After seven years and significant financial investment, Gibraltar’s Allabroad Sailing Academy has this month earned MCA (UK Maritime Coastguard Agency) Approval for the STCW-95 (Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping) Basic Safety Training Courses. MarinaLive! explores just how much this means to the family-run business.
This is the “big one” for us. We’ve had many Government departments supporting us and willing us on and the result is an official approval that will mean a great deal to both Ocean Village Marina, our base, and Gibraltar as a whole. The STCW-95 Training Centre will give superyacht crews and captains a clear-cut reason to stop-off in Gibraltar and make it a destination for crew changes and training. Undoubtedly the Rock’s economy will feel the benefit.
Having witnessed repeated marine incidents and accidents, many of them occurring on private yachts, the International Maritime Organisation clamped down by implementing internationally recognised legislation in 1995. The STCW-95 sets minimum safety guidelines that all registered yachts and ships must follow. The course covers Elementary First Aid and CPR, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Personal Survival Techniques and Personal Safety and Social Responsibility. We can cover the entire course in five days or crew can take components one by one if preferred.
The official wording states “all seafarers employed or engaged in any capacity onboard on the business of the ship as part of the ships compliment with designated safety or pollution prevention duties shall, before being assigned any shipboard duties, take the four Basic Safety Training courses”. This includes all those who work onboard superyachts alongside smaller charter yachts – certainly those taking 12 passengers or more. Furthermore any commercial workboat over 200GT will need to complete STCW-95.
With the next nearest providers of STCW-95 being the UK, Mallorca or Antibes in France, Gibraltar will become more attractive for superyachts overnight. They can take a berth in Ocean Village, train their crew and target Gibraltar as a crew swap-over location. Yachties can finish a season with one boat and then dockwalk to start a season with another. The Rock could easily become the next Monaco, the place to be if you want to succeed and shine in the maritime industry.
We handle the equivalent of an Airbus A319-load of sailors at the Academy each month, all eager to tackle some form of training whether it’s an RYA on-the-water motoryacht, sailing or powerboat course or navigation, radio, radar and diesel engine theory courses. This may be with a view to a serious career in yachting or simply to competently and confidently sail their own vessel and host friends and families for days out at sea. Allabroad runs everything from courses of one day up to those lasting 18 weeks.
Allabroad Sailing Academy achieved RYA recognition in 2000, 12 years ago, and we’ve been setting standards rather than following them ever since. We continually reinvest into course approvals and facilities, are always expanding our range of training courses and are the only outlet in Gibraltar with our own air-conditioned classrooms in the heart of the Ocean Village Marina – this is why the Port of Gibraltar, Royal Gibraltar Police and Gibraltar Customs all regard Allabroad as their preferred provider for training.
Aside from our proven track record and facilities, Gibraltar as a location is simply fantastic. We have 300 days of sunshine each year and tidal waters – something that the Mediterranean cannot boast but is essential for various commercial qualifications such as the RYA Yachtmaster Coastal, Offshore and Ocean certificates. Gibraltar has an incredibly busy shipping lane and Bay throwing up challenging sailing opportunities and great winds. And where else in the world can students enjoy English breakfast in Gibraltar, have Moroccan cuisine across the Strait in Africa for lunch and then head back to a Spanish tapas bar for dinner? Finally this part of Europe has unbeatable wildlife with dolphins and whales often spotted at play, and accompanying our sails across the water, as well as being a major migration route for many bird species. If there was a check list for sailing locations, Gibraltar would tick them all.