Superyacht Training Academy launches


WITH growing interest in Cape Town as a port, the number of superyachts and cruise ships docking at the V&A Waterfront is steadily increasing and with it, the need for suitably trained local staff to work on them. Superyachts are also often available for charter so a well-trained staff crew able to cater to guests at a high standard of comfort is essential.

The newly launched Superyacht Training Academy – a partnership collaboration between the V&A Waterfront, the Superyacht Culinary Academy and the Ocean Star Sailing Academy- is dedicated to developing the essential skills required by superyacht crew.

The Academy is located in the Nautilus building on West Quay Road, overlooking the Waterfront’s Synchrolift dry dock on the one side, and close to the V&A Marina yacht basin on the other.

The interior of the Academy has been fitted out to resemble actual on-board facilities in scale and dimension. Students therefore become accustomed to working within the confined spaces of a real yacht. The training kitchen is also equipped just as a galley kitchen would be.

David Green, the V&A Waterfront’s CEO said, “Coastal cities around the world compete to attract Superyachts because while the boats are in port they support tourism and local businesses with operational and leisure spending as well as providing a sought after spectacle in the harbour. Cape Town is also home to almost 70% of the local boat-building industry, sustaining technical skills required to service all types of ocean-going craft and driving the standards of excellence necessary to thrive in this sector.

“This answers the call from Government to accelerate the economic potential of the ocean economy through destination marketing, maritime skills training, job creation and stimulating the boat building industry.

“The V&A Waterfront already nurtures an ecosystem that support all the requirements of the industry and we are already seeing growth in overall interest from superyacht owners. They look for new destinations and challenges and many newer superyachts are now built for exploration to places like Antarctica. Cape Town is perfectly positioned midway between South America on the one side and New Zealand on the other, plus we are relatively closer to European markets than they are” said Green.

The City has all the boat-building expertise. Local boat -builder Robertson and Caine is currently filling an international order for 200 luxury boats by next year and delivers an estimated three 40- foot luxury catamarans overseas every week.

Green said “This is another step in building and equipping facilities at the Waterfront to accommodate this industry. We would see many more superyachts visiting the city if the owners and captains know that well -trained local and international staff are available to them.”


Training will focus on the three key entry points vital for a career in the industry, namely Chefs, Deckhands and Stewardesses.. In addition to basic training in each segment, the Academy will also ensure that students are armed with their basic marine training and safety licences, without which they will not be employed on boats.

The Academy is  working with International Yacht Training {IYT) Worldwide, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), and South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) to ensure the local training is on par with global standards, and approved by the Marine and Coastal Agency (MCA).

According to a report compiled for the V&A Waterfront by Marinexell:

  • The growth of super yachts in the 60 m-90 m range, from 2006 to 2022, would be from 130 to 359.
  • The growth of super yachts 90 m and larger range, from 2006 to 2022, would be from 33 to
  • Over the period 2013 to 2017 the growth of the fleet has been constant, with an average of 140 new vessels entering the fleet each year, representing an annual growth of 3% in 2013 (4637 vessels) 2017 (5225 vessels).

As a comparative statistic, New Zealand industry in 2013 was worth:

  • Refit and maintenance R824 million
  • Berthing R723 million.