Leon Williamson owns a boating supply store in Havelock with his wife Michelle, and attended his skipper training course in March. “Here at Bow to Stern NZ, we aim to be the first port o’ call for everyone in the Pelorus Sounds. Having a commercial skipper’s ticket means instead of having to outsource, we can keep the work in our business” he explains.
“Timeframe was crucial for our operation. I was able to complete the bulk of the course in 9 days. Due to Covid-19 we had to schedule the practical sessions for a later date.” Bow to Stern NZ specialise in marine, fishing, outdoor products and vintage restoration as well as offering gear hire, boat charters, valet and brokerage services. They open seven days a week, so Leon was really happy when he learned he could fit the intensive training into his busy schedule without hassle. “Other courses I’ve inquired about were supposed to take up to 6 months, which is almost impossible for a 7 day a week business”
Thanks to Skipper Training NZ “we will now be able to focus on another branch of our business – property management in the Pelorus Sounds. We’re currently building our portfolio of properties in the sounds and getting my skipper’s licence means we can get to and from the properties in our own timeframe. I will be concentrating on these skipper’s services while our other staff members will be able to run the chandlery and extensive ship’s provisions.”
Because of the current pandemic, the class which Leon enrolled in did their training with tutors live online using Zoom instead of in the classroom. This was our first time using Zoom at Skipper Training NZ. Leon believes this has potential to continue to be a good option in the future, especially for people who live in remote locations around New Zealand. “I was actually grateful to do my skipper training during the lockdown – it didn’t take time out of the business and it gave me something to do every day. It was harder than face-to-face as I prefer learning in person, but the Zoom system worked great”
Like a lot of small businesses in New Zealand, Bow to stern was closed during lockdown. “We’ve been trying to keep ourselves occupied during lockdown – painting, tidying, getting the jobs done that we couldn’t do when we were open – small businesses everywhere are going to be struggling from this huge financial hit. There isn’t a lot of fat in the system to keep them going during this time, and although it’s always been important to support local businesses, it’s more crucial than ever to shop as you normally would so we are all able to bounce back.”
“When you have a boat and have this sort of time on your hands, why not take this opportunity to do some extra maintenance! Bow to Stern can supply all your boating needs and make sure your boat is ship shape and ready to get back into the water”
If you would like to know more about Skipper Restricted Limits, Skipper Coastal Offshore, Marine Engineering Classes 5 & 6 or how to convert an Australian certificate to be recognised in New Zealand, please get in touch with Skipper Training NZ. We are committed to helping you take your maritime career to the next level.