Diploma in Maritime Studies: Sea Fishing


SQA offers a comprehensive portfolio of maritime qualifications to support the maritime sector, with further qualifications currently under development. Our qualifications develop the employability skills that are valued by employers and necessary for effective work in the maritime industry.

The Diploma in Maritime Studies: Sea Fishing at SCQF level 5 provides learners with the skills they will need for employment and/or further study. This Diploma covers an overview of the maritime sector, health and safety practice, first aid, survival and security. Ropework, anchoring and mooring operations, vessel construction and stability, and managing fishing gear and catch on a fishing vessel are also covered.

SQA is the Maritime Skills Alliance’s preferred awarding organisation for qualifications UK-wide. The two organisations have developed a close working relationship which ensures that the qualifications meet the needs of the sector and reflect international regulatory requirements.

This qualification is available through employers, colleges and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

The Scottish fishing industry makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy. The value of the catch landed at Scottish ports amounted to £435 million in 2010 — 283,000 tons, which is 70% of the total UK catch. A significant proportion of the shellfish caught is exported. In 2010 the Scottish fishing fleet consisted of 2,000 vessels, with 5,000 people engaged in sea fishing activities.

It is an important provider of employment in the Highlands and Islands and the more remote parts of the country, and when those working on shore in the fish markets, fish processing and other support activities are taken into account, the fishing industry becomes a key contributor in small fragile local economies.

The Diploma in Maritime Studies: Sea Fishing in at SCQF level 5 will allow learners to demonstrate their competence in this key sector of the Scottish economy. The Diploma can be integrated with a Scottish Modern Apprenticeship, which will attract funding.

It could be offered in one of the following modes:

  • full-time
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • on the job training

Who does this qualification suit

The Level 5 Diploma in Maritime Studies is suitable for a wide range of learners, including:

  • school leavers
  • progression learners from basic maritime qualifications
  • employed learners who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • learners wishing to move from one sector of the maritime industry to another


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.


This Diploma will provide the opportunity to progress to further learning or to more senior positions, and qualification to become a deckhand and then skipper of a vessel of less than 16.5 metres in length.


Centres with devolved authority are eligible to seek approval through their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact the Business Development Team for guidance in completing the form.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as well as any specific requirements of the EU Skills Assessment Strategy, which underpins the quality assurance for this Diploma.

How to assess

The Diploma is designed to be assessed in the workplace, or in conditions of the workplace, eg at MCA-approved fire-fighting and sea survival training facilities; college mechanical engineering and electrical engineering workshops; on board an appropriate vessel.

Assessment Guidelines and Units are available on SQA’s secure website.

Occupational skills units must be assessed on the basis of evidence that the tasks have been undertaken satisfactorily in the workplace or an acceptable simulation, supported by independent oral examination and other acceptable evidence supplied by the learner.

Occupational knowledge units must be assessed through oral and written questioning methods that are relevant to the needs of the learner on the job or off.

Underpinning knowledge units must be assessed through oral and written questioning methods relevant to the needs of the learner on the job or off.

The use of a Training Record Book (TRB) forms part of the assessment. The completed TRB will be used as supporting evidence to demonstrate that the work-based elements of the units have been undertaken.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

Qualification structure

Group Award Code: GG10 45

The Diploma in Maritime Studies: Sea Fishing is at SCQF level 5 and consists of 11 mandatory Units and 1 optional Unit.

For further information on the structure of this qualification please refer to the Qualification Structure (200 KB).

Modern Apprenticeships

This Diploma will form part of the Modern Apprenticeship in Maritime Occupations at level 2.

SQA also offers the following components of this Apprenticeship:

  • F426 04 - Core Skills: Communication SCQF level 4
  • F42N 04 - Core Skills: Working with Others SCQF level 4
  • F42J 04 - Core Skills: Problem Solving SCQF level 4
  • F42E 04 - Core Skills: Information and Communication Technology SCQF level 4
  • F42A 04 - Core Skills: Numeracy SCQF level 4

Find out further information on Modern Apprenticeships.

Assessment guidance

Candidate Guidance and Portfolio