So maybe you have your opinion about charter tourism. That’s fine. It’s not for everyone. But be honest with yourself. As in: really honest. Have you never dreamt of renting a yacht in the Mediterranean, spending your holidays sailing from island to island, accompanied by dolphins, with only the sound of the wind and the soft, constant knocking of the pulleys against the mast… And at night, a starry sky that looks like someone painted the Bastille Day fireworks all over it?
For some people though, this is not just heaven, it is their job. Professional skippers, charter companies, marinas… There is a full ecosystem of companies, products and services to make your blue dreams come true. And this ecosystem is in constant development, responding to changing demands, for example related to higher environmental performance or improving accessibility.
Professional skippers play a fundamental role for the charter sector as they provide a high-quality service, and although the Mediterranean is sometimes conceived as a single “regional brand” and charter activities are similar, requirements for professional skippers of small commercial boats vary across the EU. Moreover, classifications obtained in one Member State are often not recognised in another. This fact limits cross-border development and affects the nautical job market.
And so, with some help from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, six organisations from Spain, Cyprus, Greece and Tunisia have set up a project called Medskippers. The aim of the project: to create a network of professional skippers, the charter sector and training providers, in order to provide better job opportunities for the skippers community in the Mediterranean.
Medskippers intends to become a central information hub for the skippers community in the Mediterranean, providing information about the different licenses systems, training opportunities and job opportunities in the charter sector. It also promotes active dialogue between managing authorities, the charter sector and the skippers community.
After a year of preparatory work, defining managing structures and roadmaps, mapping stakeholders and setting up focus groups, the real work could start. This included:
- A website https://medskippers.com/ was launched to bring all information together, including a search function for job opportunities on small commercial vessels in the charter sector
- International events and roadshows helped increase awareness of the MedSkippers project and promoted the harmonisation of skippers training and the recognition of skipper licenses at EU level
- Various new initiatives were developed, including webinars, an international training scheme, a mobility fellowship programme and a transversal skills training pilot, which all helped provide new training opportunities to skippers.
All of that to make sure that, by the time you finally surrender to your suppressed desires, an EU-wide network of professional skippers will be there to make your charter holiday the experience of a lifetime.
Did you like this story?
Then also check out the February edition of Euronews Ocean episode on Ocean literacy and Youth.
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- Publication date
- 1 March 2022
- Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries