Maritime and Aquaculture Skills NQ

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.


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
  • STCW10
  • 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
  • Employability Skills/Core Skills
  • North European Aquaculture: an Introduction
  • Aquatic Environment: Local Investigation
  • Aquaculture: an Introduction to Finfish Production
  • Scottish Sea Fisheries: an Introduction

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

This course is currently based in our marine training centre in Mallaig.

In the future we hope to offer this course in all our college centres. Contact your nearest college centre for more information.

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 contact your local college learning centre or Student Services for more information.

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

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.

If you are under 18, you are entitled to have essential equipment paid for whether you are entitled to EMA or not. However you must apply for EMA even if you know that you’re not entitled to EMA.

If in any doubt or if you want detailed information, please call student services on 01397 874321.


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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Apply for Maritime and Aquaculture Skills NQ

I want to start in Jan 2020 or Aug 2020

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