Sea staff roles
The manning of the vessel is a statutory matter and the following minimum staffing levels apply:
The Skipper is in overall charge of the vessel, sea staff and crew, and is responsible for the safety and success of the voyage. The skipper is qualified with DTp/RYA Yachtmaster Offshore endorsed "Qualified to Command A Small Commercial Vessel". Both Staff Skippers and Relief Skippers hold in addition: Yachtmaster Ocean and Yachtmaster Instructor Endorsements.
A person holding the qualification DTp/RYA Coastal Skipper as a minimum. The first mate acts is the second in command and "co-pilot". They are capable of returning the vessel to a safe haven should anything happen to the Skipper.
The First mate organises the day-to-day running of the vessel, including navigation, deck work, domestic duties and maintenance.
In addition to these statutory qualifications, sea-staff will also have undergone extensive in-house training and assessment procedures (widely respected within the sail training industry) on their competence to handle our vessels and of their suitability to work with young people.
OYT Scotland Skippers hold the DTp Ship Captains Medical Training Certificate, while First Mates hold DTp First Aid at Sea Certificates (equivalent to HSE first aid in the work place, specific to the sea going environment and the first aid kit carried).
In addition to these statutory personnel the vessels also carry 2nd and 3rd Mates or Watchleaders and a Bosun, all of whom are suitably trained and qualified.
We split the crew into two/ sometimes three groups - these are called watches. Our mates and Watchleaders, look after a watch and help "show you the ropes" literally and will coach
young people while onboard. Many have sailed as young people on the boats as crew members. Some volunteer mates and Watchleaders are new to sailing, but may have worked in similar roles with young people off the water. The difference between these leaders are their qualifications, volunteers have onboard assessments to move up the ranks i.e. from Watchleader to third mate to second mate to 1st mate and finally skipper.
The Bosun works closely with the Skipper and First mate and will become familiar with the vessels operating systems. Duties include:, completing daily checks and any other required maintenance.
With a maximum complement of 12 young people on board this gives a minimum OYTS staff to young people ratio of 1:3. Where you provide members of your own staff to accompany the group, they will obviously increase the staff to pupil ratio further. Group leaders will not have any responsibilities with respect to the sailing aspects of the trip.
All staff and volunteers working aboard OYT Scotland's vessels are member of the PVG scheme.