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Merchant Navy Entry Level Programs & Courses for Seagoing Professionals in Peterhead at North East Scotland College

scottish maritime academy

The Scottish Maritime Academy at North East Scotland College is one of Scotland's premier maritime education and training providers. The academy covers the whole spectrum of nautical training, and courses are delivered by the specialized team of fully qualified and expert seafarers and have been delivering professional nautical courses for decades. The academy offers a range of Merchant Navy Deck Officer Courses, fishing industry courses, short courses, and tailor-made courses for industry.

The nautical programs are conducted at Peterhead Learning Centre. The center is a unique facility which is situated overlooking the Marina and provides the students with inspirational views across the bay. The center operates from September to May and provides a valuable facility for everyone within the area who wants to study – be that full-time, part-time or evening classes. The Scottish Maritime Academy provides STCW training and delivers approved maritime courses on behalf of  Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB),  Association of Marine Electronic and Radio Colleges (AMERC), and, Royal Yacht Association (RYA).


The Scottish Maritime Academy is situated at the entrance to Peterhead overlooking the marina. Courses are delivered from £1.2m dedicated training centre. As the nautical centre of excellence of North East Scotland College, Scottish Maritime Academy has access to high specification teaching resources and specialist maritime equipment. This includes a Transas full bridge marine simulator plus three training bridges, a purpose-built 9 workstation ECDIS suite and the latest radio simulation equipment.

scottish maritime academy campus

Training Programs




Deck Officer Programs

  • Deck Officer Cadet Program (HNC): This MNTB deck cadet training scheme is designed for those who would like to serve as a Deck Officer on seagoing ships of the Merchant Navy. The program consists of 5 phases, usually over 3 years, and is a combination of Academy based learning and sea-time. Upon completion you will gain the MCA Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency and an HNC in Nautical Science. Places are sponsored by shipping companies.
  • Deck Officer Class 1 Conversion to Merchant Navy Officer of the Watch (Unlimited): This conversion course is for those who hold the MCA Deck Officer Class 1 (Fishing) qualification and who wish to obtain the Merchant Navy Officer of the Watch (Unlimited) qualification. The course covers the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Higher National (HN) qualification but please note additional short courses will be required to achieve the Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency Regulation II/1.
  • HND Nautical Science (20-24 months): This program is ideal for those who are working at sea as an Officer of the Watch on four weeks on/off or similar pattern. Candidates can continue study and achieve a HND, leading to Chief Mate (Unlimited) without lengthy periods of study leave from employment.

Deck Ratings Programs

  • HNC Nautical Science (12-14 months blended): A blended learning program, this course is a mixture of self-study and attendance at the Academy and is ideal for Deck Ratings who wish to gain further qualifications whilst working.
  • Efficient Deckhand (EDH) (5 days): This course is suitable for those with at least 6 months sea service in vessels of more than 15m who wish to progress from basic deckhand to able bodied seafarer qualifications.
  • Trainee Deckhand (12 weeks): This course is ideal if you are looking to start a career in the Merchant Navy, the offshore supply and standby vessel fleet and/or the fishing industry.This course is sponsored by Peterhead Port Authority which allows all new entrants to receive Personal Protective Equipment and have access to survival equipment.

MCA Oral Prep

  • Oral Prep (5 days): Intensive short course prior to undertaking MCA Oral examination - Class 1, Class 2, OOW, Master 200, <500 near coastal

Other Maritime Courses

  • ECDIS - Type Specific - FURUNO
  • Electronic Chart Display & Information Systems (ECDIS)
  • GMDSS General Operators Certificate (RADIO)
  • Human Element Leadership And Management (HELM) - Operational Level
  • Human Element Leadership And Management (HELM) - Management Level
  • MCA Approved Engine Course (Part 1 & 2)
  • MCA Cargo Module (HN: Marine Cargo Operations)
  • Navigation Aids and Equipment Simulator Training (NAEST) Management Level
  • Navigation Aids, Equipment and Simulator Training - Operational Level - NAEST (O)
  • STCW Elementary First Aid (Including Refresher)
  • STCW Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities
  • STCW Personal Survival Techniques
  • STCW Proficiency for Seafarers with Designated Security Duties (PDSD)
  • STCW Proficiency in Medical First Aid
  • STCW Proficiency in Security Awareness
  • RYA Short Range Certificate (Radio)

Bespoke Courses

  • Team Building
  • Stress Management
  • Communication
  • Bridge Resource Management
  • Ship Handling
  • Linesman Awareness
  • Seamanship
  • Electronic Charts
  • Navigational Aids