Maritime and Aquaculture Skills NQ Level 5

What is special about this course?

Do you want to be part of a major growth area in Scotland's economy - why not consider a career in the maritime sector?

This new course combines essential basic boat skills with certification from RYA and MCA with an understanding of aquaculture and the role it plays in Scotland’s waters and its therefore a great starting point for a career that could take a number of routes.  You will also have the advantage of being taught by a master mariner and have the use of our own Seaward 25 vessel, the Lannair, for practical aspects of your course.

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

There are no set entry requirements for this course. Entry is at the discretion of the centre and on successful interview. Relevant experience may also provide an appropriate basis for undertaking this course but is not essential.

You will study:

  • Small boat engineering
  • Maritime environment
  • Seamanship
  • Health and Safety in the maritime sector
  • MCA STCW10 (PST, PSSR and EFA)
  • Knots and rope work
  • RYA Essential navigation and boat handling
  • RYA Level 2 Powerboat and VHF Radio
  • Navigation 1 and 2
  • Aquaculture: an introduction to shellfish production
  • Aquaculture: basic seamanship
  • Embedded development of core and essential skills
  • North European aquaculture: an Introduction
  • Aquatic environment: local investigation
  • Aquaculture: an introduction to finfish production
  • Scottish sea fisheries: 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.


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) of blended learning time consisting of timetabled learning and personal study.

For the practical elements of your course, some of your timetabled learning will probably take place in the Mallaig Learning Centre.


How long will my course last?

19 Weeks

Where can I study my course?

    • Mallaig

Start date

August and January each year.


Most students have their course fees paid as this is a full time course. Please read our Fees & Funding information pages for more information regarding residency, previous study and bursary rates. Please contact if you have any further questions.

Rest of UK students : For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), with a term-time address in Scotland, studying full time, the course fee is £5,800.

Some of our courses require students to have essential equipment/clothing.

If you are under 18, you are entitled to have essential equipment paid for whether you are entitled to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) or not. However you must complete an application even if you know that you're not entitled to EMA.

If you are 18 and over and are eligible for a bursary, these costs will be met through your bursary. If you are not eligible for a bursary, you will need to fund these items yourself.


Students may also qualify for bursary funding.

What can I do on completion of my course?

When you finish this course you will have several choices available for future employment or study making use of both strands of learning (boat skills and aquaculture).

You might want to continue your studies with our NC Shipping and Maritime Operations (SCQF level 6), you could consider a career in the merchant navy, by applying for a cadetship with national shipping companies OR you could apply for a modern apprenticeship in Harbour Operations, Deck Rating or Hospitality (on-board).

Another career route could be into marine/aquaculture sector -  increasingly important for Scotland since seafood is one of our major exports; helping to sustain economic growth in the rural and coastal communities of the north and west. Fish farming and its related inudstries has a number of great career opportunities.

If you wish to move straight in to employment then you could apply for jobs, which will make use of the boat skills and aquaculture skills learned on the course. Jobs such as trainee fish farm technicians; boat crew at fish farms or harbour operatives for local ferry companies.

You could also enter the leisure sector as boat crew or sailing instructors after further suitable training.

You could work in freight logistics or the commercial fishing industry.

Is there more information available online?

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

I have done some casual work at sea but not having the right tickets was holding me back and I couldn’t afford to pay for them myself. I started this course in January because I saw that it included just the tickets that I needed. So now I’ve done RYA VHF Radio and Powerboat 2. Also First Aid and 3 parts of the MCA STCW10. I am about to start a job with a small coastal cruise boat called Nova Spero. This wouldn’t have been possible without the course and the tickets I got as part of it. 

I would recommend the course. It’s been hard work but with effort on my part, I’ve got a lot out and there’s been plenty of encouraging support. I’ve also been able to carry on working and earning while studying as the course runs 3 days a week. 

Daniel Langford

Apply for Maritime and Aquaculture Skills NQ

I want to start in Jan 23


We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI West Highland. 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.