Image supplied by the RNLI


Apprenticeships are jobs with structured training which give apprentices a first class foundation to their subsequent career. There are apprenticeships in:

  • inland waterways
  • marinas and boatyards
  • marine pilotage
  • the Merchant Navy
  • port operations (stevedoring)
  • the Royal Navy
  • sea fishing
  • workboats

The MSA has produced a number of short (two page) Briefings with introductory information about apprenticeships and the Apprenticeship Levy. You'll find them all on our Briefings page.

All maritime apprentices are now invited to apply for Student Membership of IMarEST, the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology. Full details here.

As the number of maritime apprenticeships grows we will provide direct links to the companies which offer those opportunities. In the meantime, the links below are to the colleges and training providers who are currently best-placed to provide more information.

Trailblazers: Apprenticeships in England are changing, with a number of 'Trailblazer' working groups reviewing existing apprenticeship standards, and considering new options. They are:

Contact Iain Mackinnon for other sectors or for general questions.

The current frameworks are detailed separately for England, Scotland and Wales. Providers with questions should contact Iain Mackinnon.

The apprenticeship leads the way to the Boatmaster licence, recognised by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (and at Tier 1 Level 2, the top level, covering tidal rivers and 'limited distances to sea').

The National Maritime Training Centre at North Kent College currently supports apprentices on the lower Thames.

Red Ensign Ltd on the Isle of Wight has also supported this apprenticeship for a windfarm employer.

Sea Regs Ltd, based in Plymouth, has also now been approved to support the apprenticeship.

This apprenticeship is not currently available in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. If you would like it to be, please talk to Iain Mackinnon.

Two providers have been approved to support the apprenticeship:

There's a good deal of activity around apprenticeships for ratings at the moment.

Apprenticeships for deck ratings and engine room ratings are currently supported by:

and the following plan to follow suit shortly:

The Maritime Trailblazer Group is currently developing new apprenticeships for ratings working in maritime catering and onboard services. For other roles in the Merchant Navy, including cadetships (for trainee officers), see the Careers At Sea website.

For a good introduction to the range of apprenticeships available in the ports sector, have a look at Associated British Ports' apprenticeship video on YouTube.

Contact Colin Bassam at Port Training Services is a good guide to apprenticeship opportunities across the country.

See the Royal Navy's website for comprehensive information about career opportunities. The site also covers the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the civilian body which keeps the Royal Navy supplied.

Sea fishing apprenticeships in England are run by Whitby Fishing School (which provides accommodation for apprentices when they are not at sea).

In Scotland, both the Scottish Maritime Academy in Peterhead and NAFC Marine Centre in Shetland support sea fishing apprenticeships.

You can find more information about other training in the sea fishing sector here.

54 North Maritime Training Ltd (based in Whitby) currently supports the workboats apprenticeship.

We are working with the National Workboat Association so that workboat apprenticeships are also available in Scotland.