Sail Caribbean welcomes another powerful group of staff for the upcoming summer season! Hailing from all across North America and some even traveling from Europe, these remarkable individuals will be coming together for a summer of adventure education. With backgrounds in child education, development and psychology, teen mentorship, leadership and counselling, outdoor adventure and management, and sailing, scuba diving and marine biology, our team is an influential bunch. Before heading out on programs as Program Directors, Fleet Captains, Captains, Mates, Marine Biologists, Medical Officers, Provisions Managers, etc., all of our leaders participate in a 12-day intensive staff training – their very own adventure!
Staff training is led as a blend of all our summer adventures, with a similar itinerary and a similar organization. Our crew of leaders hits all of the highlights of the British Virgin Islands including Cooper Island, Pirate’s Bight, The Bitter End Yacht Club, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, and, of course, Nanny Cay Marina (for the glorious showers!). Returning veteran staff and brand new staff come together as a fleet to live and learn together, cook and clean together, and practice and master the Sail Caribbean way together. Each staff member refines their instruction and coaching for lessons, activities, and drills, hones their navigation and manoeuvring skills, and settles into life on board in their new, beautiful environment for the next three months.
During staff training, substantial focus is directed towards health and safety, most importantly communicating risks and how to minimize them (winch safety!). Every staff member carries out teaching and executing man-over-board drills, controlled manoeuvres, adverse weather protocols and other emergency drills. All our staff members are certified in Wilderness First Aid, many having gone on to obtain the higher-level Wilderness First Responder certification. These advanced qualifications and trainings are specially designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills required to respond to medical emergencies in remote outdoor environments.
To build on existing medical certifications and experience and to turn training into action, an emergency medical simulation and training sessions are scheduled to take place at times unbeknownst to the staff being seasoned. The highly respected Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR) team even comes in to play their role of reinforcement and secondary support to further solidify the authenticity of one mock crisis.
It wouldn’t be Sail Caribbean staff training if there wasn’t an emphasis on implementing our culture, customs and traditions that will be shared with all our students throughout the summer! These 12 days are a time for individual and team development, utilizing ‘True Course’ leadership development tools, as well as goal sharing between our leadership team. Staff training allows for a summer where the many pieces of program operation can function together smoothly, and staff themselves can further develop as sailors and educators. It is a ‘dry run’ before jumping into the amazing and jam-packed summer.
Following training, staff members commit to their designated program position and are sent off into the wonderful world of the British Virgin Islands to join their fleets. Moving from staff training into smaller fleets that sometimes travel independently, each program’s leadership team develops a close, trustworthy relationship, allowing our programs to run effectively and cohesively for the duration of the summer.
If you are sending your student to join us in our stunning stomping ground in paradise, you can rest assured our expert mentors have been on their very own training expedition before coming to your children, and they are thrilled to share everything they and the Caribbean have to offer!
About the author: A lover of the ocean, Sara Stone grew up sailing and racing in coastal Massachusetts and has been teaching sailing since the age of 16. Sara has sailed all around the Elizabeth Islands where she grew up, explored the pacific coast of Central America by sailboat, traversed the Panama Canal and more. When not at Sail Caribbean, Sara works in Public Health and currently lives in London as she finishes up a Masters of Science degree in the Control of Infectious Diseases – not quite in sight of the sea but close enough to travel to the Mediterranean for short sailing adventures! Sara will be joining us for her fourth year as our Sailing Director.
The greatest challenge during the program was staying entertained during the quarantine period. Not being able to leave your boat and not having a phone, which was a crutch against boredom, it was difficult at first to stay entertained.