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Maritime Vocational Courses, Marine Apprenticeships, and RYA Short Courses at Dartmouth, Devon

south devon college

Located at Dartmouth Devon, South Devon College Marine Academy (Dart Marine Academy or Noss Marine Academy) in is based on the River Dart and is a maritime centre of excellence for training and education. The academy is an approved training centre for The Royal Yachting Association (RYA), a member of The British Marine Federation (BMF) and The Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL), and an accredited centre for City and Guilds, EAL Awards and Plymouth University. South Devon College is part of The University of Plymouth Colleges network.

The Noss Marine Academy has access to a comprehensive range of craft, which consists of over 20 boats. This includes powerboats, sailing dinghies and 2 38 foot yachts, the Aspiration (Sigma 38) and Endeavour (Beneteau 38).Other facilities include - Marine engineering workshop and a boat building workshop; Marine diagnostic software; Composites research and development facility; and Shore based navigation and VHF training facility.

The Courses are for all ages, and can provide you with the qualifications you need to be competent at sea, or to simply further your knowledge in sailing, yachting and boating. Every student at South Devon College has a Personalized Learning Program; a custom plan tailored to you as an individual that ensures you gain the academic, vocational and employability skills necessary to achieve your goals and find employment upon the completion of your studies.

Education & Training Programs

Full Time Maritime Courses


  • Exploring Maritime Skills Level 1 Certificate: The Exploring Maritime Skills course is the perfect introduction to the marine sector, enabling you to identify the areas that interest you most in this dynamic industry. You will be assessed by practical tasks, delivered both on and off water, utilizing a range of vessels and equipment in our workshop, as well as the production of an evidence-based portfolio. You will be given the opportunity to complete the following qualifications within this course: - RYA VHF Certificate - RYA First Aid Certificate - RYA Powerboat Level 1. Upon completion, you could progress to either of our Level 2 qualifications, to refine your skills and knowledge.
  • Boat Building Maintenance Level 2 Certificate: This qualification will provide you with strong knowledge of the varied components that make up the structure of boats, developing the skills necessary for their successful production. Upon completion you could progress to an apprenticeship with a suitable employer or the BTEC Level 3 in Marine Technologies.
  • Marine Engineering Level 2 Certificate: This is the ideal course for you if you wish to pursue a career in marine engineering, as you begin by learning the essential skills to form the foundation for a successful career in this dynamic and exciting industry. You will be assessed by completing a range of practical tasks, and producing a portfolio of evidence. Practical sessions are delivered in our fully equipped workshop, whilst the essential underpinning theory and knowledge is delivered in our specialist classroom facilities.
  • Maritime Studies - Marinas and Boatyards Level 2 Diploma: This program will provide you with the essential skills to work in coastal or inland marinas, or in boatyards. You will be able to specialize in lifting, moving boats and yachts, mooring and berthing boats and yachts, moving loads in boatyards, and maintaining marinas and boatyard equipment.
  • Marine Technologies Level 3 BTEC Diploma: This is a full-time qualification delivered over three days a week. You will study a variety of units that are contextualized towards marine engineering and boat building. You will develop theoretical knowledge whilst working on practical marine projects in our specialist facilities. You will also have the opportunity to gain RYA qualifications alongside the course, and upon completion you can consider progression to employment or university-level study.
  • Marine Engineering Level 3 Diploma: The diploma is the ideal progression route if you have completed the Level 2 Certificate, and will further improve your existing knowledge and practical skills. You will begin by developing diagnostic abilities across a range of marine engineering systems, as you prepare for employment. Assessments on this course consist of practical tasks that are evidenced by a portfolio, with teaching delivered in both our specialist classrooms and workshops featuring the latest equipment. Upon completion, you can progress into an apprenticeship or full-time employment.

Marine Apprenticeships

  • Diploma in Maritime Studies - Marinas and Boatyard Level 2: This Apprenticeship provides learners with a common core of learning, with additional options to suit the different circumstances associated with working in coastal or inland marinas, or in boatyards. Learners can specialize in lifting and moving boats and yachts, mooring and berthing boats and yachts, moving loads in boatyards, and maintaining marinas and boatyard equipment.
  • Marine Engineering Level 3: The Apprenticeship in Marine Engineering is a direct progression from the intermediate apprenticeship. The Advanced apprenticeship will take two years to complete. The apprentice will attend college at Dart Marine Academy one day per week, which during this day the apprentice will learn advanced engineering skills, testing and diagnostics and general boating skills. At this level, marine engineering apprentices are expected to be able to conduct routine servicing, maintenance and engine removal unassisted. Once completed, graduates go on to work as qualified marine engineers in boatyards, marinas and engineering companies.
  • Boat Building Level 3 Standard: A Level 3 Boat Building apprenticeship lasts for four years, with a varied choice of roles with a range of employers, including marine engineers, boat builders, repairers, boatyards and marinas. During this programme you will learn about boat production, boat maintenance and the repair of boats, all under the support and guidance of both your employer and the College. You will attend the College for one day per week, with the remaining working week spent in the workplace, for a minimum of 30 hours. The College can support you in finding a suitable employer to complete this apprenticeship.

Foundation Degree Programs

  • FdSc Yacht Operations: This is a unique, industry-driven Foundation Degree designed to prepare you for employment within the marine sector. The course combines recognized practical qualifications with academic study, and equips you with a range of skills and relevant experience to excel in your chosen field. Upon successful completion of this Foundation Degree you may progress to the final year of the BSc (Hons) Coaching degree at South Devon College, or the BSc (Hons) Navigation and Maritime Science degree at Plymouth University.

Short Courses

  • Day Skipper Theory - (RYA)
  • Diesel Engine Maintenance - (RYA)
  • Essential Outboard Engine Maintenance
  • Powerboat Handling - Level 2 (RYA)
  • Powerboat Instructor - Level 2 (RYA)

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