The superyacht industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the maritime world. As superyachts are in constant need of qualified and skilled personnel, such as captains, deck officers, engineers, and other crew, Warsash Maritime School, part of Solent University, Southampton provides the ideal destination for aspiring individuals who want to pursue a career on board these luxury vessels.

Warsash Maritime School boasts some of the finest maritime training facilities in the world. These facilities, together with experienced staff, enable the School to provide high-quality practical and theoretical training to both maritime officer cadets and qualified mariners looking to refresh their skills to meet, and in many cases, exceed the latest industry standards.

Warsash Maritime School bridge simulator

Image courtesy of Warsash Maritime School, part of Solent University

Superyacht Captain and Warsash Maritime School alumnus, Chris Halligan has spent 23-years at sea, ten at the helm of some of the most prestigious superyachts in the world. Having joined the School in 2003, he has seen how the institution has progressed after returning over the years to continue his maritime education.

“I completed my OOW Unlimited, Chief Mate Unlimited & Master Unlimited, all at Warsash. During the cadet ship I followed the HND route and NVQ level 2 and 3. I also completed the SQA route for Chief Mates.

“Over the years I completed several short courses that were mandatory at the time including basic STCW, HELM, NAEST Operational & Management, GMDSS. A few months back I returned once again to complete the ISM Maritime Auditor / Lead Auditor course and Designated Person Ashore course.

“Throughout my career I have visited Warsash Maritime School for my tickets as well as to undertake several short courses. While the School has always been at the forefront for facilities and standard of lecturers, the addition of the latest facilities has now taken the School up a level and I consider it to be world-class.”

The facilities

The Maritime Simulation Centre

In the heart of Southampton, situated within Solent’s East Park Terrace campus, is the School’s industry-leading Maritime Simulation Centre, comprising a range of rooms replicating different areas of ships or yachts..

Warsash Maritime School bridge simulator

The Centre boasts 7 full-mission navigational bridge simulators including a 360-degree simulator for a totally immersive experience, all of which are built with the latest technology from Wärtsilä.

The Bridge Simulators can be configured to simulate multiple different scenarios to provide real-life feedback. They offer a safe environment to train for critical aspects of both engineering and navigation, such as manoeuvring ships in ports, harbours, and through open waters. These simulators replicate real-world conditions, including challenging weather conditions, traffic density, and different navigational environments such as open sea, restricted waters, and shallow waters.

The simulators are all networked for joint exercises and can even be connected to the Ship Handling Centre at Timsbury Lake to interact with and react to both digital and real-life scenarios involving the School’s scaled model vessels.

Warsash Maritime School Timsbury Lakes Model Ship Handling Centre

Image courtesy of Warsash Maritime School, part of Solent University

The Ship Handling Centre

Warsash Maritime School is renowned for it’s state-of-the-art facilities and among the first-rate amenities is Timsbury Lake; a serene body of water that is home to the School’s exceptional Ship Handling Centre. Unique to the UK and one of a few globally, this facility is considered the pinnacle of maritime education and innovation.

Ship handling is one of the most critical skills required by those in a deck career and these facilities allow individuals and groups to safely practise crucial aspects of navigation, such as slow-speed manoeuvring in various settings – in particular ports and harbours.


The lake includes harbour areas and 19 jetties along with buoyed channels, critical bends, and turning basins, all of which can be used to practise ship handling scenarios. They have a fleet of 11 scale model ships (most at a scale of 1:25), which can be configured to replicate various vessels. The models closely replicate the handling characteristics of an actual vessel with single and twin-screw propulsion. The model ships measure between seven and nine metres in length and are driven by nearly silent electric motors capable of a maximum speed of three knots, equating to around 15 knots of ‘real’ speed.

Why choose Warsash?

Former student Charlie Reedman, now Second Officer onboard Motoryacht Zen, chose to complete his cadetship at Warsash.

Second Officer Charles Reedman

He says, “Warsash has a great reputation with deep roots of history, not only recognised in the UK maritime sector, but worldwide. The facilities they have are world-leading with very experienced lecturers who have worked on all vessels across the maritime sector. With the new investment through Solent, they have been able to offer more options for courses with the facilities to match.”

“Navigation Aids and Equipment Simulator Training (NAEST) operational was a particularly valuable course in helping me reach the position I’m in today. When completing the final stage of my cadetship (phase 5), we were able to put all we had learnt into practice. The simulators [in the Maritime Simulation Centre] provide a 360-degree overview making you feel like you are in a real-life situation. The instructors would place curveballs into the planned scenarios, which made the course challenging but beneficial, particularly as it was one of the last courses to be completed before orals. We would have session debriefs on what went well and what we could improve on, which is something very useful before gearing up for our final preparations prior to taking the oral.”

“I would recommend training at Warsash to anyone considering doing a cadetship. It is by far the best place to study in my opinion. The standard of teaching, support and facilities are second to none.

When I have attained enough sea time, I will be going back to Warsash to further my studies and continue my path to becoming a Master mariner.

Whenever I’ve had to refresh courses or acquire new certificates, I have always chosen to go back to Warsash.

It’s a great environment [in which] to study and it’s nice to catch up with familiar faces, also.”

Warsash Maritime School bridge simulator

Image courtesy of Warsash Maritime School, part of Solent University

In conclusion

As we continue to strengthen our relationship with Warsash Maritime School, we are pleased to promote a range of professional short courses to our clients looking to further their abilities and career.

If you are interested in any of the courses available through Warsash Maritime School, please contact your Yacht Manager or email [email protected]

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