1st August 2020
Tell us a bit about your background and career in the yachting industry?
I’ve always been involved with boats and ships having studied Marine Engineering before launching my seagoing career on general cargo vessels and then moving on to large passenger ships.
I worked for six years as an engineering officer for Holland America Line before spending 10 years working for Bureau Veritas as a Senior Marine Surveyor, Integrated Management Systems Auditor and Operations Manager for the UK.
I joined Wilson Yacht Management Group in 2017 and as Technical Manager I have a very varied role covering everything from being a Dedicated Person Ashore (DPA) for a number of vessels to visiting yachts and ships across the world to carry out audits and to oversee refits and maintenance.
I have a Masters degree in Shipping Operations, I am a Member of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (MIMarEST) and a Member of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (MRINA).
Is there such a thing as a typical day as a Technical Manager?
No, not at all. It is all very varied and I can find myself responding to many requests from a number of ships and yachts across the world each day.
We currently manage and support a fleet of over 20 vessels which is comprised of several commercial superyachts of over 100 metres in length (330feet), 7000 GRT+ passenger ships and privately-registered yachts operating under the Large Yacht and Passenger Yacht Codes.
Although we have always mainly supported yachts in the main cruising areas of the Mediterranean in the summer and Caribbean in the winter, we have been managing more yachts further afield such as Asia and the polar regions.
I can support ships in a variety of roles and will have involvement with the majority of those we manage at some time. I spend a lot of my time over the course of a year travelling to yachts across the world for a variety of reasons, such as carrying out essential audits or overseeing refits and maintenance, which we plan and schedule for them.
Do you have greater contact with some vessels than others?
As a business we are pretty much constantly in contact with all the vessels we manage, but on a personal note there are five which I have a greater responsibility for as I am their Dedicated Person Ashore (DPA).
Under the International Safety Management Code (ISM) a DPA is responsible for ensuring ships have Safety Management System in place and followed to ensure ships are manned, equipped and maintained to be operate safely.
In that role I have to be available 24 hours a day and each and every member of the crews on those ships can call me at any time for assistance. A lot of time is spent answering emails and taking the required actions. Through the Covid-19 period we have been really busy helping with crew management, as it has been challenging getting people to and from vessels due to travel restrictions, and with changing itineraries and schedules for ships.
What are the main challenges you face in the role?
I think it is being able to respond to changing situations and plans quickly and effectively for your client.
We have seen this year how quickly things can change and when you are faced with something like Covid-19 as a yacht owner and captain you want to be able to turn to someone for advice as to what you should be doing and the possible consequences, and someone who can overcome any issues quickly. Much of what we do is planned and scheduled, such as audits to make sure ships and yachts comply with regulations and maintenance and refits. It is when we are required to react that we need to show our true expertise.
Who are your main points of contacts on the vessels for which you are the DPA?
As I said earlier every single member of crew has my details and knows I am someone they can contact with any issue. However, it is mainly senior personnel who will be in contact with me, such as the captain or chief engineer, which can be over issues such as logistics or if they have had any technical issues with the ship.
Knowing how all aspects of your yacht are performing helps avoid unforeseen – and significant – repair bills.
Our team has the experience of ensuring systems are in place to monitor all machinery, stocks and spares, ensuring damages and defects are immediately reported and addressed.
I have a lot of dealings with shipyards across the world as we are entrusted by yacht owners and captains to find the most suitable to carry out work, dependent of course on where they are in the world at that time.
We are proud of the relationships we have with major repair yards which means we can ensure good value and great standards of work for our clients.
How has the world of yacht management changed during the Covid-19 outbreak?
It has changed significantly but we have been extremely busy and in many circumstances people have needed our expertise and support more than ever.
As I mentioned there has been a lot of difficult work done around crews and getting them to and from ships.
We’ve also had to do a lot of revising of schedules and itineraries.
We’ve had to work very hard on arranging and carrying out audits and I recently arranged to do this on a number of vessels as they were docked in Falmouth.
Allan and his team have a wealth of experience in the yacht management field and have always been efficient, diligent and honest in our dealings. I greatly value their support and service, and recommend them to any new yacht owner to help make the transition smooth and enjoyable.
Nopel Shipping Ltd. was totally satisfied with the services of Wilson Yacht Management, and found no cause for complaint over the nine years Nopel Shipping Ltd. was involved with them. Allan and his team have a wealth of experience in the yacht management field and they have always been efficient, diligent and honest in all our dealings.
Nopel Shipping Ltd
I wish to say a personal thank you for the support you have given me and Vortex Marine over the last two years. Peter, my late husband was pleased he picked the right yacht management company, yours, to help with all matters.
Pauline Bull, Motor Yacht Titan
It has been about a year since you have taken over the management of our client's 60 meter Feadship. We have previously had two other yacht management companies and even did the work ourselves for several months. I wanted to thank you for your excellent service and let you know how pleased we are in how seamlessly you have taken over and done just what we needed.