How to become a fishing vessel skipper
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You may be able to start by doing a course in maritime skills with a fishing industry college, then apply for work as a trainee deckhand on a fishing vessel.
A separate option might be to take a course in marine engineering and join a crew as a trainee in the engine room.
Once you have enough experience you can do further training to go on and become a skipper.
Entry requirements for these courses vary.
You could apply for a place on a Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship, such as:
- Officer of the Watch
- Small Commercial Vessel Crewmember
These apprenticeships typically take between 2 and 3 years to complete, and are a mix of training on the job and classroom study.
To get onto an apprenticeship, you'll find it useful to have:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You can start as a deckhand at sea and learn while you work. You'll usually need at least 18 months' experience before you can skipper a boat. You'll also need to have completed mandatory basic safety training for:
- sea survival
- fire fighting
- health and safety
- first aid
You'll need to be willing to move if necessary, as fishing industry training centres tend to be located near established fishing ports around the country.
You can find more advice about being a skipper and other careers in the fishing industry from Seafish.