AVAILABLE THROUGH: Falmouth Marine School | LEARNING AREAS: Marine Engineering & Boatbuilding COURSES

HNC Operational Yacht Science

For 2020 start

Falmouth Marine School Falmouth LEVEL: 4 Marine Engineering & Boatbuilding

This programme is designed for those who aspire to be the future crew, bosuns officers and captains of the superyacht sector. It is designed to run alongside relevant Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) awards, to give deeper knowledge and understanding of the topics, and to give you more choice and an edge for your future career choices. It is run in partnership with UKSA in Cowes, Isle of Wight, as part of their Professional Yacht Cadetship.

The cadetship requires a minimum of three years commitment to training, with phases of study on the Isle of Wight as well as periods of working onboard superyachts around the world. You will be required to make a Professional Yacht Cadetship application to UKSA, followed by a two day selection in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

On successful completion of the one year HNC, you will gain direct entry onto the second year of the programme, allowing you to gain an FdSc Operational Yacht Science qualification.

This programme does not follow the traditional academic year as it is designed around the superyacht season. It is studied in intensive blocks of time at UKSA and supported through Moodle (our virtual learning platform). There are additional costs for this programme to cover the cost of the Cadetship. You may be able to get help with this, contact us for more information. Time spent working on board yachts in between phases of study at UKSA are fully paid periods of employment. Earning on average €2,000 a month (Deckhand).

You will be assessed using a range of methods. Some are practical, although the majority of assessment consists of reports and critical analysis of the yachting environment. The yachtmaster elements of the cadetship are practical assessments.


Possible Progression (subject to availability and successful completion of the FdSc) 

– BSc (Hons) Navigation & Maritime Science final year at University of Plymouth


Possible Careers 

Enter the superyacht industry after phase 1 of study at UKSA in Cowes as a Deckhand. Through industry experience and continued phases of certification and training at UKSA progress to:

– Lead Deckhand

– Bosun

– Officer

Captain After a life at sea/shoreside roles:

– Superyacht brokerage

– Yacht management

– Yacht build project management

– Superyacht recruitment

– Superyacht insurance


Key Facts

  • UCAS Code: H3K1
  • Institution codes: CORN C78
  • Awarded by: University of Plymouth
  • Fees: Fees Explained
Entry Requirements

48 UCAS points from AS and A-Levels (at least 32 points must be at A2-level) or relevant level 3 qualification, ie BTEC National Diploma / BTEC Extended Diploma - PPP Grades required (specific unit grades may be requested). Access to HE Diplomas in a relevant subject - 45 credits at level 3 (specific unit grades may be requested). Plus GCSEs at grade C/grade 4 or above in English Language, Science and Mathematics: alternatives at Level 2 may be considered. Mature applicants with relevant experience but without the stated qualifications will be considered individually and are encouraged to apply.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Silver Award

The Cornwall College Group delivers high quality teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It consistently exceeds rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education.

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Course Documents

HNC Operational Yacht Science Handbook 2019-20
HNC & FdSc Operational Yacht Science Module Appendix Handbook (2019-20)


Indicative Modules Year 1 (HNC)

  • Yacht Operations
  • Yacht Theory & Practice
  • Navigation & Meteorology
  • Marine Engineering
  • Personal & Employability Skills Development

Optional Modules:

  • Reflective Practice
  • Sail Strategy

Indicative Modules Year 2 (FdSc)

  • Leadership & Management at Sea
  • Ocean Passage Planning & Weather Systems
  • Small Ships Business
  • Yacht Construction & Design
  • Research Project

*Modules are subject to change and availability


HNC Operational Yacht Science

Start Date





1 year full-time

*Courses listed on this website are indicative of the subject, nature and level of study. The college reserves the right to alter specific qualifications titles, awarding bodies and levels of qualification, which can change in year. Any cost may also vary, based on personal funding eligibility. The Cornwall College Group reserves the right to withdraw any course listed at any time.

Careers advice available

If you are considering an undergraduate programme with us, you may wish to access our free Careers and Employability advice service. This gives you the opportunity to talk with an advisor about career options before, during and after your study with us. To make an appointment, please e-mail: H.E.Advice@cornwall.ac.uk

If you come into the International category (non EU*) and Channel Island (inc. Isle of Man) the tuition fee may vary – click here for full fee information