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Crew Feedback, e-mail, letters, recommendations

This page contains e-mail messages, photographs and letters we receive from students.
If you have attended a course ( or several ) at the Maritime School of the West Indies in St.Martin-St.Maarten, please feel free to send us an e-mail with your impressions, remarks or praise, pictures etc.

Newest messages are on top of this page.
Thank you.

Really sorry this email hasnt got to you sooner but better late than never!
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and Mel for looking after me and putting up with me for three very long weeks! I was very impressed with the school and all the effort that Mel and yourself put into the course and believe me I learned a lot!
I have spoken with several people who have been thinking of taking the course and I have spoken highly of you and hope you see some Bermudians down there soon.
Again thankyou very much and with a bit of luck I will see you again in March for the ocean course with Russel.
Mark Procter


Having done many similar courses ( Fire + First Aid) was impressed with how much I learned. Instructors were easy to listen and very informative.

Corey Thompson May 2011

All teachers spoke with confidence and provided exemplary assistance at all times.
Truly enjoyed this course and will recommend this location for Family/ Friends.
Take Care Team !

Curtis Dunnell May 2011

bonjour Veerle
Merci encore pour cette semaine de formation STCW95.
Nous avons appris beaucoup de choses dans une ambiance conviviale et très professionnelle. Les interventions sont vraiment donnés par des enseignants passionnés par leur métier et très disponible à nos questions et interrogations.
C'est avec grand plaisir que nous reviendrons vous rendre visite lors de nos passage sur St Martin car l’accueil y est toujours aussi chaleureux

Fumat Stéphane

Date: Fri, 14 Aug 2009 16:06:40 +0200
From: Katharina Reissing

Hello dear Veerle,

I just remembered that I have never sent you a feedback, so here it is. Better late than never. LOL. I am still following my dream. Just finished my cookery class in England and will do another soon in Southern France. Then ready for the Med season and if all goes well, I hope to see you during the winter season 2010/2011. Nitzan and I are still friends, she is currently in New York.

Like Nitzan, I took the STCW 95 Course in March/April of 09. Not necessarily knowing what would expect me, I was surprised to find

- a high degree of professionalism
- support whenever needed
- great organization
- lots of fun

Because of this very positive experience, I also signed up for the Small Power Boat & RIB Master course. And again, another really good course!

Thank you to all instructors and especially to Veerle!! She was always a helping hand and wonderful support. Nitzan and I miss you.


Hi Veerle,

I have just completed the STCW’95 course at the MSWI and I cannot recommend it highly enough. As a professional instructor myself (PADI MSDT, EFR), I was highly impressed by the organization and effectiveness of the course instructors. Each had several years of personal experience with their subject and it showed in both the theory and practical training. They were also extremely effective in teaching students for whom English is a second language; in fact, the class was an international group of students from all over the world. All training materials and equipment were top rate. The course itself was in-depth, challenging and rewarding. I feel I have come away with invaluable knowledge that will serve me a lifetime.


Scott Kerr

Director of Water Sports

& Beach Services

Cap Juluca Hotel

Anguilla, W.I.

Date: Wed, 6 May 2009 14:10:38 -0400
From: Nitzan Levy

I have decided to join the STCW 95 Course that started on March 30 2009 only
2 days before it started. I was in Antigua, and knew nothing about St.
Maarten and about how to get there. My first e-mail to Veerle, the school
manager and owner, was answered within 2 hours. I received all the necessary information regarding flights, accommodation and transportation on the Island, and of course, the relevant information regarding the course.

I was happy to discover that the first impression wasn't just a show. The
instructors of the courses were very professional, the course structure was
well organized, relevant to our sea life and for our exams, and the
practical classes weren't only useful - but also very fun!!!

I hereby recommend warmly the Maritime School of the West Indies as the
place to take your next marital qualification!

Nitzan Levy


I followed the STCW 95 course in October, when the Maritime school first reopened in its new location, and have been very pleased with the organization and professionalism of the teachers and owners.
I highly recommend this training to anybody wishing to take this certification.

Isabelle Schiepan
Sint Maarten

Petite note pour ceux et celles qui prendront le temps de me lire …

Je viens de terminer les cours théoriques et pratiques du Master 200 voile à la « Maritime School of West Indies ». Ceux d’entres vous qui se posent la question quant à la qualité des cours qui y sont dispensés … elle est excellente ! Les instructeurs sont là pour aider et soutenir à tout niveaux, les outils sont mis à la disposition pour le bon accomplissement des cours et la qualité de l’enseignement était à la hauteur de mes attentes. Bien sûr on n’a rien sans rien et il faut pas mal étudier et rester concentré pendant toute la durée de la session. Ce sont véritablement des professionnels de la mer à la disposition de ceux qui veulent évoluer dans le milieu du Yachtisme.

Bon vent à toutes et tous qui prendront cette bonne décision.

Dimitri Poliakoff

Growing up on a sailboat makes you aware of security issues, doing an STCW95 course, gives you the basics on such issues. I would recommend anyone living on a boat to do an STCW95 course. My experience at the West Indies Maritime School was excellent: the staff was always helpful and encouraging, the atmosphere very pleasant and last but not least, the teaching of great quality!
St Barthélemy Cedex

May 18, 2007

je voulais vous saluer encore une fois. arret ici a st barth mais depart demain.
encore merci pour tout.
bonne continuation.
Gin Tonic

April 28, 2007

Hi Veerle
Thank you very much for that and thank you once again for an excellent time. please find attached the group photo from our course.
Best wishes

27th March 2007
Hello Veerle -  I'm sending this to both the email addresses I have on record trusting one or both get to you.
I want to thank you for arranging such a fine course that I managed to complete successfully despite having had a 'tricky day' at sea on 23rd with Capt. Anka [?spelling]. Both
Captains Lou and Anka  were great as was the company you put together on 'boat one'.
By now 'group two' should be well into their 'practical'. I hope they have as good and successful a time as we did and that Capt. Lou is not too overwhelmed with the Gallic culture and cuisine.
Today the weather is miserable down here, I hope its better in Antigua for the cricket  -  West Indies v. Australia.
On a sour note, some damnable cruising pirates robbed my boat in Port Zante Marina while I was away - inspite of  24 hr dockside security.
They took 
1 x Foul Weather jacket,
6 x Type 2 pfds,
1 x Complete Flare Kit,
2 x Safety Harnesses,
1 pr Binoculars 7x 50,
1 x Electrical Multitester.
They must have gone through the boat methodically and knew just what they wanted  -  I might just hope they need to use them all sometime and often.
So far as my YM Certificate is concerned, let me know when it arrives and I'll decide how to get it from you, as Catherine and I are going to be away in Europe and UK from April 18 through May 12, in case you do not hear from me right away.
Meanwhile, once again thanks for 'the School' and very best wishes to you and the 'team' at MSWI.
Desmond Fosbery.
St Kitts.

 Dear mswi

Many thanks for providing outstanding courses! the
content was excellent and the instructors were first
rate, very knowledgeable and very willing to provide
additional help when needed. 
I was extremely impressed with Veerle's attention to
detail and her willingness to go above and beyond for 
her students. i definitely leared a lot! and will
recommend the courses to anyone considering a career
in the maritime industry and will look forward to my
ocean course in the upcoming year. many thanks again
and hope to see you at future courses in the islands!

jonathan couture
yachtmaster offshore 2006

Dear Veerle,

I had an excellent time at the MSWI. 
The courses were excellent and the team of
instructors very pro and efficient.
My new diploma in the pocket I had the chance to be
hired as captain on Parsifal II, 120ft sloop joining a
crew of 5 for a transatlantique crossing. 
After a beautifull journey, we stopped in La Ciotat for
one month maintenance and prepared the boat for the
charter season in Med. 
The season is almost over by now and I'm looking
forward to coming back to the Caribbean.

All the best to the MSWI team


Hi Veerle
I completed the STCW 95 course with MSWI in order
to work on a 230 foot Motor Yacht, which i am currenly
doing now. As a basic course the training was very
Not only did i need to have the certificates to get the
job but was also able to understand what the captain
was talking about when he mentioned muster lists,
fire fighting equipment and all the rest.

Greg Joseph

Hello you guys, its me Randy and boy did I find your
course way more difficult and way more enlightening
than the USCG course I took for my US licence. 
Though the international yacht masters is difficult
I learned heaps and thanks to Capt. Lou Hoffman for
his exceptional instruction. 
All the best to you and your staff and will continue to
upgrade with you as well as tell everyone I know how
worthwhile I found the course. 
Regards, Capt. D. Randy West, St. Barth 

Hello Jan and Veerle,

Thank you for the course, i had a great time with all
the teachers and you of course.
Everyone was so friendly, that make you very
comfortable to asked questions ... I learned a lot and
enjoy every moment there and laugh when i see the
pictures or remember all the funny time there ...

Thank you again and hope to see you soon again


Hi Jan and Veerle

Thank you so much for everything you have done for
me, you were one of the few people in my life who
gave me the motivation I needed to get out into the
real world and 'Just do it'.
The courses were put together in a professional
manner and the instructors insured the maximum
benefit from all materials available.
As you know I grew up on a sail boat and to tell you
that the thought of joining the STCW'95 course with a
group of strangers scared me would be putting it lightly.

By the end of the course I had not only learnt more
than I ever thought imaginable but I also left with the
confidence that I was lacking, not to mention lots of
new friends.
I am now on a boat and I will be going across the
Atlantic this year for a season in the Mediterranean.
Once the season is over I will try and get back to
St Maarten and do my Yacht Master, why not?
You made me believe anything's possible.

See you next season, get the text books ready!!!

Liz Brasler

Dear Veerle

First of all everything went fine, all the participants 
came back on board to the yachts happy for what they
have learned. The response and feedback is very good.

Please find attached the comments from the observer
at the course yesterday by our Safety Officer Vincent
Wally R. Alvarado.
I think this will give you and all your colleagues at the
School a nice day at the office. 
Thank you for all your support and effort to have this
training accomplished according to our requests.
We will take contact for next training when needed.

We are looking forward to work with you again. 
Have a nice weekend in beautiful St.Maarten

Best Regards

Terje Willassen
Chief Officer, Seadream 2


* The Instructors have a wide knowledge on the Subject .
Every subject matter is well presented .
Instructions were brought out clearly  and easy to understand.
Tools and Equipments needed are ready and handy.
Well organized and prepared.
The training  was very well planned and the crew had benefited  much on the training.
Crew trained are now more confident and  can react correctly when such incidents arise.   

Reported by: Vincent Wally R. Alvarado Safety Officer, SeaDream  2

  Shelly and I have just returned home after our wonderful week of sailing with the Maritime School of the West Indies.  The program that your organization ran was truly outstanding.  Six willing, but totally inexperienced, people came together for one week and left with a solid basis of understanding in the dynamics of sailing. 
  By the end of our training each of us felt comfortable, in not just executing the tasks of a crew member, but with actually sailing a 40 foot plus vessel under full sail.  We not only became conversant with all of the parts of boat but with how they operated.  We learned the language of sailing, something that appeared totally daunting at first.  We were introduced to the skills of navigation, the rules of the sea, and most importantly how to sail in a safe and responsible manner.  
  The key to our positive learning experience was largely the result of the skill, experience, knowledge and patience of your instructor.  I can't say enough about how he instructed each us with considerate understanding.  He brought us along at our own speed so that no one ever felt intimidated or overwhelmed. 
  Captain Lou Hoffman is without a doubt one of the finest instructors that I have encountered.  After spending 26 years in the military I have seen many instructors and can attest that he stands in a class that is head and shoulders above the norm.  His ability to impart he vast experience and knowledge encouraged all of us to want to learn even more.
  Shelly and I were so pleased with our experience we intend to continue on for more advanced training so that someday we will feel comfortable sailing unsupervised.    I can't imagine a better way to spend a week of my life than mastering the skills of sailing in the beautiful surroundings of St. Maarten.
Dave & Shelly Tippett

Hello, and happy new year!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm Marielou Pichon, I took your class 2 years ago, I
had a very good time..............I'm still working on
76 feeth sail sloop boat, from 7 years now, we are 2
member of crew with the captain permanent and we are
looking for the third personn as an hotess (male or
female) for a coming charter on the 3rd february to
the 10 february departure in SXM, it will be paid in $
on the base of 2000 $ per month...the cellular of the
captain  VINCENT is xxxxxxxxxxx, we are french and the
guests will be americains

Thanks for your help if you know anyone that is free
to work

Best regards


The Maritime School of the West Indies is an official IYT affiliated and approved school IYT Worldwide