their clients, from the years of experience they have of the operation of the WFTV's, have made a decision that Yachtmaster Offshore (CE) will be the minimum. Remember that the cost of these sophisticated vessels is now between 2m for a small 12m - 15m to 4.5m for a 24m vessel

Last winter the best estimate was that there were about 60 - 70 WFTV's laid up with no work which equates to about 400 crew. The best guess for this winter is about 30 - 40 vessels being laid up (about 200 crew). However best guess is that it looks as if there will be shortage of vessels and crews in winter 2016!

Hope this info helps you all with decision making
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Old 05 August 2013, 03:59   #6
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Originally Posted by Skippy John View Post
I work in the Wind Farm Sector and can tell you all that I am unaware of any operators who will accept BML for skippers. There are 2 reasons;

1. the wind farms are mostly well outside the limits of the BML's
2. the Energy Clients want to see all skippers holding at least MCA STCW 95 Master (Code Vessel) <200gt and often build this level of CoC into the charter contracts

Entry into the Sector now is based upon minimum Industry standard of holding at least STCW 95 Basic Safety Certs. There are many Training Providers who deliver these courses normally throughout the year.

From my experience anyone who has plenty of on board experience should apply to the various WFTV Operators but also note that they may well only be taken as a deck hand as the RYA Offshore Commercially Endorsed CoC plus STCW 95 Basic Safety Certs are the basic entry level for skippers (even though Clients want all skippers to Hold the MCA Master (CV) <200gt not any of the RYA Commercially Endorsed CoC's)

I know that MGN 280 (Small Commercial Vessel Code) indicates APB (CE) or even PB L2 (CE) as the minimum CoC level however the operators and their clients, from the years of experience they have of the operation of the WFTV's, have made a decision that Yachtmaster Offshore (CE) will be the minimum. Remember that the cost of these sophisticated vessels is now between 2m for a small 12m - 15m to 4.5m for a 24m vessel

Last winter the best estimate was that there were about 60 - 70 WFTV's laid up with no work which equates to about 400 crew. The best guess for this winter is about 30 - 40 vessels being laid up (about 200 crew). However best guess is that it looks as if there will be shortage of vessels and crews in winter 2016!

Hope this info helps you all with decision making
Thanks for that.
I've worked previously (about 4 years ago) off the Dutch/German coasts, with commercially endorsed YM (Ocean as it happens + STCW95)), but not sure of current requirements to advise him.
He seems to think 2 weeks on/2 weeks off, is the regime, earing about 80k/year.
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Old 05 August 2013, 05:42   #7
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I would suggest that the pay for 2 on 2 off will be about 40K per year in WFTV when he holds an MCA STCW 95 Master (CV) <200gt but of course it all depends upon the company that he works for and the location etc.

Without YM Offshore (CE) plus STCW 95 Basic Safety I would suggest very little chance of getting a skippers job working out of UK and no chance of working out of Germany/Denmark etc.

With a BML plus STCW 95 Basic safety Certs he might get a job as a deckhand but again this will depend upon the operators and location of the wind farm.
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Old 05 August 2013, 08:50   #8
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Beware of very long hours and some companies attitudes - there is a lot of pressure to do the hours requested or walk.
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Originally Posted by Zippy
When a boat looks that good who needs tubes!!!
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Old 05 August 2013, 09:56   #9
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Beware of very long hours and some companies attitudes - there is a lot of pressure to do the hours requested or walk.
Have they not heard of STCW or MLC2006? (which is coming into force on Aug 20th) being commercial employers, they are resposible for ensuring certain hours of rest, and under MLC2006, certain conditions are met, such as hours of rest, vacation, etc etc

Basically you need to get 11 hours of rest per day minimum.
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Old 06 August 2013, 01:33   #10
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Tonto is correct about the hours of rest as the Merchant Shipping (Hours of Rest) Regulations require;

1. at least 10 hours rest every 24 hours with a maximum of 2 breaks with one being at least 6 hours in length.
2. at least 77 hours rest every 7 days

Interestingly the only main addition in MLC 2006 as against the various ILO Conventions is the introduction of a formal grievance procedure that can end up with the Flag State. Everything else is already contained in the ILO Conventions and which, in the UK, are reflected in various Regulations etc.
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Old 06 August 2013, 02:13   #11
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Quote from Skippy John
2. the Energy Clients want to see all skippers holding at least MCA STCW 95 Master (Code Vessel) <200gt and often build this level of CoC into the charter contracts

Guys

I endorse everything Skippy John says and particularly his point above.

Amongst other things I'm a commercially endorsed skipper but am predominantly shore-based these days as a site manager on new-build offshore wind farms.

I've just completed an 18 month contract on a new-build off the UK coast and am 5 days into a new project working out of Denmark on a project in German waters and amongst other things, I control the supply/crew boats so I have a handle on this....

The relevant qualifications are just the start. More improtant than anything is the attitude; there are some absolutely brilliant skipers I've had the pleasure to work with but these guys are in high demand and their employers look after them very well (albeit not quite to the 80k mark mentioned in one of the posts!). I'm afraid to say however that there is a steady stream of people holding the correct tickets who, for one reason or another, struggle to come to terms with the highly regulated, health & safety driven culture, with its attendant paperwork and reporting procedures. I also have to say that there are many people in the industry who will be responsible for tasking and controlling you who will see you as nothing more than a taxi driver!

I also have to say that the projects are moving further offshore and this involves generally larger supply and crew transfer vessels that are working 24 hours a day. That means two crews doing 12 hour shifts, staying aboard the 'mother ship' when off duty and frequently staying offshore for 7 days before coming in to collect bunkers and head back out again.

This puts strain on vessels and crews alike; stuff breaks, people struggle to deal with the relentless nature of the work and many people are simply not cut out for it.

Yes, there are days when you can hook up to a tower, get the fishing rod out and enjoy the sunshine but they are few and far between. More likely is the need to ride out a weather system, getting 'mullered' whilst maintaining station as the designated emergency response vessel, whilst looking enviously at the 15,000 ton mother ship sitting relatively untroubled nearby.

It's not everyone's cup of tea but on the other hand, the industry will always welcome suitably qualified skippers who can add value to the project, not just drive a boat.
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Old 06 August 2013, 02:52   #12
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I know personally two ex skippers and they both told me about the excessive hours they were expected to work - they know all about the rules and it's why they quit in the end but they did work much longer hours than the rules allowed under pressure from the employers - I am only saying this is only to warn potential crew that it happens regardless of the regulations.
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When a boat looks that good who needs tubes!!!
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Old 06 August 2013, 06:02   #13
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we've been skippering/crewing windfarm boats for the same company for over 5 years . The 11 hours of rest are observed -now- but not always in the past. To succeed in this industry life must revolve around the boat. Its no problem to us, boats, tides and weather have always ruled our lives. And yes they do look after us extremely well. You also need to be a people person - our regular passengers are our friends and colleagues. But at around 175-200 per day for a skipper and doing ONLY as quoted 2 on and 2 off then your looking in a best case scenario at circa 200x15 =3K PER MONTH OR 36K PA
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Old 06 August 2013, 07:29   #14
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I thought 500 a day was a good rate for driving a boat. Commercial boat work has always been based around 12 hour days since I can remember and split shifts somettimes. So theres usuually a work around
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Old 07 August 2013, 07:25   #15
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I must agree totally with Dally as he has it spot on.

I am aware that in the past there were 'companies' requiring crews to work excessive hours however this doesn't happen very much now at all. I am aware that when the clients representative boards to undertake an audit they require the 'hours sheets' of the crews to be produced. I believe they then pop ashore and check with the marine Coordinators log to see what times the vessels have been operational. when one doesn't match the other then they will take action!!!

From my experience the vast majority of WFTV Operators now understand that this is no longer a 'cottage industry' but a huge operation that is governed by many laws, regulations and requirements that the operators must comply with otherwise they will lose contracts or be put off hire which, I can assure you, is an extremely expensive experience to any operator.
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Old 07 August 2013, 10:32   #16
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I work for a company that has a growing fleet of DNV classed WFSV's. Minimum CoC for skippers is MCA Master 200 and the Mates have either this CoC or have OOW Unlimited. We work under full ISM too. To work in some of the European flag state Countries the crew have to have STCW certs, especially Germany, having recently had a port state inspection over there I can confirm that they went through the crews certs with a fine tooth comb. For 2 on and 2 off on a crew transfer vessel you will get no where near 80k pa. with Master 200 minimum you can almost half that expectation. Don't forget, you don't get paid for your 2 weeks off.
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