Ocean Youth Trust South Chief Executive Mark Todd has been announced as the first winner of the MCA Award for Command Commitment to Sail Training.
The award was announced at the conference of ASTO (the Association of Sail Training Organisations) on Friday 28th January 2011, when Mark was presented with a sextant by Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey, formerly Second Sea Lord and now Chief Executive of the Maritime Coastguard Agency, and by James Stevens, Chairman of ASTO.
The MCA is a UK executive agency working to prevent the loss of lives at sea and is responsible for implementing British and International maritime law and safety policy. Sir Alan spoke of the MCA’s support for UK Sail Training and said that he saw the award as recognition of the fact that in sail training, just as in the rest of the UK’s commercial fleet, the skipper has a unique role: “Mark particularly impressed us with his ability to grasp what it means to be in command and ultimately responsible for everything that happens on board his vessel. The sea can produce such a straightforward link between cause and effect, and the skipper’s responsibilities create a clarity of vision that does not always exist in other walks of life.” He added that the process of selecting the inaugural award winner had been extremely rigorous and that the MCA had been delighted by the range and quality of the candidates, but that Mark had been the unanimous winner.
James Stevens described Mark as “a first class skipper for one of the UK’s most successful sail training organisations, OYT South.”
The award criteria included not only professional seafaring competence, but also personality, leadership, ability to inspire and enthuse, work with young people and volunteers, management skills and authority.
Mark himself says that he sees this award as a tribute to everyone involved with OYT South and the successful charity we have built up together. “The real value of our work is the effect we have on young people’s lives, and the award brings important recognition from a respected external body for the impact we can make.”