Joining Forces

16 September 2016 By Steve Davis

The winds of change have blown through Fort Lauderdale, Antibes, Palma de Mallorca and other locales with the announcement that bluewater Yachting, International Crew Training (ICT), and Crew Unlimited (CU) have merged to offer a comprehensive package of crew training and placement along with yacht management, charter, and yacht brokerage.

“We all bring positive elements to the table,” says Brian Luke, president of the newly formed bluewater Crew Training. “And now we have the ability to combine them together.” Luke points out the some large brokerage houses have integrated crew operations into their program to provide four aspects of crew and owner services, but with ICT, CU, and bluewater joining forces, the missing fifth element of expertise — training — has now been included under one umbrella.

Both ICT and bluewater have developed their courses a great deal over the last few years, and joining the two schools is “very much a merger of intellectual properties,” says John Wyborn, training director of bluewater. “We’re taking the best bits of both, and the instruction teams are really treating it positively, which has given everyone a lift because we’re going to end up with a product that’s so much better than what either party had before.”

“The crew will have more opportunity, more resources, and more places to train,” says Luke. And to solidify the training, courses on both sides will be identical. “Courses can differ between schools and countries, but if you go to bluewater, they will be the same.” That will make a big difference when crew start school in Antibes and need to continue their education while working in Fort Lauderdale; the training is seamless.

“[It’s] a new entity, operating under the bluewater brand, whose protocols have been combined with ours, which will greatly improve the efficiency of the whole job and crew search process,” says Ami Ira, president of bluewater USA. Additionally, the merger will allow access to the bluewater One Account crew placement package, a yearly subscription program that enables vessels to review, contact, and hire on their own. The money spent in this account is matched in training credit for any bluewater facility, now matched on both sides of the Pond.

On Monday, the new signs go up and Bluewater USA becomes official in Fort Lauderdale, but the instructors, agents, and staff will remain in place. “Expertise in all five areas come together as one team, one company, one complete service,” says Luke, which echoes the organization’s new theme — Same Stars, New Stripes.