Capt. Yves Vandenborn, Director of Loss Prevention, The Standard Club, talks about the fascinating world of loss prevention. Before joining the Club, he served as a master mariner and had the chance to sail with Belgium’s first female master from whom he learned the importance of nurturing both respect and talent to the crew. Capt. Vandenborn advises us to study as much as we can at a young age and always try to keep balance between personal and business life. Working on Club’s Human Element publication has helped him to understand a lot of how people think and make decisions, he noted, concluding that seafarers need more realistic training and drills in order to instinctively know how to react in an emergency.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Yves Vandenborn: From a young age I have been interested in water and ships. I was a very active member of the Belgian Sea Cadets between the age of 12 and 21. Ultimately this led to my decision to study Nautical Sciences and become a master mariner.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
Y.V.: I enjoy the wide job scope that being in loss prevention brings. From the constant interaction with the club’s members on a large variety of loss prevention topics, to the public speaking at crew seminars or conferences, to the dealing with claims trends, causations and remedial actions, to the risk assessment of new members or ships for the club. There is never a dull moment!
S4S: When you think of the word successful who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
Y.V.: I would not immediately think of a person, but rather a type of person of which there are a few examples. People like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Gianluigi Aponte, Arnold Peter Moller, etc all came from humble beginnings to build a world-class, industry changing company. Truly inspirational.
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why ?
Y.V.: There have been numerous inspirational mentors both during my sailing career as well as after coming ashore. The most influential of these would be Belgium’s first female master I sailed with for many years. She managed to balance being strict with being approachable, in order to run a tight ship. She was very driven, but always made time to explain or guide a junior crew member. I learned from her that if your crew respect you they will work hard, but if you nurture talent they will deliver their best.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why?
Y.V.: Two pieces of advice I wish I could give my younger self: continue studying when you are young. It goes a lot easier than when you are older and need to get back into the habit. The other would be to make sure you enjoy your life and have a proper balance between work and family. Afterall, you only live once.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
Y.V.: Working on the Human Element publications has given me a much better understanding of how people make sense of what they see and how decisions are made based on their understanding and current state of mind. While the club is raising awareness about this aspect of the human element, I have been implementing it within my own work with very positive results!
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
Y.V.: From the club’s own investigations and surveys we can see the need to enhance training and expertise of seafarers. Training and drills need to be realistic, pushing the seafarer beyond his daily job experience instead of being repetitive or paper exercises. Seafarers need to evolve from being merely competent to being expert in order to instinctively know what to do in case of an unforeseen emergency.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.