Shipping and Maritime Operations NC Level 6

What is special about this course?

This course will enable you to progress to further qualifications which form part of deck and engineer officer training programmes or alternatively if you wish to follow a career in shore based maritime operations.

The course offers a relevant mix of competencies to enable career progression whilst at the same time providing you with an articulation route to HNC/HNDs currently used in training programmes for Merchant Navy officers.

The course forms part of a scheme of training approved for professional certification by the Merchant Navy Training Board.

During your course, we introduce you to using a range of digital technologies, which will help you get the most from your course and at the same time develop your digital skills.  Find out more about key computing skills and essential student skills.


Entry requirements

Successful completion of the NQ in Maritime and Aquaculture Skills

Desirable Qualifications Nat 5 in Maths and one science subject

Or other relevant experience 

  • Computing Office and Personal Productivity Applications
  • Communication - Level 6
  • Shipboard Operations  - An introduction
  • Maritime Industry - An introduction
  • Transverse Stability of Ships - An introduction
  • Naval Architecture - An introduction
  • Mathematics for the Maritime Industry - Engineering Officer
  • Mathematics for the Martime Industry - Deck Officer
  • Nautical Science - An Introduction
  • Chartwork and Tides - An introduction
  • Bridge Operations - An introduction
  • Safety and Security of a Vessel whilst in a Port Environment
  • Marine Mechanics - An introduction
  • Marine Engineering Practice - An introduction

More than just your subject

Imagine coming out of college with your subject qualification PLUS a portfolio of skills endorsed by employers. That’s exactly what you will get with us. Our skills+ portfolio is part of your full-time course. You will develop skills in digital literacy, entrepreneurship, metaskills, work-readiness, net-zero, wellbeing, and the skills you need for your future aspirations. Our skills+ portfolio becomes your portfolio to take away with you. Whilst studying your subject you will build your skills+ portfolio and gain confidence and resilience along the way.


A calculator would be useful.

 Internet connection and a suitable device with headphones, microphone and camera (minimum spec) is required. Please email us if you have any concerns about connectivity or equipment.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

You normally need to commit to 18 hours per week (2-3 days: Mon/Tue/Wed) of blended learning time consisting of timetabled learning and personal study.

For the practical elements of your course, some of your timetabled learning will take place in and around our Mallaig College Centre. 


How long will my course last?

34 Weeks

How will I be assessed?

    Methods of assessment include practical tests, completion of portfolios, open and closed book tests.

Where can I study my course?

    • Mallaig

    Please note, UHI West Highland will be changing its name to UHI North, West and Hebrides in August 2023, subject to Scottish Government approval. This will not impact on your choice of course or how and where you will study.

Start date

Late August 2023


For the latest information on fees please see our Fees & Funding information pages.


Students may qualify for bursary funding.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Pathway 1: Cadetship, this course provides a pathway into engineering and deck officer positions after three more years of study. 

Pathway 2: Modern apprenticeship with a suitable ferry or merchant navy shipping company. Apprenticeships are available in retail, hospitality, Engineering, Deck and Harbour Operations

Pathways 3:  Aquaculture entering the sector at farm technician, senior farm technician or boat crew.

Is there more information available online?

QR Code - scan to visit course page

You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

I want to get into the merchant navy. I started a deck officer cadetship in Glasgow but couldn’t do the sea time due to lock-downs. I came home to Caol in Fort William. I didn’t want to waste time, so I decided to study in Mallaig. I knew the two maritime courses there would keep me in the game and set me up with my re-application to cadetship in September.

This course shows I have prior knowledge of what’s involved with work at sea. We do classroom work like ship stability, chart work and tidal calculations as well as working for RYA tickets, such as Power Boat and Day Skipper, which are always useful for maritime employment if you don’t want to go on to study further.

I am now more able and confident and my understanding is greater which puts me in a good place for Glasgow. 

Murdo MacPhail

Apply for Shipping and Maritime Operations NC Level 6

I want to start in 2023/24

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI West Highland. Please note, UHI West Highland will be changing its name to UHI North, West and Hebrides in August 2023, subject to Scottish Government approval. This will not impact on your choice of course or how and where you will study. UHI West Highland operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.