Prolific is maintained in accordance with the Maritime Coastguard Agency’s Code of Practice for Small Commercial Vessels and OYT South’s exacting standards. Annual surveys by an independent assessor and regular maintenance ensure that all the equipment and the vessel’s specifications meet and exceed the legal requirements to run her as a sail training vessel.
The skipper and mates hold Royal Yachting Association qualifications at the appropriate level. In addition, all staff members – paid and volunteers – undergo rigorous in-house assessment and training to ensure the highest standards are maintained, both in seamanship and in working with young people. The skipper will hold an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore certificate (commercialIy endorsed) as a minimum, and will have been approved by an independent assessor to run OYT South voyages with young people on board. The first mate is qualified to take command of the vessel in the event of illness or accident to the skipper.
All adults on board will have had a check with the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS, the replacement for the Criminal Records Bureau – CRB). We have both male and female sea staff on all mixed voyages.
When at sea, the vessel’s position can be monitored from our office, and the boat is always contactable via one or more of the communication systems on board.
Crew members undergo a structured training programme on joining the vessel so that they are able to participate fully and safely in the voyage. Safety training is regularly reinforced during the trip.
All crew members wear integrated lifejacket / harnesses while on deck at sea. The lifejackets will inflate automatically if someone falls into the water; but harness lines keeping them clipped to the boat, at times and in locations where this is appropriate, are designed to ensure that no-one falls in at all.
And, for anyone who is still at all worried, a few statistics from the latest research into the incidence of sports injuries per participant: rugby is 36 times more dangerous than sailing; football is 16 times more dangerous; and even netball is seven times more dangerous!
Your voyage will have between six and eight adults on board to show you what to do and get you involved in sailing the boat.
The skipper is in overall charge: he or she is responsible for the overall running and safety of the vessel. The skipper has the final say in any decision.
There will be three or four mates, who back up the skipper and help to run the watches. One of them will be your watchleader. The first mate helps to organise the voyage and is qualified to take over if the skipper is ill or injured.
The engineer or bosun is responsible for maintenance on the boat.
Some of the sea staff are full-time professional sailors; others are volunteers who come from all walks of life. The bosun must be aged at least 16; the other sea staff will be over 18. Many of our sea staff are people who first sailed with us as crew members but enjoyed it and did well enough to be invited back. If this is an opportunity which appeals to you, make sure you discuss it with a watchleader during your voyage. We are always on the lookout for enthusiastic people who want to join our sea staff.
Our sea staff can all be very different, but the common factor that unites them all lies in the promise that our staff make to every crew member: whatever energy and enthusiasm you put into the voyage, the sea staff will match and beat it.