Risk management is naturally one of the most important things that we do. Our voyages are adventurous, so to say that there are no risks would be misleading. However, awareness of the potential risks is the key to controlling them.
Risk management & safety training are core parts of any program, and we integrate them into our programs in the following specific ways:
Safety is the foremost consideration of every aspect of program design. Since Sea|mester is all about hands-on learning and professional maritime education, our staff place high emphasis on safety and risk management, passing these critical elements on to their team. Throughout the voyage, students learn safety procedures via a number of different media. This learning is reinforced through practical application, as students demonstrate safe practices during every day activities. Through repetition, simple precautions become second nature.
The quality and experience of our staff plays an integral role in our safety and success. Every member of our team is multi-talented, combining the practical skills essential to the operation of a mobile live-aboard program with the more traditional university, graduate and post-graduate degree education.
All are qualified professionals with significant teaching experience in their subject areas. Our staff include U.S. Coast Guard licensed captains, IYT/MCA Master of Yachts 200 Ton Offshore and Ocean, PADI scuba instructors, marine scientists, oceanographers and Emergency Medical Technicians. Staff to student ratio is 1:4, providing close interaction and individual attention.
Both S/Y Argo and S/Y Ocean Star fly the red ensign. Their home port is Road Town in the British Virgin Islands, meaning that our vessels are part of the UK Ship Register and, therefore the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is one of the best performing flags in the major Port State Control regimes with a reputation for maintaining the highest international standards. For this reason, the majority of the world's quality yachts fly the red ensign. Each yacht is inspected annually by a representative from the Bureau Veritas who, on behalf of the MCA, certifies that the vessel has been maintained to the highest level.
Every soul aboard is issued a SOLAS approved Type 1 PFD as well as an ocean rated, auto-inflate PFD and harness which they are required to wear while on deck, anytime the vessel is underway. At the sole discretion of the Sailing Master, there are times when persons can be on deck without their PFD / harness combination. Typically this would be limited to calm seas, during daylight hours, when not under sail. PFD's and harnesses will always be worn when making way at night or anytime by those working outside the lifelines or higher than deck level.
Sea|mester staff live full-time with their students and much of our success comes from the strong working friendships that form as a result. Staff and students are truly on an expedition together. At times and locations deemed appropriate and safe, students have free time to explore ashore in small groups, yet for the most part our staff are with their team to lead, guide and experience the voyage together.
Sea|mester recognizes that sun safety is critical as we spend a lot of time outside during our programs in many tropical locations. There are sun awnings that cover much of the deck when at anchor, yet overexposure is still a concern and something we take seriously. Our staff set the example through good practices, while educating and monitoring their students.