Maritime Skills NQ

What is special about this course?

This course will allow you to explore the many different specialities and career paths open to you in the maritime sector. 

We mix practical and theoretical activities to help you get the skills employers value in most entry level jobs.   

You will learn about the make-up of the modern maritime industry, about how the industry as a whole works and how individual vessels work.  

You will learn about what keeps boats and ships stable, even when they are loaded or busy working. We’ll teach you the practicalities of boat handling, including the vital skill of keeping a ‘watch’, i.e. keeping alert to what’s going on all around you all the time.  

Different parts of the maritime industries have their own requirements: working on a ferry is different from using a small boat in a fish farm, or helping to run a marina. But they all have certain things in common, like working safely on board, safe and reliable ways of casting-off and mooring again, and understanding the basic rules about how boats and ships behave.  

This course will help you understand where your future career may be and give you the basic skills to get you started. 

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course however we recommend that you have an interest in maritime activities and enjoy a challenge.  

You should have a good level of general fitness and be able to swim as you will be training aboard the College RHIBs and taking part in Sea Survival training in a swimming pool.   

  • Maritime Sector Overview 
  • Securing a Vessel for Passage 
  • Vessel Construction and Stability 
  • Basic Navigational Watchkeeping 
  • Ropework, Anchoring and Mooring 
  • SQA Coastal Navigation 
  • RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship 
  • RYA Day Skipper theory 
  • RYA Powerboat 2 
  • RYA First Aid 
  • RYA Diesel Engine 
  • RYA Radar 
  • RYA Sea Survival 
  • Weather 
  • Boat Electrics 
  • Health and Safety 
  • Applied Maths 
  • Guidance 


Your bursary (for full time students) will cover the costs of personal protective clothing and lifejackets with be provided for you. 

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

Your course will generally be a mix of scheduled connected learning time, and flexible learning time. You need to commit to both, but you can choose when to complete flexible learning to fit around work, caring and personal commitments. 

The practical units will be taught in-person in your local centre, and you will also join your lecturers and fellow classmates at a scheduled time in an online classroom. 

You will attend class for approximately 3 days per week. You will be required spend around 8 hours in flexible learning outside of class 

Find out more about how you will learn with us.

How long will my course last?

9 Months

Where can I study my course?

    • Oban Learning Centre

Start date

Late August


Most full-time students will automatically have their course fees paid for this course.   

If you have recently moved to, or do not normally live in Scotland, you may need to pay £5,970 in course fees, these can be paid in instalments. Families of Armed Services personnel are subject to different fees regulations and may also have to pay course fees. If you think this may apply to you, please contact us and we can advise you. 

This course is not available to students who require a Tier 4 Home Office visa to study in Scotland (international or EU). 

Part-time FE students who are on low incomes or in receipt of certain benefits may also have their course fees paid for them. Please refer to page 2 of our Fees and Funding Guide to see if you are eligible.  

Each single SQA unit costs £90. You may be able to apply for an Individual Training Account (ITA) to cover up to £200 of part time fees. 


Bursary for Living Costs 

If you are 18 years of age or over on the start date of your course, and will be studying full-time you may be eligible for bursary funding, depending on your household income. Our bursary fund is finite and is allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis so it’s important to make your application for bursary as soon as the application process opens in July. You will need to have accepted our offer before you apply. 

If you are under 18 you may be eligible for EMA. EMA is paid at a rate of £30 per week dependent on your total household income.  

Please see page 2 of our Fees and Funding Guide for full details of Bursary and EMA.  

You may also be eligible for assistance with travel and childcare, and we have discretionary funds for those students in need. You can find all the information you need in our funding pages

What can I do on completion of my course?

When you’ve successfully completed this course, you can move on to study at a higher level with courses such as: 

  • A range of Maritime Cadetships 
  • Modern Apprenticeship  

This qualification could enable you to go straight into some jobs in the maritime sector, such as those in aquaculture and sea fishing, and work in harbours, ports and marinas where employers are looking for people with some experience of boats.  

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Maritime Skills NQ

I want to start in Jan 24

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI Argyll. UHI Argyll 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.