Students pass new, more demanding watchkeeper course

From left: students Aleksandr Nazarov, David Waller, Ryan McGuinness, Jonny Veart with Captain Peter Holtby.
From left: students Aleksandr Nazarov, David Waller, Ryan McGuinness, Jonny Veart with Captain Peter Holtby.

Another group of students successfully passed the new Seafish Industry Authority Five-Day Bridge Watchkeeping course at Whitby Fishing School.

Captain Peter Holtby, Whitby Fishing School course instructor said: “This newly revised Bridge Watchkeeping course is the grass roots of safe navigation, with some major changes to the course content and examination process.

“The course covers a variety of safe watchkeeping activities to include:

* chart work

* electronic navigational aids

* international rules for preventing collisions at sea

* navigational buoyage systems and meteorology.

On the final day of the course, students are expected to achieve an overall pass mark from all three exams of 80%.

The exams include a practical chart work exercise, a multiple choice paper and a short answer paper.

“Previously, the exam pass mark was 70%,” he said, “so this increase doesn’t give students much room for error, making the course even more demanding.”

Whitby Fishing School Director, Andrew Hodgson, said: “This course is intended for fishermen wanting to take a navigational watch and skipper a vessel less than 16.5 metres operating beyond 20 miles of a safe haven.

“Before this course can be taken, participants must provide a testimonial as evidence or have a minimum of 18-months service in the fishing industry.

“The qualification is recognised by the Maritime Coastguard Agency for use on Small Commercial Vessels”.

Captain Holtby added: “It’s incredibly rewarding to see the difference in the students from the day they arrive to their final day.

“To see the skills they have developed is remarkable, not just their practical skills, but also how their confidence has grown in just a few days.

“All students passed with flying colours, which is testament to their hard work and dedication.”

The next available 5 Day Bridge Watchkeeping course is scheduled to take place at Whitby Fishing School on Monday October 23.

If you are interested in enrolling, contact Whitby Fishing School on (01947) 825871 or email: to find out more.