Marine Trailblazer Apprenticeships Meetings

Traiblazers Meeting at PSS offices in London

The port industry is currently developing two Marine Occupation Trailblazer Apprenticeships:

  • Port Marine Operations Officer ST0428
  • Marine Pilot

All Trailblazer Apprenticeships must be employer led and we provide the secretariat for the working group.

As an island nation over 95% of trade by volume goes by ship through over 100 ports around the United Kingdom.  These Trailblazers are intended to provide Apprenticeship opportunities to develop port marine service skills, knowledge and understanding that are a vital part of world class port businesses.   The meeting notes from the working group are available to download at the bottom of this page.

Port Marine Operations Officer

UK ports employ around 118,000 people across a wide range of port types and activities; from container and bulk cargo ports to passenger terminals to leisure and marinas. 

The port marine operations team assists in ensuring the safe transit and handling of vessels into and out of the port.  A Port Marine Operations Officer may work as a leader or member of a port/harbour marine operations team and may be involved in: berthing of vessels, port control and marine services, operation of harbours and marinas, conservancy, environmental protection, statutory compliance and operation of harbour marine craft within the Harbour Authority area of jurisdiction. This is a highly responsible position with a key contribution to the safe and efficient operation of the harbour. The role may involve shift working and working in all environments.

Port Operation Officer apprenticeship is designed to give those interested in working in a marine environment the opportunity to learn about shipping and port operations, while working for a port operator. The apprenticeship is designed to give hands-on training in all aspects of port marine operations such as lock and dock operations, mooring boat operations, health and safety task within a port operation, radio room and marine control centre operations as well as role and responsibilities of Berthing Master, Dock Masters and deputies, Harbour Masters and their assistance.

Marine Pilot

Approximately 750 Marine Pilots are employed to safely navigate these vessels.  A marine pilot has responsibility for the safe navigational conduct of a vessel throughout its passage. They also have a statutory duty to report any defects or deficiencies on the piloted vessel.  A Marine Pilot will work closely with the Captain and other members of the crew, who may be of any nationality. They must also be able to use the vessel’s navigational and communications equipment, liaising with other vessels and the harbour marine control centre.  Before boarding a vessel, a marine pilot is required to prepare a passage plan for the voyage from sea to berth or berth to sea.  This will take into account the size, draft and operating characteristics of the vessel as well as tides, the marine environment and the weather and give consideration to any need for tugs to assist the manoeuvring.

The Marine Pilot must be able to respond to emergency situations.  They must know and adhere to safe navigational, vessel handling and environmental working practices and international regulations without endangering themselves, the vessel, its crew or the marine environment.  A Marine Pilot must be able to climb/descend a vertical rope ladder from/to a launch holding position alongside a moving vessel, often in rough weather. They must be able to use survival techniques in water.

A Marine Pilot typically works on an on-call rotational basis but may also work a shift pattern.  An authorised Marine Pilot must have local knowledge of the waters, navigation and environment in which they will carry out acts of pilotage.  A Marine Pilot apprentice who completes this trailblazer apprenticeship will know and understand the relevant theory and practice generally required of the role.  Specific local training and examination will need to be undertaken in the harbour authority area in which the Marine Pilot will be operating before they can become an authorised Marine Pilot.


Marine Pilot Trailblazer - Meeting note 8 September 2017 PDF (409.04 KB) Download
Marine Pilot - Meeting note 17 Aug 2017 PDF (432.8 KB) Download
Port Marine Operations Officer - Meeting note 31 July 2017 PDF (432.13 KB) Download
Meeting note 21 June 2017 PDF (542.98 KB) Download
Meeting note 30 March 2017 PDF (259.18 KB) Download
Meeting note 26 January 2017 PDF (310.73 KB) Download
Meeting note 5 December 2016 PDF (329.31 KB) Download
Meeting note 14 October 2016 PDF (426.47 KB) Download
Meeting note 8 September 2016 PDF (282.56 KB) Download
Meeting note 5 July 2016 PDF (312.03 KB) Download