With an international water based training career covering the UK, Australia, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Tenerife and Nigeria, Euan tells us more about himself and his business – You and Sea.
Our company ambition is simple: “Provide a reliable, trustworthy training centre that provides high quality training that both commercial and leisure users need and can rely on. “
Who are You & Sea and where are you based?
We are an RYA & SQA Training centre providing motorboat and powerboat training to commercial companies and leisure boaters. We are based in Rhu Marina on the Clyde and attract students from all over the world. In addition, we regularly run courses all over Scotland and the North of England.
When did the company start?
The company was formed in early 2014, with the objective to fill a gap in the commercial motorboat training sector in Scotland.
Where did your interest for boating start?
From an early age, I have spent most of my life around boats in some form or other whether providing safety boat cover for the local sailing club, crewing on the family yachts, or instructing on RYA courses across most of the RYA Schemes. I developed a real interest around the year 2000 when I was actively involved with local regattas and at that point I decided that being an instructor was the career for me.
What has your career been up to now?
I qualified as a Dinghy instructor in 2003 and haven’t looked back. From 2004 to 2011 I worked overseas as a Watersports instructor, with the last 2 years of that time running RYA Centres as Chief Instructor. After I met Nathalie, now my wife, I decided that ‘living out of a suitcase’ in the Mediterranean was over and it was time to settle down back in Scotland. I fell into commercial motorboat instructing almost by chance, but I very glad I did, it’s an incredibly rewarding job and one of the main reasons that I set up You & Sea. Since 2011, I have been working solidly as a commercial instructor running all levels of courses in Motor, Radar, Navigation, Sea Survival, Power and Sail – and since 2017 also Instructor training.
What courses do you offer?
You & Sea offer all levels of RYA Shorebased, Motor Cruising, Powerboating, and instructor training. Early in 2020 we took over MCA Boatmaster training from another company, this was one area that we had identified a few years ago that was missing from the commercial training courses available to Scottish based companies. We are now actively running 5 & 6 day prep courses all over Scotland for Tier 1 & Tier 2 Boatmaster Candidates followed by top up training which is carried out through Zoom. The most recent addition to our course portfolio is that we have recently become an SQA Approved Centre for the 5 Day Radar and Electronic Chartplotter course, which will become a requirement shortly for skippers and crew operating under Workboat Code 2.
What is your favourite course to teach?
That is a tricky question to answer but my favourite course is probably a 50/50 tie between Yachtmaster Theory and Radar. I enjoy the challenges of the Yachtmaster Theory course because although it’s a tough course to pick-up from a student’s perspective, it is very rewarding when they do get it. I really enjoy Radar training whether it’s teaching the 1 day RYA course or the 5 Day SQA course because I think people have an opinion that being a good radar operator is incredibly difficult or realistically unachievable, again it is very rewarding when candidates realise they can do it and that operating a radar with the multi-function displays on the vessels nowadays is a much more user-friendly operation than previous systems.
What can we expect from You & See in the future?
It is my plan to continue to build on the solid foundation of commercial training that we offer already and develop our Boatmaster, Master 200gt and SQA training further. We already have lots of customers outside Scotland, from the UK & overseas and we will continue to develop this audience. Aided by the increasing emphasis on video conferencing and blended learning, now that people have got used to this concept – we will continue to develop more online courses. We will also continue and promote the development of personalised courses for independent commercial operators.
Do you see any challenges for the Workboat industry in regard to training?
One area that I have always believed is a problem is that there a lack of training centers offering high quality courses for commercial companies in the north of England and Scotland. As someone working towards Master 200gt myself, I found it really hard to locate a company who would run the required courses for smaller student numbers. This is one of the main reasons why I set up my own training company and built the company up to be able to offer these courses.
If You & Sea has a motto, what is it / would it be?
Yes we do, it’s another clear one: “Experienced, Expert, Approachable.”
Our entire company ethos would fall flat if we did not have good experience of the courses that we are running, because of that I am very fussy about who I employ as Instructors. For example for our commercial students; I like to think that we, as a company, are experts in the sense that we understand the commercial market, know the courses inside out and know what its like to be a commercial Seafarer. Lastly, we are approachable – I have always tried to employ instructors who have empathy with their students and are happy to go the extra mile to help them and their companies.