Yachts are bigger, more complex and more valuable than ever. Larger crews, bigger budgets and supercharged atmospheres require skilled leadership and highly trained staff if they are to meet and surpass the Owner’s ever increasing expectations.

Competence assessments and qualifications of the Senior Crew are well regulated and based on sound maritime principles. However we have not yet seen a coherent approach to managing the “whole system” from leadership principles to silver service.

I caught up with Christopher Newman and Manley Hopkinson of Arbelas Maritime in Cannes recently and asked them about their timely and innovative “Superyacht Audit” designed to provide just that.

Chris Cecil-Wright (CCW):
So Chris, Manley exactly what is your "Superyacht Audit"?

Manley Hopkinson (MH): Hi Chris, essentially, it’s a “bilge to bridge” deep dive into all aspects of superyacht operations, culture and performance. It is a “fact finding mission” designed to reveal specific development needs so the Senior Crew and Management can focus their development efforts and dollars for maximum gain. We have a unique team that collectively are global leaders in leadership, team development, operations
and crucially, security.

CCW: Hmm, security? There is a lot of talk about security and a pretty crowded market too. Tell me more about the security aspect of your audit? What makes it unique?

Christopher Newman (CN): Chris, you are totally right – the market is saturated but with security companies providing risk management and training services that are not necessarily required or of the right standard. We are world renowned experts in the fields of Anti-piracy and Protection, Executive and Close Protection requirement, Crisis and Emergency planning, Cyber Security counter measures, conflict management, all first aid courses (inc AED & Oxygen Therapy) and Technical Surveillance Counter Measures (TSCM), and that’s what we will assess and report on. 

CCW: Thanks Chris. That really is a unique
and effective approach. Manley, you spoke about “leadership” being a real development need in the industry; how’s that?

MH: It’s absolutely key. It is all about people. A superyacht crew is big! A team of diverse people, each with their individual motivation, characteristics, attitude, expectations, experiences and needs. Some are fresh
out of college, others seasoned mariners. Some technically trained and focused, others deliver the service aspect of superyacht operations. Effort spent in tapping into the “collective brilliance” massively improves safety, security, performance and efficiency
– it’s a win all round. 

CCW: Unlocking the potential of the crews to deliver the 7* service they need to. Of course. Superb. That would be an incredibly valuable insight for any Captain and Owner to have. So what experience in the Superyacht industry do you have?

CN: Plenty, but, given that many superyachts effectively operate as businesses, it makes sense to consider how successful businesses approach the issues of staff recruitment, development, teamwork and morale, and bring some of those practices into the superyacht industry. Essentially bringing best practice from across the globe to create similar levels of professionalism in the superyacht industry.

CCW: Manley, so how would the superyacht industry benefit from an independent auditor?

MH: There are a number of different stakeholders that would benefit from an independent assessment including Insurers, Banks, Owners and the yacht Captains.
This will give them the confidence that their procedures, systems and teams are working at optimum performance. Being independent gives us the ability to operate with high integrity with fresh eyes and an exclusive
focus on best practice.

CCW: So how would a superyacht engage with you?

CN: Get in contact and let’s meet face to face, old style. We are cognisant that each superyacht will have its own unique program of events and limitations on availability and we will ensure our impact on their operational requirements is minimised. We will sit with the superyacht “management team” or owner and together, we will develop the “Superyacht Audit Program”.

CCW: Thanks chaps. We at Cecil Wright think that this is exactly what is needed in the superyacht industry and are happy to share your thinking.

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