Superyacht students ready to sail the world


A chance to travel the world and explore the seas brought 11 students to NMIT’s Superyacht Crewing programme this year, with their graduation held this afternoon.

The students had a chance to impress a yacht charter agent as they dished out canapés and served up champaign onboard the 65 foot ketch, S/Y Sh’Kinha, this afternoon.

Their tutor, Stuart Whitehouse, who has captained large sailing yachts around the world, says the students have learned enough on their three-month course to get a foot on the ladder of the super yacht industry.

Students take part in a number of training activities including barista work and gaining their bar managers licence as well as engine maintenance and receiving a powerboat level two qualification. They’re also taught how to maintain an outboard motor, varnish timber and drive a power boat.

The NMIT course is one of only two in the country and Stuart says his students get the advantage with practical training at sea. Students take a five day sailing trip aboard the ketch where their graduation party is being held as well as spending time onNMIT’s multi-million dollar vessel simulator.

“We get great feedback from the industry about the course and the practical skills it teaches,” says Stuart Whitehouse. “We just need more people to know about it because the facilities in Nelson are world class.”

Graduates do get jobs, he says. “We’ve got students off all over the world. It’s a competitive market, we tell students that from the start, but if they are willing to travel and get out there they find jobs.”

Student AJ Hewsketh says he has learned a lot from the course and will be traveling to the south of France to look for a job in the industry.

“I wanted to further my interest in the industry and take it to the next level, It’s very much a mix of hospitality and boat seamanship. Presenting yourself the way you want to be seen in the industry. Today’s all about saying thanks to our family, friends and tutors, a bit of a celebration, get on the champaign.”

NMIT’s next intake of aspiring super yacht crew begin their programme on May 25 and places are still available.