Hong Kong company to offer yacht crew training
Published: Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Ryan Swift; photos by Henry Chiu
A new company has been established by Hong Kong hotelier and yacht owner Michael Fong to address the severe lack of professional crew training for the local superyacht industry.
Partnering with Joe Yuen of Lodestone Yachts, which provides logistical support for foreign-flagged superyachts visiting Hong Kong, he has created Asia Yacht Management (AYM) with the ultimate vision of offering a new training mechanism for young Hongkongers wishing to work in the yachting business.
His ability to offer very competitive remuneration to attract recruits combined with the rapid growth of large yacht ownership in South China, is the reason that Fong feels AYM’s time has come.
AYM aims to offer an all-in-one service, providing training for people who want to work on yachts on both the service and operational sides. Owners are often unfamiliar with the ins and outs of running their boat and have little in common with their captain, but Yuen hopes AYM can bridge this gap over time.
Hospitality training will come first, with the possibility of also establishing a RYA training programme to train deckhands, and help them work towards internationally recognized certification. Fong will concentrate on the hospitality aspects and Yuen will make sure things work in the yachting world. They have already approached many hospitality-oriented training institutes to introduce the concept and look for recruits.
AYM now has an office in Aberdeen, retrofitted with a mock yacht master cabin and main saloon, where recruits can practice their service skills. They hope to have their first yacht stewardesses ready for hire by June this year.
Fong is concentrating on Hong Kong first but would like to see AYM's services covering all of Asia at some point.