The Maritime Skills Academy – A Behind The Scenes Taster On Mandatory Crew Training Courses

As passengers, when we cruise, one of the first things we must observe is the muster drill. We watch the video and sign-in at our respective muster stations, and then we never think about it again. It’s in place for a reason, but let’s face it, the chances of there ever being an emergency at sea which would warrant us gathering in a real-time situation are very slim. Nevertheless, there are plans and procedures in place, just in case, and we rarely give thought to what our amazing crew members must undertake for us to all sail safely.

Because of this, I recently went behind the scenes at the Maritime Skills Academy (part of the Viking Maritime Group) in Dover, to see what training is involved and to share it with you. So, the next time you order your drink at the bar or sit down to your evening meal, you might remember that your entire ships company really are super-human – they’re not just serving drinks, cleaning your cabin, or entertaining you. They’re also trained to save your life.

We’re all guilty of forgetting the other side of being a crew member and what training and courses every one of them must pass before they can even step onboard. It takes dedication and constant training. During my visit to the Maritime Skills Academy there were crew from Virgin Voyages and DFDS at the centre, undertaking refresher courses. I didn’t get hands-on, this time, but I intend to go back and do the STCW course myself. This is the very basic course that everyone hoping for a career at sea must pass before they can do anything else. It includes security awareness, personal survival techniques, fire prevention and fire-fighting, first-aid and basic safety training.

I’m not crew, so why am I going to do this, I hear you ask? Well, why not? I’m always game to learn more and appreciate what others must do in order to be where they want to be in life and in their career.

The Maritime Skills Academy is a family-owned and operated company, helping the industry set new standards by delivering a higher level of Deck and Engine Simulation, Marine, Fire and Safety Training.

MSA Dover features:

  • Custom purpose-built pool
  • Realistic simulation environment
  • Adaptable to multiple scenarios

They support the practical application of the academy courses, simulating marine survival scenarios including escape shoots, life rafts, a rescue RIB and a wind-farm turbine ladder.

MSA Dover also has a world-class Marine Fire Safety and Training Centre with:

  • Fully equipped fire training ground
  • Adaptable real-world situations
  • Extensive marine environment replication

This enables delegates to safely tackle simulated and highly realistic deck and shore-side fire scenarios, supporting the HSE and Commercial Firefighting training.


A Unique Lifeboat Centre with direct access to the English Channel

  • Fully Enclosed Lifeboat & Fast Rescue Boats
  • Experience on the world’s busiest seaway
  • Maritime & Coastguard Agency accredited

The MSA Dover is perfectly placed to meet the worldwide demand for higher standards of maritime safety.

There’s also the Maritime Skills Academy in Portsmouth, somewhere I’m also hoping to visit in the near future so I can see first-hand how their ship simulator works. Don’t worry, I won’t be sailing your cruise ship anytime soon!

This centre is Fully equipped to deliver ground-breaking simulator and classroom-based Bridge and Engine Resource Management courses, including 270 Main Bridge, Emergency Safety Centre, 360 Tug Sim, Engine Control room, Main Switch Board, High Voltage and Virtual Machinery Spaces.

MSA Portsmouth is the world’s only commercial training centre to have a fully integrated Wärtsilä Nacos Platinum system within the full mission bridge simulator and associated course provision. The Portsmouth centre is a purpose-built, state of the art centre. The simulation locations have been created in partnership with global maritime simulation leaders, Wärtsilä.

Aside from crew training, the company collective also does cadetships run by Chiltern Maritime and crew recruitment, placement and management through Viking Crew, as well as meeting all your training needs, they can also find you the perfect job at sea – whether it be on commercial shipping lines or aboard private yachts.

I’ll be bringing you more on this in the coming weeks, so if a career at sea is something you’d like to pursue, regardless of where in the world you are located, check back and I’ll give you more info on how you can start those first steps.

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