Within the series dedicated to the leaders of nautical associations in Spain, we end this thread of interviews with the one conducted with Oscar Siches, world coordinator of the ISO standard for marinas. A great connoisseur of marinas, yacht clubs and many nautical associations in Spain.
In what state of form is nautical associations in Spain?
In too “old” condition. We have not evolved enough with respect to associationism in general. It is a pity, but I do not currently see that the nautical associations in Spain have known how to bring together the sector with the aim of working together in defense of common interests.
Nautical associations, mainly those related to users, lack the flexibility to accept opinions that may not be those that individually may be believed to be the solution. But if there is a part of the associates who think differently, at least it is necessary to explore them to assess if that path has been traveled.
What are the specific functions of a nautical association?
The association par excellence, the ideal, is a country, a society. Society chooses people who will rule its destinies and who will manage affairs in a favorable way for its members.
A nautical association should be the same but to scale. There are many people who pursue a common good and if they come together to represent a group, they become an association. Whether 30 or 300,000 people
How much do associations depend on political decisions in Spain?
A lot. Because the politician is feared. A politician can open a door for you or he can brick it up for life. But this does not only happen in associations. In Latin countries, which have a very similar idiosyncrasy, it is like that. The person who reaches a position of power generally misuses it. Not always, but too many times.
What should be the common front of nautical associations in Spain?
The first thing should be to generate that proximity to the sea, which we like so much, to as many people as possible. The second, to eliminate that elitist vision, and of posh, that is had of the nautical one.
You cannot criticize people because they think that nautical is elitist and posh, because what they see about nautical when they walk along a promenade, or read a newspaper, or in the Hola is just that. They see a one hundred and eight meter yacht, another one of one hundred and thirty meters. They tell you that the maintenance of each one of these yachts is four million euros a year and that they have 60 crew members … Then people form an idea that is not the reality of all nautical. Of course there are such yachts. And of course they spend that money, and thank goodness, because these people run a great industry behind them. But that’s not all nautical.
Boating is the lot of people who have boats under 15 meters in length and that cost less than a second-hand car. Nautical is the person who goes fishing or the grandfather who goes out with his grandson to teach him to sail.
There is no doubt that not everyone can access this, but just like not everyone can play golf or tennis. There are some social levels that will always exist and that are separated from these possibilities. But let’s be clear, they are separated because we have not done a good job yet.
Are joint-stock companies linked to marinas, that is, marinas, more professional than a yacht club?
Not necessarily. In many cases they are, but it depends on the managers. The approach is totally different but there are yacht clubs that are a management model.
How does a navy defend itself from the competition of a club, or vice versa?
Doing things better. There is no other way.
What do you think is the ideal partner for a nautical association?
The ideal partner is the nauta, the one who likes to sail. He is also the one who is very aware that when you moor, even before, he is a guest of the sea. And as a guest, being in someone else’s house you have to keep the forms and respect.
Tell me about a nautical association as if you were interested in being an associate. Why would you encourage me to be part of that group?
Because by joining, you have the opportunity to contribute your opinion in a forum that will listen to you and where you will work to raise it with the aim of changing those important things for the benefit of all.
What do the associates of an association hope to solve for them?
Everything they have to say or raise. There you also have to be a good associate.
What level of rapprochement is there between CEACNA and FEAPDT?
I have no idea…
Is the nautical sector prone to teamwork?
No. The idiosyncrasy is still very independent in that sense. People want to be the one to carry the banner. That still looks too much.
The only association, which also had to solve its problems, but which for me is an example of how things should be carried out is the Catalan Association of Marinas (ACPET). I learned a lot from them, I admire them and I think they should be copied by everyone. And they know how to work as a team!
Is it easy to get done in a partnership?
No, because it depends on the personalities that exist within the boards of directors. And those personalities can prevent advancement from flowing. It is achieved, but it costs.
How is the ego managed in the maritime nautical sector in Spain?
It cannot be handled because it is so big that we cannot reach it … We are a kind of maritime elements like “Adamástor”, the monster of storms. We have a huge ego, and when we know what it is about, that ego grows more. This prevents creating gray areas where things can be better agreed. It is “I know. I know about this and then it will be done like this ”. It is very difficult to deal with this.
How much time was spent on analysis within your association?
I don’t know, but it would draw my attention if it was enough. Another characteristic that Latinos have is “If we think it’s going well, we don’t have to do anything.” So that of doing a kind of permanent self-audit I have not seen it and I do not think it exists, although it should be mandatory. It’s like ISO standards. If you want to improve, first study yourself and then improve what you can improve or do better. It is clear that things should not be done by hormonal hits …
In Spain there are approximately a dozen sectorial nautical associations at the national level. Doesn’t that seem like a “divide and conquer strategy?”
I do not think there is a universal Spanish plot to divide but since we are, we take advantage. Local associations are necessary as it defends each of the existing idiosyncrasies.
However, there are clear success stories, such as UCINA in Italy, where all the sectoral associations are under the same umbrella, without losing any of them their brand identity but defending common interests collectively. Clearly that would be the model to where we should go.
Where is nautical associations going in Spain?
I am convinced that throughout Spain the need to be represented correctly for everything that is nautical is felt.
What do you think about the fact that speed is sweeping philosophy within associations?
We want everything now! And that leads to steps that need to be more cautious. The philosophy of “little by little” does not convince me, but when running to justify a decision there is a great distance and you have to know how far you can go in each case.
What is the challenge that you would like to have solved on a nautical level?
That everyone pull in the same direction and that they know how to listen to work with common goals. I see us too separated and, sometimes, with excessive interests that are not the essence of what we want to do. I think it’s a waste of effort, which is a shame. In addition, all this makes members start to lose interest in associationism.
Is there a lack of empathy in the nautical sector?
If there is, because I still see, even with exceptions, people who think “as long as it suits me, I don’t care” and that is not empathy. That loyalty to the group that makes up an association is still missing. You have to work hard to generate the desire of an associate to belong and participate in an association.
Water sports federations are associations that bring together more than 4 million members. Is there collaboration with these entities? in what sense?
I do not know the problem in depth to talk about it. However, I can say that there was a time when people tried to put everyone together. And on that occasion there were reactions from old school people who said “these guys can’t be the same as us” and a blockade was generated. However, I am optimistic, and convinced, that this will be solved with the entry of new generations since current generations do not know today’s customer. We know the client from yesterday but not the current one. We do not know how they want to go on vacation, their conception of the family, etc. How can a dinosaur like me have an opinion on someone they don’t know? The only thing we can do is ask them and we are not doing it.
In a world that is increasingly aware of respect for the environment, what role does nautical associations play and what tools does it use to work in this regard?
At this point we all have it tremendously clear because we know that if there is no sea, we would not exist. And if our seas were not cared for, there would be no nautical.
Under this paradigm I know that the associations care about respecting the environment. Some more vehemently and some less, but everyone is aware.