Careers At Sea

Get more experience

Thinking of a Merchant Navy career? There are groups and centres across the UK that are great for building or boosting experience – and having a little fun – ahead of embarking on a job at sea. Begin your voyage of discovery here.


If you don’t have the right qualifications to join an officer programme and you want to take that route, there are pre-cadetship routes which you can explore. These courses last around a year and aim to develop your skills to get you ready for an officer level course in the Merchant Navy. You need to apply to them directly though the related nautical college. You can find a list of options available below:

Jubilee Sailing Trust

Take the helm, set sail and keep watch. The Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) owns the S.V. Tenacious. These tall ships give anyone, regardless of ability, the chance to experience what life is like sailing the high seas.

Maritime Museums

Back on dry land, there are over 200 UK maritime museums that paint a fascinating picture of life at sea – then and now. Book a tour, visit an exhibition or look out for maritime careers events and study days.

Ocean Youth Trust

With six regional centres across the UK, the Ocean Youth Trust gives people aged 12-24 the chance to crew a ship. Along the way you’ll pick up valuable skills that can help with personal development.

Sea Cadets

Aged 12-18 and craving adventure? In the Sea Cadets you could learn to hoist a sail, kayak down a river or dive off the British coast. Focussed on teamwork, this nationwide voluntary organisation helps young people take on nautical challenges, gain new skills and forge friendships. And there’s a designated group for under 10s.

Tall Ships Youth Trust

Start your sailor training at 14 with the Tall Ships Youth Trust. This registered charity has been helping 14-25 year-olds learn to crew vessels since 1956.

Beyond Working at Sea

If you start your career on board ship, you don’t have to stay there. Our Careers at Sea and Beyond Maritime Careers Map shows you the places you could progress your career.

Maybe you want to start ashore first. The maritime sector is huge and there are other places you can get your maritime career off the ground. See what’s on offer with Maritime Careers, our partner organisation for maritime promotions.

Image courtesy of Fleetwood Nautical Campus