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Skippers Without Borders - is it possible to harmonise qualifications?

'Does it make a difference which country these boats are in? - the actual requirements are the same'    .

Doctors Without Borders works successfully, why not Skippers Without Borders? - at least in Europe. A conference in Palma de Mallorca recently tried to answer this question so that, as a professional skipper you can work in any country in the EU.

The EU-funded TRECVET project concluded with a successful end of project conference. The aim of the project and conference was to initiate European wide dialogue about recognition of professional skipper qualifications between Member States.

Mike John, TRECVET project coordinator, reports 'The conference was a great success and we were overwhelmed with the attendance of 75 people including many professional skippers, National Authorities, nautical associations, charter companies, crew agencies, sea and diving schools. This shows that the problem the project addresses has a very wide impact on the industry. The feedback has been very positive and constructive, with UK and Spanish authorities recognising the need for more cooperation '.

The legacy of this project and the conference will be to stimulate cooperation between authorities, generate pressure group activity and create greater worker mobility and opportunities for professional maritime personnel and vocational workers in many other sectors.

The TRECVET project has developed a method and a software tool that make professional skipper qualifications objectively comparable and has analysed as a test case three qualifications from the UK, Spain and Germany. The aim is to give detailed and objective information about the qualifications in order to compare them, to identify their commonalities and differences and to start a dialogue about how to improve the current situation. The Comparison Tool can be found at

Even the wakes are the same, so why not the qualifications? -  .. .  

Based on the success of the conference, the coordinators intend to continue a dialogue with all attendees and maintain the momentum generated by the project. They also invite other authorities and interested parties with similar problems to contact them to formulate solutions based on the experience and tools developed in the TRECVET project.
It is also planned to organise a follow-up conference in a years time to assess the advances made in the industry and to evaluate what further needs to be done to push this initiative forward.

For any enquiries please contact


TRECVET is an EU funded project. The specific need for this project arises because currently within the SCV (Small Commercial Vessel) maritime sector of the EU, qualifications are not mutually recognised between the authorities of Member States. Therefore nationally qualified professionals are excluded from commanding identical vessels, operating under different national flags.

For your benefit the project has developed the TRECVET Comparison Tool to provide transparency and simplicity when comparing the three similar country qualifications:
Germany SportSeeSchifferschein-SSS;
Spain Patrón Profesional de Embarcación de Recreo –PPER;
U.K. Yachtmaster Offshore Commercial.

by Sail-World Cruising


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9:46 PM Thu 31 Oct 2013GMT

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