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PYA Sea Changes Forum 2023 Launches at the Monaco Yacht Show

28 September 2023

The PYA’s annual Sea Changes Forum commences today at the Monaco Yacht Show - bringing together a host of industry leaders, organisations and businesses to discuss the very latest issues affecting the yachting industry.

This year’s Sea Changes Forum is being held at the International Hydrographic Organisation’s HQ with the conference beginning this afternoon at 3.30pm local time. Guests that have booked their tickets will be able to attend and will be provided with access passes on the ground to proceed to the event.

Christophe Bourillon, CEO for the PYA said:

“We would like to give a big welcome to all our guest speakers, sponsors and delegates attending our 2023 Sea Changes Forum. This year represents a new milestone for the PYA - bringing together a broad range of industry leaders from across the industry at the Monaco Yacht Show to discuss the most important issues in yachting. We want to say a big thank you to all our sponsors and guests who made this year’s event possible, and to our passionate team at the PYA for putting together our event. We look forward to seeing you all today!” 

Captain Rod Hatch, PYA Director of Deck Training and Mr John Everett Nyberg, Technical Director of the IHO will open this year’s forum with their welcoming remarks followed by a series of discussions with guest speakers from across the industry. 

Explore the full agenda below including biographies of this year’s guest speakers and an introduction to our sponsors below:

Sea Changes Forum 2023 Agenda

  • 3:30pm Forum registration open at the International Hydrographic Organisation 4b Quai Antoine 1er, Monaco

  • 4pm Welcome by Captain Rod Hatch, PYA Director of Deck Training (PYA) and Mr John Everett Nyberg, Technical Director (IHO)

  • 4.10pm Mr Ajit Jacob, Chief Examiner, Maritime and Coast Guard Agency “UK Seafarer Qualifications - Modernisation of Training and Assessment” discussing the following:

Why the need for a change?

STCW requirements and flexibility within the regulations

Overview of the Seafarer Training and Modernisation Programme

Digitisation - improving end-to-end customer journey

Career Progression - Is CoC the final Step?

Future Fuels

  • 4:40pm Mr John Wyborn, IAMI Board member highlighting:

  • Following on from the MCA on the mandatory training and changes about work IAMI does for Yacht training including the Deck certification report.

  • 4.55pm Miss Joey Meen, IAMI Guest Program Director sharing insights on: 

  • The importance of soft skill training & the CPD opportunities of bespoke (non-mandatory) education to support yachting careers – with the Yacht Owners Representative Program being provided as an example.

  • 5.10pm Mr Richard Falk, Director of Training and Qualifications, Royal Yachting Association introducing:

  • “RYA Training and Qualifications, Rising to the Challenges of the Future”

  • 5.25pm Miss Angela Wallace, PYA Director of Interior Training, PYA Welfare Group discussing: 

  • Current issues in the industry regarding crew including recruitment and retention.

  • 5:35pm Mr Jo Assael, Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) Yacht Register, International Registries Inc. introducing:

  • RMI’s Master (Yachts) Unlimited Tonnage Certificate of Competency (CoC)

  • 5:45pm Mr John Everett Nyberg, Technical Director, IHO discussing:

  • IHO’s Mapping Project

  • 6pm Social gathering on the IHO Rooftop overlooking the port in Monaco

Official guest speakers 

The PYA welcomes a number of esteemed guest speakers for this year’s Sea Changes 2023 Forum - sharing in-depth insights into what’s happening behind the scenes in the industry:

Capt. Rodney A. Hatch – PYA Director of Deck Training

Rod hails from Southampton. His connection to the sea goes back to early memories of the city skyline being dominated by the last generation of the great trans-Atlantic liners, and when the only yachts on the River Hamble were wooden ones, sympathetic neighbours of one of the last wooden hulks from the Royal Navy's Napoleonic wars. After graduating from Sheffield University, and prior to actually running away to sea, he was a Lecturer in Economics and Liberal Studies at South Bank Polytechnic, London. His yachting career and commercial sea time span over fifty years, and he is still active as a Relief Captain. From its shores to its inland hills, Rod embraces the Mediterranean littoral, with special affection for the ancient magic of the Greek islands, the glories of Renaissance Italy, France for the historic ties with England, and every vineyard along the way.

Mr John Everett Nyberg, Technical Director of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) 

Has over 25 years of experience working with government and public sector stakeholders to facilitate international cooperation initiatives that ensure the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of marine transportation. Throughout his tenure at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), John has managed international, interagency, and legislative engagements and developed high-performing teams of 100+ employees to produce and distribute thousands of nautical charting products. He was also instrumental in orchestrating transition from a raster product, paper-chart organization to one leading with the electronic navigational chart (ENC) as signature product and increasing production rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2023 John was elected to a 6-year term as a member of the IHO Directing Committee.

Mr Ajit Jacob, Chief Examiner for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Ajit is the Chief Examiner for MCA and has been in the role since 2018. He joined the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in 2013, after spending 17 years in the Merchant Navy. During his career at sea, he served as Officer on Aframax Tankers and VLCC’s and as Chief Officer and Master on Ro-Pax Ferries. He joined MCA as Examiner of Mates and Masters with the Seafarer Training Branch. Thereafter, he joined the Marine Office as a Surveyor, carrying out Surveys, Audits, and Port State Control Inspections on a broad range of vessels. In his current role as Chief Examiner, Ajit is actively involved in the Seafarer training modernisation programme being coordinated by the MCA. Ajit has a Masters in International Commercial Law, is an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute, Member of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and Younger Brother of the Trinity House.

Mr Richard Falk, Director of Training and Qualifications for the Royal Yachting Association

Born in Australia, Richard spent much of his childhood in, on or under the water. He continued with his passion for the sea as he moved into adulthood before finally giving up a successful corporate management career 24 years ago to turn his passion for the sea into a career, becoming a commercial master for both sail and power vessels under 200 gt. He went on to work in various parts of the world and has skippered many of the major international yacht races, including around-the-world events. For the last 12 years, he has had responsibility for the management of the RYA’s Training schemes and publications business globally as the Director of Training and Qualifications. Richard works closely with government, both in the UK and abroad, as well as with other boating governing bodies making sure their qualifications are as widely recognised abroad as possible.

Mr John Wyborn, Co-founder and Director of Bluewater

A yacht brokerage, charter and management company and a provider of crew training and placement services to a large proportion of the yacht crew population. He is President of MYBA (the worldwide yachting association), is on the board of the Professional Yachting Association (PYA) and is a board member of the International Association of Maritime Institutions (IAMI). He is Chairman of IAMI’s influential Small Ship subgroup. John also sits on the board of both the Merchant Navy Training Board and the Maritime Skills Alliance. He joined the Royal Navy as a seaman officer after university and served on various types of vessels including frigates, destroyers, and finally in command of HMS Mentor; a navigation and seamanship training vessel teaching RN trainees and foreign navies.

Miss Angela Wallace, PYA Director of Interior Training and Head of the PYA Welfare Group

An online VLE training course for Pursers onboard Super Yachts. The Purser program is fully accredited under IAMI & GUEST, and Angie was instrumental in helping create the learning objectives and outcomes for this as well as serving on IAMI GUEST Hospitality Workgroups. Early 2022 Angie took over from Lynne Edwards as the PYA Director of Interior Training and has been volunteering as head of the PYA Welfare Group since then. Her passion is not only for training present and aspiring Pursers but also for supporting and ensuring crew welfare across the board.

Mr Jo Assael, Yachts Commercial Director of the Marshall Islands Yacht Register (International Registries Inc.)

Jo Assael joined the London office of IRI in 2023 as Yachts Commercial Director. Prior to joining IRI, Mr. Assael spent more than five years in yacht management at Döhle Yachts transitioning from Technical Director to Commercial Director responsible for managing the company’s growth. From 2013-2018 Jo worked for the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry as their Yacht Code Specialist and was heavily involved in drafting the Red Ensign Group’s Yacht Code while also conducting newbuild and in-service yacht surveys, inspections, and audits. He previously served as a surveyor for the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and served as a lead technical specialist representing the UK MCA at the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Before his time at the UK MCA, Mr Assael was a large yacht naval architect, working on projects ranging in size from 60 to 120m. Mr. Assael serves as Chairman of the Technical Committee of the International Superyacht Society. He is a Chartered Engineer (CENG) with the Engineering Council and a member of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects (RINA). Mr. Assael has a degree in Naval Architecture from Solent University.

Supporting sponsors for the 2023 Sea Changes Forum

This year’s PYA Sea Changes Forum is made possible by leading organisations and institutions across the industry including: 


Hydrography provides the basis for all activities which involve the sea. The International Hydrographic Organization works to ensure that all the world's seas, oceans and navigable waters are surveyed and charted, thereby supporting safety of navigation and the protection of the marine environment.

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Ocean Drive

Ocean Drive covers all facets of the yachting industry including sales, brokerage, management, and charters. The team have several decades of professional yachting experience and in-depth knowledge of the Mediterranean Sea including top maritime destinations.

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The IAMI members include a network of maritime educators and professional trainers & specialists, based worldwide. The main role of IAMI is to act as the conduit for maritime education, qualifications and professional development through its four review Sub Groups, made up of IAMI members, regulators and education bodies, who review current training, new course development and monitor the learning outcomes through exams.

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The IAMI GUEST Program is the internationally recognised large yacht industry qualifications and assessment standard. The portfolio of GUEST Programs and Courses provide tailored training to support the careers of Superyacht Professionals both onboard and ashore. Through a Blended Learning approach of Online, Virtual Learning and Classroom based training, students can learn at their own pace, and across global time zones. Successful completion of each individual GUEST course leads to the issue of an IAMI GUEST Certificate.

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Bluewater offers more than 25 years of experience and is the only major yachting company with dedicated and experienced teams in the five main sectors of yachting: Yacht Brokerage, Yacht Charter, Yacht Management, Crew Training and Crew Solutions.

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MYBA The Worldwide Yachting Association is an international professional organisation, founded in 1984, with both Corporate and Individual Members. The Association’s mission is to inspire, support and empower people in the superyacht industry to be their best: by maintaining business at the highest level of ethical conduct, committing to equality and diversity, protecting the environment, sharing knowledge and combining strengths, building strong relationships, and continuously developing, both professionally and personally.

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YPI Crew 

YPI Crew have been connecting people with their dream careers in the yachting industry for more than 20 years. They encourage new generations to discover yachting and help seasoned crew advance their job prospects, and develop their talents.

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Seascope France provides the most comprehensive superyacht training packages at competitive prices across Europe. From beginner level STCW basic training to advanced Yachtmaster qualifications, they teach a variety of courses in our RYA recognised, fully equipped classrooms as well as conducting onboard training on their modern training vessels.

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Participating in Sea Changes 2023 online

The PYA will be sharing various updates and insights throughout the day using the #SeaChanges hashtag across all social media platforms. Internet users can participate in discussions using the hashtag to share various perspectives on yachting.

We look forward to welcoming you all today both online and in-person at the Sea Changes Forum! 

If you have any questions related to this year’s event please contact us:

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