How are the safety boat and powerboat drivers trained at your club?
Participation and Training Manager Chris Kameen takes a look at legislation surrounding boat licencing.
Legislation in all the States requires people that operate vessels of safety boat size or bigger to have a licence issued by the relevant State Maritime or Transport Authority.
Is it appropriate for a club to think that the training that is received in gaining the licence sufficient for delivering best practice powerboat training?
Chris Kameen recently presented at the National Marine Safety Council Conference in Perth and raised the question as to whether a boat licence is issued based upon competence or whether it was a permit similar to a fishing licence. Only two states currently include a practical competence test, though it could be argued that these are not necessarily as rigorous as a one or two day practical training course delivered under the Yachting Australia National Powerboat Scheme.
Globally there has been an explosion in the amount of powerboat training delivered per annum by organisations such as Irish Sailing, the Coastguard, US Sailing, NZ Coastguard, however Yachting Australia’s powerboat training has remained stagnant, and in fact declined. The number of Yacht Clubs delivering Yachting Australia Powerboat training has declined to its lowest levels, most citing the competition from commercial operators offering cheap licence courses that can be done in a day or less. It is Yachting Australia's view that Clubs shouldn't attempt to compete on price as there is a fundamental difference between Yachting Australia training courses and obtaining a licence.
People will always find the cheapest and easiest way to get a licence, because it is a requirement to be legal.
The training that is delivered by Yachting Australia Training Centres focuses on the needs of the customer (our members), and ultimately trains them in best practice powerboat operation. The powerboat handling course is a two day course delivered with an instructor to student ratio of 1:4 and is predominantly practical. This course is a prerequisite for instructors and coaches and recommended for any water-based official. In order to develop our sport and help members move through the sport we need to be delivering more of this type of training.
We would actively encourage any Clubs that wish to deliver powerboat training to contact either your MYA or Yachting Australia to find out when the next Powerboat Instructor course is being run and how you can get involved.
The requirements for a club to become a YATC delivering powerboat training are not onerous, but you will need a qualified instructor and to complete some paperwork before we can arrange for somebody to carry out an inspection. The full requirements are included in the Yachting Australia Training Centre Guidelines (YAGN)
In most States the Recreational Powerboat Operator certificate can be taken to the Licencing Authority and a licence issued. (Yachting Australia and the various MYAs are working very hard to get the Yachting Australia qualifications approved in States where it isn't currently recognised.)
By supporting the National Powerboat Scheme, you will be adding value for your members enabling them to progress in various other areas of the sport and more importantly you will be training them in the skills that meet best practice for the environment in which we operate.
For more information on Powerboat Instructor Courses or becoming a Powerboat Training Centre in the various States or Territories please contact your MYA. If you are in New South Wales, Queensland or South Australia contact Ali Sutherland firstname.lastname@example.org
at Yachting Australia.