The Diploma in Sea Fishing provides training and development for young people aged 16 - 19 years, who wish to enter the catching sector of the fishing industry.

The qualification is based on achievement and not time being served. Therefore at the commencement of the qualification an Individual Training Plan is agreed with each trainee and the company. This plan will specify a duration that will allow the trainee a reasonable prospect of successful completion of the programme. The training plan will be reviewed at regular intervals and the duration of the training may change as a result of these reviews.

The qualification is aimed at those newly entering the fishing industry and aspiring to reach the first milestone on a fishing vessel, i.e. to become a competent deckhand. As a deckhand, the job requires a range of individual and team responsibilities.

A typical job role may include being:

  • a member of one of the bridge watch teams – steering, lookout, contributing to safe navigation
  • a member of the deck team – operating and maintaining deck and fishing gear, handling and stowing the catch, operating deck machinery responsible for the care and control of the catch
  • assisting with all aspects of vessel maintenance

The Diploma will lead to:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Maritime Studies (Sea Fishing pathway)
  • Functional Skills Level 1, or if you already hold these or an equivalent, Level 2 will be undertaken
  • Seafish Industry Authority Certificates in First Aid, Fire Fighting, Sea Survival and Health & Safety for New Entrants, Safety Awareness and Risk Assessment
  • Short Range VHF Radio Operators Certificate
  • Where possible, several other extra-curricular courses such as Care of the Catch, Vessel Stability, Advanced Vessel Stability, MCA Approved Engine Courses Parts 1 & 2 etc.
  • A training allowance is available for trainees and is payable on a weekly basis. Subsistence and/or travelling allowances are also payable in appropriate cases. Trainees living away from home will have their bed, breakfast and evening meal paid directly to their landlady/landlord.

It should be noted that exceptionally, the training is non-employed. That is to say, trainees will not be employed and on a pay-roll. Lodgings, travel, safety equipment, and allowances are paid by the company to support the trainee during training.

The scheme is designed to suit the requirements of the trainee and as such they are given an appropriate length of time to complete in which time they will be expected to complete a portfolio of evidence of work tasks. Functional Skills will also need to be successfully completed.




The trainee will undertake various lessons around knowledge based and competence based units:

Mandatory units:

  • Survival in the water during maritime emergencies
  • Emergency first aid in response to maritime accidents or medical emergencies
  • Maritime fire prevention and fire actions
  • Maintain your own work practice
  • Maritime security
  • Communicate using equipment and visual means
  • Maritime sector overview
  • Martime employment, environmental health and safety practice
  • Vessel ropework and anchoring and mooring operations
  • Securing a vessel for passage
  • Assist with a vessel’s navigational watch
  • Vessel’s construction and stability

Fishing pathway units:

  • Assemble, operate and maintain fishing gear
  • Receiving handling and stowing the catch on a fishing vessel

Functional Skills will be introduced at an early stage in the first period and will be expected to be completed by the end of the classroom period in order that sea duty is not interrupted.




Assessment will take place regularly during the classroom training, and results held on file. At the end of classroom training, the majority of units will be assessed by multiple choice examination papers, the results of which may require variations to the trainees’ Individual Training Plan to be made.

When completing the sea duty training, trainees are required to complete sections of a Training Record Book, and when progressing and have become competent, this will be signed off by the skipper or first mate.

Final assessment will take the form of inspection of all of the evidence achieved by the trainee, and will require submission of Functional Skills certificates, Training Record Book completed in full, and examination papers. Once the submission has been verified, the trainee will have achieved the full qualification.




The successful trainee will receive a Level 2 Diploma in Maritime Studies – Sea Fishing certificate. This is separate from and in addition to those certificates awarded for the achievement of the individual components, e.g. units exams, Training Record Book and functional skills.

Then, the newly qualified deck hand can expect to enter the world of work with approx 12/13 certificates – and has become extremely employable.




Information, advice and guidance regarding progression opportunities is given upon application enquiry, interview, induction and throughout the training period.

All the qualifications have a direct link into Maritime and Coastguard Agency statutory certification system.

For the qualified Level 2 Diploma in Maritime Studies – Sea Fishing trainee, progression opportunities lead to:

  • Full time employment as a deck hand
  • Further training to become a <16.5m Skipper
  • Level 3 or Advanced Qualification
  • MCA Class 2 Deck Officer (fishing vessel) certificate
  • MCA Class 1 Deck Officer (fishing vessel) certificate
  • Application to Merchant Navy as deck hand
  • Application to Royal Navy as deck hand
  • Maritime & Coastguard Agency
  • R.N.L.I.

There will also be opportunities for working on vessels in the Wind Farm industry. Wind farms are currently being planned for construction off the North East coast.




You can submit an application to the school at any time. We generally have 3-4 intakes of learners each year. If you contact us and we have just enrolled an intake, your application will be considered for the next intake.

You can print an application form from this web site. Click here to download the application form

We need you to complete it in BLACK INK and IN YOUR OWN HANDWRITING. It doesn't matter if you think you can't spell or write neatly - so long as we can read it, then it will be fine.

Please fill in as much information as you can.

IT IS ESSENTIAL that you give us names, addresses and telephone number of two referees (not family or friends) - your application will not be considered without this information. Interviews are not offered until references have been taken up.

If your application is good and your references are good then we will contact you to arrange an interview.

Please note that this process takes some time – so please be patient!




If your application is successful you will be invited to the School for an interview and a date and time agreed with you.

Some applicants live a long way from Whitby and travel to the town the day before.

If you need to do this we can give advice regarding places to stay and the best route to travel.

When you arrive at the School you will complete a Literacy and a Numeracy assessment. Obviously you will need to do as well as you can. We will be looking for literacy and numeracy skills at Level 1 (basic skills), but will consider applicants on a one-to-one basis.

Once you have completed your assessments you will be interviewed, usually by the Training Co-ordinator and/or the Chief Executive.

If you are under 18 years of age, we require a parent or guardian to attend with you. (If this is a problem please contact us).

We will have an informal chat - you can tell us about your background, previous work experience, what things you are good at, etc. We can tell you about how the school runs and what we expect of you. If we are happy with your interview but your literacy and numeracy is low, we will suggest that if you are keen to join us, you can return home and upgrade your skills and reapply. Several successful trainees have done this.

You can ask questions - your parents can ask questions.

Will you still be interested in an Diploma? This is one question we will definitely ask. The places at the School are limited so if you have changed your mind we would rather you let us know from the outset.

Once all the interviews have been completed we will contact you within about 7 days to let you know if you have been successful. If you are - well done! We will send you your joining instructions and start date.