With growing interest in Cape Town as a port, the number of superyachts and cruise ships docking at the V&A Waterfront is steadily increasing and with it, the need for suitably trained local staff to work on them. Superyachts are also often available for charter so a well-trained staff crew able to cater to guests at a high standard of comfort is essential.
Any yacht is an extremely disciplined environment, but the requirements on board a superyacht are next level. To ensure the safety of everyone on board, it is crucial that new staff have undergone rigorous training and are equipped to handle the heavy demands of working on a boat.
The newly launched Superyacht Training Academy – a partnership collaboration between the V&A Waterfront, the Superyacht Culinary Academy and the Ocean Star Sailing Academy – is dedicated to developing the essential skills required by superyacht crew.
Training will be done by the Superyacht Culinary Academy and the Stir Crazy Cooking School.
According to Cape Town's Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management James Vos, the City wants to create the right kind of environment for businesses to grow, especially in sectors where there is potential for impressive expansion.
"One of the ways in which the City helps create the right conditions for growth is by investing in skills that our people can use to find employment in sectors that are poised to take off," said Vos.
According to David Green, the V&A Waterfront's CEO, Coastal cities around the world compete to attract superyachts because, while the boats are in port, they support tourism and local businesses with operational and leisure spending as well as providing a sought after spectacle in the harbour.
"The V&A Waterfront already nurtures an ecosystem that support all the requirements of the industry and we are already seeing growth in overall interest from superyacht owners. They look for new destinations and challenges and many newer superyachts are now built for exploration to places like Antarctica," said Green.
"Cape Town is perfectly positioned midway between South America on the one side and New Zealand on the other, plus we are relatively closer to European markets than they are."
Cape Town is also an attractive destination because of its good infrastructure such as roads and airport, and access to vessel maintenance specialists and suppliers of fuel and food. The V&A in turn offers good berthing and access to leisure activities.
Vos and his team have also identified the boat building and marine manufacturing sectors as key to unlocking the ocean economy in Cape Town. These sectors have a massive potential to facilitate accelerated economic growth, job creation and economic inclusion through skills development, in his view.
"Cape Town is the second-largest producer of recreational catamarans in the world, after France. The city's 40 plus shipyards export 80% of the items produced and exports have grown by 20% year-on-year since 2014," commented Vos.
"The sector directly employs over 5 120 artisans, carpenters, engineers, and nautical architects. Thousands more work in secondary industries that provide materials and components to shipyards across Cape Town."