Author: Kerrie Forster

Member Profile: Nicola Richardson, Njord Offshore

Nicola was quite literally ‘born into Maritime’! She tells us about her career so far, her interests and about her role within Njord Offshore.


“My first sailing trip across the Atlantic was when I was 2 years old”

  • Who are Njord Offshore?

Njord Offshore manages 21 Crew Transfer Vessels for the Offshore Windfarm Sector. Our head office is based in Tendring, UK and our operations extend throughout Northern Europe. We are focused on bringing our clients an industry leading service with efficient and well maintained vessels, qualified and trained crew and backed up by a hardworking, experienced shore-side team. All of our  crew transfer vessels are fully classed with an IACS member and purpose built for the Offshore Wind Industry. Our vessels are built for a wide range of duties however passenger comfort & offshore transfer capability remain our key focus.


  • What is role at Njord Offshore and how long have you been part of the organisation?

I joined Njord Offshore as an Operations Manager in August 2020. The operations team are allocated their vessels geographically, I live close to the channel tunnel,  due to this I look after the non-UK vessels along with my colleague Tim who resides in Germany. My responsibilities are wide reaching, day to day I will look after many aspects of the vessels including the vessel certification, client liaison, investigating accidents and incidents, maintenance, recruitment and crewing. I also look after the companies crew covid requirements; we have up to 70 crew changing shift each week and I make sure they have the correct documentation, testing and vaccines to travel to and from site, along with ensuring they complete any necessary site paperwork before arrival on shift.


  • What is your career background?

After graduating from Cardiff University in 2008 with a degree in environmental science, I decided to complete my RYA Yachtmaster before joining the MCA as a Watch Officer at Dover MRCC in 2009. Whilst there I started studying for my Master 200 CoC and shortly after passing my oral exam in December 2012 I started working as a Master for CWind. Along with my now husband and brother in law, we purchased two crew transfer vessels of our own and worked on various UK windfarms within the CWind fleet. In 2016 we sold our vessels and moved within CWind to management roles, looking after the maintenance, crewing and certification of 13 of their vessels.

In 2020 me and my husband Stuart both moved to Njord Offshore and have thoroughly enjoyed our first year with them.


  • How did you first get an interest in Maritime?

I was born into a sailing family and actually lived on a yacht until I was 5 years old. My first sailing trip across the Atlantic was when I was 2 years old and after settling in the UK to start school I continued to sail each summer as my Dad ran a sailing school in Gibraltar. When I moved to Dover to start working for the MCA I also joined the Dover RNLI Lifeboat where I volunteered as a crew and navigator, and since relocating to Dungeness I now volunteer as a Deputy Launch Authority for Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat. Maritime has always been a large part of my life.


  • What do you get up to in your spare time?

Besides RNLI volunteering and my daily work at Njord Offshore, I spend the rest of my time with my family. Juggling these with motherhood is more than enough to keep me occupied and entertained!


  • Last month you attended a Parliamentary round-table representing the Workboat Association, can you tell us a bit about that?

During London International Shipping Week I proudly represented the Workboat Association together with Maritime UK at a ministerial round table hosted at Durbar Court in the Foreign Office. Along with other industry representatives I was invited to speak in front of the Secretary of State for Transport, the Maritime Minister, the Minister for Trade Policy and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, along with officials from the Department of Transport. To say I was out of my comfort zone would be an understatement! But, I actually really enjoyed it. It was fascinating to hear from industry representatives on the issue of decarbonisation, the progress so far, as well as the challengers still faced. It is something I would definitely be keen to support again.


  • What are Njord Offshore’s main concerns about reaching Net 0% Carbon emissions in the future?

Our Charterers, (the windfarm owners and turbine manufacturers), have ambitious emission targets, as a key part of their supply chain we’re acutely aware of the need to drive the decarbonisation and sustainability of our business, this goes hand-in-hand with Njord’s own concern for the environment and our company objectives.

Like the vast majority of the workboats in our industry, all Njord Offshore’s vessels are all currently fitted with large diesel engines so there is a huge challenge on our hands.

Today, we are able to operate on HVO fuel, something that we’re encouraging our clients to consider, and we are actively looking at Electric and Hydrogen as alternative power sources but there is a significant investment required, both in the vessels but more importantly in the port infrastructure in order to ‘bunker’ these alternative fuels in the ports we operate.

Hopefully, in the near future, we will have more clarity on port infrastructure investments in alternative fuels which will help develop a clearer pathway to the Net 0 carbon emissions that our sector and, ultimately, our planet needs!

SAFETY POSTER: Recovery of persons from the water

During the Seawork Connect online exhibition and conference the Workboat Association and the British Tugowners Association (BTA) held a combined safety forum on the theme: Recovery of persons from the Water.

Together we learned from some of the industry’s Operations and Safety leaders along with expert guests as they discussed, from experience, the key challenges and opportunities to the successful recovery of a person from the water.  Topics discussed included: practicality; preparations; equipment; manning/training; suitability; and some of the key messages.

Shaun Mansbridge of Williams Shipping (Co-Chair of the WA Safety Forum) provided a case study of an incident that occurred 13 years ago, but changed the way that Williams Shipping prepare for MOB forever; Read about it hear

“Our statistics show that in water temperature around 10 degrees, the average time to incapacity is around 10 minutes. Essentially in most cases around the UK the vessel will be recovering an unconscious person, and if not unconscious then at least incapable of assisting in their own recovery. Of course, we encourage operators to try and prevent crew going overboard in the first place, but the provision of immersion suits and properly fitted lifejackets (with crotch straps if appropriate) will have a significant impact on survivability and give the crew on board, and rescue services, more time to carry out a successful recovery.”    Jack Martin; Marine Incident Investigator, MAIB.

“The RNLI takes MOB recovery drills very seriously as we have a duty to ensure we keep our volunteer Lifeboat crews as safe as possible. This starts with personal protection making sure they have high quality, reliable kit for the roles we ask them to perform on the boats. For our Inshore Lifeboat crews they will be wearing full dry suits, thermal protection, helmets, gloves and a manually inflated lifejacket with inherent buoyancy, attached with whistle, personal flare and a PLB. For our All Weather Lifeboat crews they will have full offshore protective clothing, thermal protection, helmets(for outside), gloves and an automatic inflated lifejacket, again with whistle, personal flare and a PLB. MOB drills are part of the RNLIs emergency operating procedures of which they would have received Sea Survival training as part of their role. All crew members will have a personal competency record, checked and signed off at station level and then overseen by an area manager. Crews are encouraged to go to sea and practice their competencies regularly. We will never use a live person in the water as part of any MOB boat handling procedures. Mannequins or a fender are suitable alternatives for this. For the Recovery process once safely alongside, we regularly use mannequins, or if a dynamic risk assessment allows, a crew member can enter the water in a dry suit to practice the techniques. Top tips from our crews:
– Practice mayday procedures as part of this (MOB is a Mayday call) inc VHF operations
– Speak to the Coastguard if you’re doing an exercise and label your mannequin. It could save false alerts from well-meaning members of the public thinking a distress is in action
– Practice in a few different sea states as the recovery kit will never act as you want it to when you need it
– Ask a Lifeboat. If you have a Lifeboat station near you, ask them for a joint exercise, you never know”                                        Tony Wafer, Senior Water Safety Partner – RNLI

The key messages of the Safety Forum have been put together on this Safety Poster;

  • We ask all vessel 0perators and those working close to water to print out and share these posters with all associated staff.

>>>>>>>>> Download free here <<<<<<<<<

Member Profile: Mark Rickard, Falmouth Towing

Who are Falmouth Towing and what is their history?

Falmouth Towage Company was established in 1892, providing towage support to Falmouth Bay, Carrick Roads, Port of Falmouth and the Port of Truro. At this time the company started with 2 x tugs, then in 1931 the company doubled its activity and purchased a further  2 x powerful steam tugs.

The first motor tug joined the fleet in 1967, named “Motor Tug St Eval” and by 1987 the fleet was again operating 4 x tugs, the “St Mawes”, “St Gluvias”, “St Piran” and “St Budoc”.
In 2001 the St Piran started conducting the occasional coastal tow as well as salvage work, at this point the remaining 3 x tugs were all put up for sale. The Voith era of Falmouth Docks and Engineering company was born with the purchase of the tugs “Ankorva” and “Percuil”. The St Piran soldiered on until 2007, when she was replaced with the “Hallgarth” another twin-voith tractor tug, now renamed the St Piran, which we still operate to this day.

From 2008, Falmouth Towing (part of the larger “Falmouth Docks and Engineering company”) operated with the 3 x tugs, until 2018 when Ankorva was retired due to mechanical failure. The hunt was on for another vessel. In 2020 we purchased the “Svitzer Mercia” – renaming her simply “Mercia”, the biggest and the most powerful tug the company has ever owned. We are now back up to 3 x tugs and taking every challenge one step at a time.

When did you start with Falmouth Docks and Engineering Company and what was your background?

I  started my sea-going career in 2001 as a young 17yr old deck cadet with Global Marine Systems (Previously: Cable and Wireless, now WA members via subsidiary CWind).
I worked my way through the cadetship, through 3rd/2nd mate and finally Chief officer. At this point I came ashore to join Falmouth Docks and Engineering Company (FDEC) part of the A&P group. for the 1st time. It quickly became apparent that towing/workboats was a passion of mine, at this point I got heavily involved with Marine and Towage Services (MTS Group LTD) and became the Marine Superintendent for 5 years. This job took me far and wide, I had great responsibility (to look after a whole range of Workboats, Tugs) but, in-the-end the draw back home to Falmouth was too much. So, in 2015 I re-joined FDEC as the Marine Operations Manager for Towage Operations.

What is your position now within the Company?

Still Marine Operations Manager for our Towage operations, but now I also juggle being Dockmaster; responsible for all floating assets, whether that is workboats/ tugs/ barges and I am also a Skipper of all Tugs when necessary. I form part of a brilliant team, who together, are responsible for all shipping movements within the Harbour.

What is your fleet size and what vessel do you operate?

Falmouth Towage currently has 3 x twin Voith tractor tugs.

Mercia – 43t Bollard pull
St Piran – 23t Bollard pull
Percuil – 17t Bollard pull

As previously described, Mercia is the flagship asset to the company, purchased in 2020. She is the main vessel that we operate on a daily basis both within the Port and also for Coastal towing operations.

When did you first realise you wanted a career in small commercial vessels?

My career in Tugs and Workboats really took hold of my life when I came ashore in 2009,
It was a big step for me (coming from large Cable Vessels / Survey Vessels), throughout a deep-sea career you are taught to stay away from other vessels, shallow waters, give all navigational risks a wide berth etc! I came into this industry, was put on a tug and told to get as close as possible to a ship which was making way and then finally; attach myself to it!
Interesting to say the least.

How does the dynamic between the towage company and the docks work?

The relationship between A&P Falmouth and Falmouth Docks and Engineering Company (FDEC) works really well, we are on hand to assist with all Marine operations from;
Moving vessels in and around the dry docks, supplying crew to assist in larger vessel dockings, conducting marine evacuation drills, supplying of barges/ pontoons for floating maintenance and civil works, and we are also responsible for our own wharf/ infrastructure maintenance within the yard.

What challenges you and keeps you enthusiastic within your role at FDEC?

Over the last year, dealing with the purchase of “Mercia”, which is proving every day to be a fantastic asset for the company. As well arranging her re-activation, her 30yr dry docking survey and dealing with COVID and all the challenges that it brought for our day to day operations.

I can say with certainly that never have any two days that are the same with FDEC and within my role in the port. One day we are docking large MoD vessels, the next day I’m towing deadships around the harbour or taking the tugs out to deal with an incident/grounding within Falmouth Bay. It keeps me on my toes and actually makes my job very enjoyable, coming to work is actually something I genuinely look forward to.

What can we expect in the future from FDEC (is there any news that could appeal to members)?

The future for FDEC is certainly something in which I am hoping to be a big part of,  for example, longer distance tows with Mercia is something we have started to implement. I am hoping to grow this side of the business as it is a part of our operations that is becoming more and more effective and it is also very rewarding. Also we look to expand our operations supporting and servicing the visiting vessels both within Falmouth Bay and off-Port limits with our dedicated tendering workboat “Triton” (Ex-RNLI Tyne Class Lifeboat).

Norman Finlay memorial development scheme

Launch: London International Shipping Week. 13th -17th September 2021

Pictured: Norman Finlay receiving his MBE in 2018 from her majesty the Queen (UK).

Norman Finlay MBE was to known to many as the ‘Grandfather’ of the Workboat industry. Following a career at sea and then as Superintendent of a dredger fleet, Norman became involved with workboats early in his career and went on to become one of the main driving forces behind the establishment and development of the UK Workboat sector of the Merchant Navy in the 1970s, playing his part in the rapid development of the industry and in the technical advancements made.

He continued to work in the industry ever since, running his own Surveying business he became President of the SCMS and through this network became the key player in the development of the original Workboat Code with the MCA (then the MSA) in the early 1990s and the revisions ever since. This project became the forming of the Workboat Association in 1994, of which Norman took the role as Secretary until 2011, then Life President.

Norman was a true believer that the success of the industry was down to the collaboration within it and the experience of those driving it, he worked tirelessly to help others gain from his own experiences and to give his time to anybody who needed encouragement or support. Norman was a firm believer in structure, best practice, openness and regulation, something that he devoted much of his life to identify and implement within the small commercial vessel sector.

Following his passing in August 2020, the industry came together to collectively find a way to honour his memory, it was felt that something needed to be done that would immortalise his efforts posthumously for the future. The ‘Norman Finlay memorial development scheme’ has been set up to ensure that the correct experience, training and skills are provided to seafarers who want to further their careers within the Small Commercial Vessel sector and to those who look to use their sea-going experience mixed with support from industry to kick-start their career ashore.

The IIMS, Mecal, Mercator Media, SCMS Benevolent Fund and the Workboat Association have made a memorandum of understanding with the Marine Society to support and drive the Marine Society’s ‘Coming ashore’ project, with specific interest to attract and develop new skills tailored to the requirements of the Small Commercial Vessel industry. Together, following Norman’s example, we aim to ensure that the industry’s future is comprised of suitably experienced and nurtured professionals in all roles from Vessel Operators, to Surveyors / Inspectors, and Regulators.

Further details on the Marine Society’s ‘Coming Ashore’ project: 

Launch of the WA recognised “Carriage of Dangerous Goods on Workboats” training syllabus

“The new syllabus has been created to meet the requirements of both the IMDG Code & the Workboat Code(s) and reviewed by the MCA” explains Kerrie Forster, Workboat Association CEO.

The Workboat Association is proud to launch it’s Training Syllabus for the Carriage of Dangerous Goods on Workboats: August 2021.

Targeted at both those working on board Workboats and those ashore who are concerned with the transportation of Dangerous Goods on board Workboats, the training covers;
                – Familiarisation with the rules governing the carriage of dangerous goods by sea, (IMDG) Code.
                – The use and structure of the IMDG Code
                – The documentation and rules specific to the carriage of Dangerous Goods on board Workboats
                – Industry Best Practice

Training Providers and Vessel Operators can become recognised by the Workboat Association for providing the half-day training and subsequently use the official [bespoke] WA stamp on their certification to identify that the course meets the requirements of the WA syllabus. 

The intention is to fill a gap within sector training with specific and relevant information related to the Carriage of Dangerous Goods at Sea for the small commercial vessel industry, the concept was first developed following an Offshore Wind Safety Forum where many industry stakeholders (including clients, vessel operators and regulators) identified a lack of suitable understanding specific to the common operations of the modern Workboat sector.

Download the Syllabus for free here: WA DG Training Syllabus_August 2021



Member Profile: Bert de Ruiter, Acta Marine

Bert joined the Workboat Association general committee this year, find out more about his beginnings and what motivates him within his role at Acta Marine.


What is your current role within Acta Marine and what are your responsibilities?

I’m commercial manager within Acta Marine and as such responsible for the European West Coast, UK, Ireland and the Americas. I’m responsible for marketing our fleet of workboats, fixing contracts with a variety of clients in Dredging, Marine construction, Aquaculture, Offshore energy etcetera. From time to time if we’re very busy starting up projects I help out in the Operations department for managing our boats that have been assigned on projects.


What do you believe are the key successes within Acta Marines offering?

The people are our most important factor contributing to Acta Marine’s success. We have many long term employees and most of our masters are in-house trained and gone through the ranks. As the majority of workboats comes from a limited number of builders, there’s no bad boats on the market, but it’s really the people that makes a vessel, a team, a company successful.

As a family-owned company with long-term focus, we take CARE of all aspects of our business; our clients, business partners and shareholders, our people, our assets, and the environment we work in.

We are:

Collaborative; Through long-term relationships with our clients and stakeholders, we cooperate in a transparent way. We are service-orientated, taking care of our clients’ needs and requirements.

Accountable; Stewardship is in our DNA and we operate in a safe and responsible manner. We take ownership of our actions, of our behaviour and treat people and our planet with respect.

Reliable; We act with integrity and do everything in our power to maintain our reputation as the trusted marine support partner. We honour our commitments and consistently deliver quality services with care for the safety and wellbeing of all involved and the environment we work in.

And last but not least we have

Expertise; We build on our experience in offshore and coastal waters and continuously look for the best solutions and innovations that fit the needs of our clients and the industry as a whole. Utilising our knowledge and expertise, we explore new opportunities, technologies and markets and proactively improve our operations.


How long have you been working for Acta Marine and how has the offering changed over time?

I’ve been with Acta Marine since 2016, but previously I worked for over twenty years in a sister company from the same shareholder. The company culture is much the same as before, but Acta Marine is a much smaller company compared to my previous employer which makes the challenges and opportunities different. What I have seen changing in recent years is that market demands change, more and more clients are looking for sustainable solutions, at Acta Marine we try to develop realistic scenarios and aim our investments similarly; no futuristic pies in the sky, but robust and proven technology to the latest standards, together with our strong operating experience contributing to reducing our emissions and raising our efficiency.


When and where did you first begin your interest for commercial vessels?

My dad was a commercial skipper and barge owner, I’ve spent the first seven years of my life living on board a river barge working the European inland waterways. From as long as I can remember I’ve had interest in commercial vessels, on the water there’s always action. I’ve also been very decisive from a young age onwards about how I saw my career, young people currently have so much choice in education and professions they may want to study for, I did had the choice as well, but have never ever considered doing something else than to work with boats and barges. If I’d had to do it all again, I’d probably make the same choices again! It’s literally in my blood.


What did your early career look like and what functions have you covered?

I was trained and educated as a barge skipper, had my first command on a tanker barge at the age of 23. From the barges I switched to the international dredging industry at the end of the 1980’s when Volker Stevin Dredging offered me a job as a master on a hopper barge, pretty much comparable to the river barges I was used to, but seagoing. I spent a year in West-Africa on a large scale dredging project, whilst the international dredging industry was going through some tough times. Along the way I became acquainted with dredgers and dredging methods, I carried on working for Volker Stevin as the dredging market started picking up again towards the end of the 1980’s and early 1990’s. I did a lot of work in the Far East, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, I’ve been to a lot of beautiful places. At one point I became involved in a dredging project for Van Oord’s Offshore department, (who were deep sea rock dumping specialists at the time), but with little experience in dredging. From this project onwards I decided to stay working offshore,  back in those days working offshore was a time for time work/leave rotation (1:1), whereas dredging still did worked twice as much as your time off (2:1). Until 2013 I remained working offshore as a superintendent at first, later as Offshore Construction Manager on large DP installation vessels. A lot of work was done in the harsh environment of the Norwegian North Sea, Norway being a natural supplier of engineered rock and aggregates, but also on the Southern North Sea, in Australia and even in Taiwan.


This year you joined the WA committee, what was your interest for nomination?

I have been following the work of the WA for a number of years now, since I was first introduced by a colleague after Acta Marine took over a UK flagged fleet of CTV’s and was instantly impressed by the influence the association has with all stakeholders. First and foremost the relationship with the British flag state off course, but also different EU administrations, which proves to be of particular value  for arranging a number of practical things after the Brexit. Although I’m not particularly assigned with safety within Acta Marine, I like the role of and ideas behind the Safety Forum. Last but not least it’s good to get acquainted with and get to speak to our industry partners on a regular basis. Besides this, being on the committee is an honourable position, it is a good starting point to remain actively involved in the work of the association and extend my knowledge and network within the workboat sector.


How has Brexit affected an Anglo/Dutch company such as Acta Marine?

We still have to wait and see the final outcome of it. So far we have had no specific challenges we could not overcome with regards to our crew travelling, cabotage or our vessels being rejected on either sides of the North Sea, but we are definitely preparing for stricter requirements to come. Luckily the visa requirement for our EU seafarers entering UK waters on offshore wind projects has been postponed by another year. We expect this to have a reverse effect from the EU; if EU seafarers cannot work and travel freely in and out of the UK, the same may become applicable for our UK seafarers working inside the EU. Visa requirements and restrictions on cabotage both ways will obviously not make our operations easier or more efficient.


Do you ever get involved with the larger >500gT ships within Acta Marine?

It is not my focus, the current large vessel fleet is managed from our office in Rotterdam as opposed to our workboat operations which are based from our Den Helder office. But as a whole, we are always looking for fleet innovation and expansion opportunities, as such I take part in internal discussions to realise the opportunities for an above 500GT work vessel within our fleet, this would bridge the gap between our work boat fleet of <500GT vessels and our large walk-to-work vessels. I look with interest at developments and shipbuilders who are pioneering with different conceptual vessels >500GT. As our company is ISM certified, and some of our <500GT vessels as well, there is no big threshold for Acta Marine to build or buy  >500GT vessels, other then market opportunities and cost-effectiveness.


Has there been any stand-out highlights within your workboat career?

Our 15 meter ‘first generation’ CTV’s were struggling to meet market demands/requirements when I first joined Acta Marine. In Offshore Wind the expectations with regards to cargo capacity, workability and range has gone up quite significantly over the past years since they were built,  Offshore Wind Parks are being constructed further from shore than in the early days and wind park owners seek to maximise asset effectiveness to reduce overall production costs. Overall this made these boats very had to market in the maturing Offshore Wind industry, I was the first promoter within Acta Marine of employing these vessels on nearshore dredging and construction projects for survey and crew transport. We had an opportunity back in 2016 to send one of the boats to a project in Morocco, I had to overcome quite some resistance within our organisation to make this happen. We did it, very successfully in fact and eventually we remained on the project for almost three years, meanwhile the other 15 meter boats were all employed on similar projects outside of offshore wind. It has made them the most successful units within our CTV fleet, in utilisation and also financially. I pride myself in having been a first-time advocate to look outside the box and into these markets. Obviously Acta Marine’s traditional client base, with many dredging and construction companies included, has offered many opportunities over the years since, especially now we also have a track record with these vessels to example their benefits outside of wind. Although once being out phased in the industry they were intended for, these units have typically worked all year round for the past couple of years with great reliability.

Bert on board Acta Marine’s bespoke-designed new build ‘hybrid propulsion’ large Multicat ‘Coastal Crown’.

Member Profile: Marc Lawrence, Van Ameyde McAuslands Surveyors

In 2019 international surveyors Van Ameyde acquired the UK based McAuslands to widen it’s market, Marc Lawrence tells us how this looks today.


Who are Van Ameyde McAuslands? / Brief History

Established in 1888 McAuslands is one of the oldest marine survey outfits in the country. With its Head Office in Hull it initially served the interests of ship owners and their third party insurers (P&I Clubs) and this group still provides the majority of the work today. It took almost 100 years before we expanded from one to two offices but today we have offices throughout the UK and overseas too. Since we became a part of the VA Group in 2019 we can now boast over 100 surveyors and consultants located on all five major continents.


What is your personal commercial background and what is your role at VAM?

I started my maritime career upon leaving school working on Salvage vessels and tugs. Then moved on to superyachts working as a chief engineer and then gained my master’s qualification and spent 5 years as master of a 60m motor yacht. I later moved into the wind farm industry working on CTVs and Tugs as Master working throughout Europe.


What first attracted you to the Maritime Industry?

The marine industry is within my blood being brought up on tugs on the River Thames. My family have always operated commercial vessels and at every opportunity I would find myself on board getting involved. Maritime is my life.


Have there been any memorable moments in your career that stick-out?

My most memorable moment would be being asked to take command of the 60m Motor Yacht I worked on based in the Mediterranean. This was a big step up for me at the time and was a real tipping point within my career.


What is your role within VA McAuslands?

My role at McAuslands is Senior Marine Surveyor and Consultant, besides this I also act as Harbour Master for two ports in North Devon! My current role is very diverse, ranging from MCA code examiner for Small Craft, to Full condition surveys and Hull and Machinery investigations of large Cargo ships.


What is the most interesting task from within your current work scope?

The most interesting part of my job is simply the fact that no two days are ever the same. One day I might be performing a Workboat Survey, or be inspecting a damaged shipping container (CTU) and the next day I am on board a ship that has run aground.


What are your hobbies outside of work?

I live in Lymington, close to the New Forrest. I love the outdoors and when not working on boats, I enjoy days out on the Solent with my family.


Do you see any challenges for vessel and cargo surveyors on the horizon?

Adapting to changes in technology and investing in their own futures,  we have not just followed, but have also led this drive trying to keep fresh and current. There is a shortage of well-skilled and competent surveyors within the <50 age category, we need to start training younger blood so that the sector’s surveyor pool has the correct experience necessary to serve the industry’s demands in the most efficient and professional manner.


Do you have any tips for anyone looking to become involved in Surveying?

Yes, you need to be aware before you begin that Surveyors need to be extremely flexible. You might be working at 3am on a cold and wet Sunday morning, in a place that you would normally rather avoid! Your day can change with one phone call or email, an urgent request for attendance is part of a Surveyors duty, you need to be totally adaptable and have the support and understanding of your family and friends. There is a lot of good information available via the IIMS:

Member Profile: Vicky & Simon Jinks, SeaRegs Training

Vicky and Simon Jinks gives us an overview of SeaRegs Training and the projection for the family-run maritime training centers located in the south of England.


Who are SeaRegs Training?

SeaRegs Training are a provider of maritime training and consultancy. We specialise in small commercial vessels, workboats, port operations, inland passenger and superyacht sectors. We specialise in the complicated regulatory gap around commercial, Code and Class vessels from 0 up to 3000GT.


Who are the team behind SeaRegs?
SeaRegs is owned and managed by Vicky and Simon Jinks. Simon Jinks says, ‘The strength of SeaRegs is the quality of their team of enthusiastic, knowledgeable and passionate instructors, backed up with a solid shoreside team ensuring everything runs like clockwork’.


What is your background and how long have you been providing Marine Training?
Vicky and Simon have been involved in Maritime training since the late 1980’s. In fact they met in Southampton when Vicky was running the office and administration of one training centre and Simon was running the vessels and operations of another centre, but both operating on the same site. This was in 1993.

Originally, Vicky trained as a commercial Skipper and progressed into instructing before majoring on managing the office and finance. For ten years she worked at World Sailing, the world governing body of sailing, helping to organise Olympic sailing, training for developing countries and the rules and regulations attached to sailing worldwide.

Today Vicky oversees the day to day running of SeaRegs, especially as Simon is often on the road teaching. She has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the Small Vessel Codes and Maritime Regulation concerning maritime training and NOE’s and is often called up by companies seeking advice.

Simon has instructed and worked in classrooms and on the water on power and sail vessels, running vessels, instructing and auditing on vessels and systems in most of Europe, Africa, US, Asia and Australia and NZ for his whole working life. He also trains and examines instructors for various Governing and International bodies worldwide.

In his past, he spent time working as a marine journalist, testing vessels, equipment and LSA and gaining insight into regulation and standards. Due to this background and his long-standing commitment to UK Sea Survival Instructor Training for the RYA; has led him to representing and commenting for various ISO committees on lifejacket and liferaft standards.

Simon went on to train and appraise instructors for the Yachtmaster scheme for both power & sail vessels and various navigational trainings for the RYA for around a decade, overseeing a thousand or so training centers and many thousands of instructors worldwide.

During this time he rewrote the Safety Management System requirements for training and was involved in maritime law surrounding small commercial vessels, regulation and standards. He left the RYA in 2010 to move to Devon where he started SeaRegs. Initially  SeaRegs was a company providing Safety Management assistance and course/syllabus development. This led to SeaRegs writing the maritime small vessel syllabus for Korea and helping with the development of syllabus and instructor training in both China and Turkey.

Nowadays, his specialisation is in SMS auditing, maritime law, ColRegs and exam preparation training. Simon has written four books, edited countless more and has two new books currently ‘on the go’ for a well-known publisher. He was awarded a fellowship of the Royal Institute of Navigation for ‘services to small craft safety and training’, and is an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute.


What are the core courses within your offering?

Our core courses are those surrounding the small commercial vessels, we specialise in the complicated regulatory gap concerning Code vessels and Class or Convention vessels, usually up to 500/3000GT CoCs.


How did the Coronavirus effect your business/operations?
The Coronavirus has its challenges and is still having a massive impact, we are still (June 2021) on half-numbers in the classroom and on our boats. However, it made us stronger, more resilient and fitter for the way ahead. We had to adjust to a new way of working, we worked closely with the MCA to ensure training courses remained available throughout the early stages of the pandemic via blended and online learning.


Have there been any highlights over the years to note?

  • Staying together and working as a team for all this time….!
  • To be honest, our highlights come at the end of every course we run, we monitor feedback closely to ensure we are consistently performing for our students. Every minute of effort we put into our business is paid back to us when we read the positive feedback we have received, also when we see students that have grasped enthusiastically the subject we are teaching and asking really interesting and relevant questions.


Are there any new developments within SeaRegs Training?
We have a new training base in London, 15 minutes walk from City Airport, where we run a host of STCW, MCA, RYA, SQA courses and preps. Around the country we also offer Boatmaster, Workboat Crewmember and Port Operative apprenticeships. In fact, one of our apprentices Scarlett Barnett-Smith has just won the Workboat Association John Percival Award 2o21 for best industry trainee.


What are your company objectives?

Sound advice, Solid training.
SeaRegs are passionate about providing the best training and outcomes for their students. We keep it simple, enjoyable, straightforward, back it up with good practical resource and train and use the best instructors.


Do you see any challenges coming up within Maritime Training (specifically small commercial vessels)?
1) Yes, I think any rewrite of codes and regulation will have to be carefully done so that it does not overly affect existing vessels – which will find it hard to apply some sweeping regulation (either due to cost or vessel design).

2) I think the industry needs a body representing the small commercial seafarer. They often work in small groups, but nowadays make up the greatest part of the marine industry. At present they have no say and only the owners of vessels have bodies to represent them.

John Percival Memorial Award 2021: Winner announced!

The Workboat Association is proud to announce that Scarlett Barnett-Smith of the Port of London Authority / SeaRegs Training has won the 2021 John Percival Memorial Award.


The Award was announced by John’s daughter Anna Percival-Harris during a surprise ‘hybrid’ presentation ceremony held at the PLA’s Headquarters alongside the River Thames, four candidates from around the UK were nominated to win the 2021 Award for the ‘Best Industry Trainee’ of which Scarlett was chosen by the selection committee.

Anna Percival-Harris said “The John Percival Award selection committee decided that Scarlett Barnett-Smith shall receive the ‘2021 John Percival Memorial Award for Best Industry Trainee’ based on her high level of dedication, not only within her training and daily function but also via extracurricular activities. Scarlet we want to recognise you for your efforts to encourage apprenticeships in the maritime sector and also to promote women in maritime, as well as being a ‘superb’ student. Scarlett’s eagerness to achieve and to encourage others made her stand out against other nominees for the award, all of whom we are very proud to have working and training within our industry”.

Learn more about the John Percival Memorial Award here:

Scarlett was nominated for her hard work and  development whilst completing her Boat Masters License Apprenticeship, by her training provider SeaRegs Training and referenced by her employer Port of London Authority.

Pictured L-R: Winner, Scarlett Barnett-Smith holding the John Percival Memorial Award 2021                                                                                                         –  Rachel de Bont (PLA), Scarlett and Simon and Vicky Jinks (SeaRegs Training)