by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- MAYAG marks 20 years
- Wants formalised apprenticeship programme to ensure sustainable workforce in marine trades
- Focused on strengthening yachting sector competitiveness
As the Marine and Yachting Association of Grenada (MAYAG) marks its 20th anniversary this year, the organisation is on a mission to build a sustainable marine sector for further generations. One of the ways to ensure the sector’s viability is through the establishment of a formalised apprenticeship programme that can ensure that there is a sustainable workforce in the marine trades.
“There are no skill trades that are lacking in Grenada,” explained MAYAG board member Donal Kavanagh. “What we would like to see going forward is that the government would recognise that in order to have this business be sustainable in the long term, we would like to see government step up and help us with a formalised apprenticeship programme so that 10 years down the road, 20 years down the road, we still have a programme that can deliver skilled people to deliver these jobs.”
MAYAG was established in 1999 and has over 30 members employing over 1,000 individuals in the sector which has shown consistent growth over the past few years. MAYAG consists of a group of volunteers led by its president Jason Fletcher, who have worked diligently over the years to advance the marine and yachting industry. This advancement was noticeably felt in 2008 when the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) reported having recorded double-digit growth of 10.82% in the yachting sector, with visitor arrivals moving from 21,911 to 24,281, a direct result of 428 more yacht calls.
Chris Rundlett and Chrystal Young, members of MAYAG, are among entrepreneurs who have invested in Grenada to help develop the level of skilled individuals on the island. For over 10 years through Living the Dream Sailing, they have provided ASA (American Sailing Association) certified courses, skippered yacht charters, bareboat charter brokerage, and yacht broker services which have become one of the premier sailing school in the Caribbean. “We are always happy to develop local sailors. I am actually an ASA (American Sailing Association) sailing instructor evaluator so I certify instructors and we just had one of our local skippers who took one of our courses last fall. I just met him on the dock and he was getting ready to do his first ASA class and that really is awesome to me to see one of our students, especially our local student going on and developing his career,” said Rundlett.
MAYAG has also identified strategies and plans in key areas such as marketing, training and international cooperation that will also see a further advance in the yachting and marine industry. A major project in the pipeline for MAYAG is a clean water initiative to ensure the protection of the marine environment. “Our vision is to be the first Caribbean nation to implement a clean water initiative. We are putting together a clean water initiative so that when you come to Grenada our waters are pristine and we will work with Nawasa, we will work with government, we will work with the Ministry of Health and Tourism to ensure that this takes place,” said Kavanagh.
Another crucial aspect for the development of the yachting industry is the need to update the Grenada Yachting Act of 2000 especially as it relates to the preservation of the marine environment. This task is currently being undertaken by Vice President Dawn Decoteau who is an attorney specialisng in Maritime Law. “It is about making the legislation more relevant and more current because it is about making sure that we have the right charges for our yachts coming in and out. It is also about making sure that we deal with the pollutions — that’s fundamentally important — what happens when all of these yachts come in and they have their waste — and as part of the legislation, it doesn’t speak to anything like that now.”
MAYAG in its 20th year is more focused than ever on strengthening the competitiveness of the Grenadian yachting sector and attracting future investment.