Scottish Maritime Academy trainees gain berths on NE vessels

Two teenagers from Peterhead are proving themselves in jobs on North East Scotland fishing boats after completing an introductory course at the Scottish Maritime Academy (SMA) in Peterhead.

Lewis Geddes in the fishroom on the Shaulora BF 794.

Lewis Geddes and Blake Morison, both 16, completed the 12-week Trainee Deckhand course last July.

Lewis is currently working on the Shaulora BF 794, and says his favourite things are learning about the different types of fish and being taught new things in the wheelhouse for taking watches. He said: “It’s one of the best jobs you can do.

“During the course, I developed some watch-keeping skills that I have used at work. I am now able to take watches using knowledge I learned both at college and from other crew members.”

Blake Morison is currently working on the Karen Ann FR 559, and also uses knowledge he developed at college on a day to day basis. He said: “The college taught me the knots that you have to use on the boat, plus basic net-mending. I also learned about the precautions you need to take to stay safe on a boat.”

Blake’s highlights in his new job include being kept busy and learning from his crewmates. He said: “I enjoy being challenged and overcoming problems on the boat – it is never boring! I also like meeting new people and being part of the whole fishing community.”

Blake Morison is now working onboard the Karen Ann FR 559.

Blake had some good advice for anyone thinking about applying for the Trainee Deckhand course. “Don’t be scared to ask questions – it’s the best way to learn. Also, don’t worry too much about how it will feel on the boat – your body gets used to it quickly.”

Training for those keen to get into the fishing industry is available throughout the year at the SMA, a purpose-built training centre in Peterhead. As Lewis and Blake have demonstrated, a clear pathway exists, even for those with limited or no previous experience, from the Trainee Deckhand course to entry-level employment within the sector.

The academy also offers courses for those with the necessary sea experience looking to further their careers by achieving Class 2 followed by Class 1 skipper certification. With a focus on practical skills and safety, students learn from staff with varied seagoing backgrounds, including ex-fishermen, to give them a good overall feel for the maritime sector.

SMA centre manager Chris Bell said: “One of our key priorities at the college is to ensure that there is a conveyor belt of well-trained and enthusiastic new entrants looking to succeed in the fishing sector, and we are seeing more examples of local skippers giving these guys a chance on their boats, which is really encouraging for the future.

“We are always pleased to offer tailored advice by phone or email to anyone looking to join this dynamic industry, as well as those looking to progress their career.”

Full details of courses and qualifications on offer can be found at:, by phone on: 01779 476204 or by email at:

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.50 here

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