University at South Devon College

FdSc - Yacht Operations

This is a unique, industry-driven Foundation Degree designed to prepare you for employment within the marine sector. The course combines recognised practical qualifications with academic study, and equips you with a range of skills and relevant experience to excel in your chosen field.

This course is delivered at Noss Marine Academy, our marine centre of excellence based in Kingswear on the River Dart. These facilities provide a fantastic learning environment, making the most of the local environment, where students have the opportunity to apply the skills and theory they learn on the water.

The Noss Marine Academy has access to a comprehensive range of craft, which consists of over 20 boats. This includes powerboats, sailing dinghies and 2 38 foot yachts, the Aspiration (Sigma 38) and Endeavour (Beneteau 38).


My future career and employability

Upon successful completion of this Foundation Degree you may progress to the final year of the BSc (Hons) Coaching degree at South Devon College, or the BSc (Hons) Navigation and Maritime Science degree at Plymouth University.

Please note that there is a deadline for progression applications and places may be subject to availability.

Alternatively, you could immediately enter employment using the skills you have developed, working in yacht charter companies, coastal adventure and guiding, yacht racing, national centres (such as Plas Menai), sailing schools or skippering yachts in the UK and overseas.

Your potential careers include:

  • Skipper
  • Coastal adventure guide
  • Centre manager
  • Sailing instructor

What will I learn?

Year One Modules

  • Navigation
  • Sailing and power boating
  • The yacht industry
  • Nautical safety for offshore sailing
  • Coaching and leadership
  • Developing research and practice

Year Two Modules

  • Advanced navigation
  • Yachting
  • Boat maintenance and repairs
  • Offshore expedition
  • Performance and racing
  • Research and statistics

Your Studies

You will be assessed through a variety of methods, including practical assessment, presentations and coursework. There is a strong practical focus on this course, with the majority of study delivered at the Noss Marine Academy. This is designed so that you can develop vocational experience in a real setting, which you will be able to transfer into employment when you graduate.

You will also learn through lectures and seminars, which will encourage group communication, critical reflection, evaluation and presentation. You will also be required to study independently and undertake your own research. This will help develop your theoretical understanding, making you a confident practitioner who can adapt to the challenges that you may face during your career.

During your studies you will also have the opportunity gain Royal Yachting Association (RYA)/Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) qualifications, at a subsidised cost (RYA administration and exam fees are not included). These include: Yachtmaster (offshore); Yachtmaster (coastal); National Powerboat Level 2 Certificate; Diesel Engine Maintenance Certificate; Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Theory; Seak Survival; Professional Practice and Responsibilities; VHF/DSC Operators Licence; and dinghy sailing qualifications.


Entry requirements

Foundation Degrees

The College considers a variety of qualifications and relevant experience, and assess every application on its own merit. This means that even if you do not meet the specified requirements, you may still be able to study with us. You should be able to demonstrate an appropriate level of numeracy and literacy, and your overall ability to complete the course is a deciding factor.

To apply for this on this course, you will require a minimum of 48-60 UCAS points, from at least one of the following: A Levels, BTEC Nationals, Access to Higher Education Diploma. In addition you will also require GCSE English & Math at grade C or an equivalent qualification. Information on the UCAS tariff is available via the UCAS website.

BA/BSc (Top-up)

The College considers a variety of qualifications and relevant experience, and assess every application on its own merit. This means that even if you do not meet the specified requirements, you may still be able to study with us.

To progress to a top-up programme you will be required to hold 240 credits from a Foundation Degree or Higher National Diploma in a relevant subject area.


Why study at South Devon College?

Our degrees have been designed to help you not just progress into employment, but to develop the skills you need to excel in your chosen career.

Our students' opinions and feedback defines everything that we do. This is why our university provision focuses on 5 key principles, which our students have identified as most important to them.

There are countless reasons to study with us, but we think that these are what make us a unique Higher Education institution and the best place for you to study towards your degree.

  1. Locality
  2. Support
  3. Accessibility
  4. Community
  5. Excellence

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What do people say about our courses?


Martin Stanfield

I had always wanted to work in professional sailing, but I had no idea how to achieve that. Studying at South Devon College has allowed me to break into this industry, and I'm really glad I made the decision to study there. Before South Devon College I didn't have a career, but now I get to sail full-time thanks to the skills I developed there.

Since completing my studies, I immediately found work for a local company, working on a boat that I'd initially had a work placement on whilst at the College. I've since progressed to the position of First Mate on the boat.

I had a lot of great experiences at the College, but the most memorable was gaining my Yachtmaster Offshore, which was a big achievement. I plan to become a skipper of a sail training vessel, as well as competing on the French Singlehanded Circuit.


Funding and fees

Studying for a university degree doesn't have to be a daunting financial decision. Our degrees are affordable but still offer first-class facilities and teaching, enabling you to gain a prestigious degree and save money at the same time.

We offer various bursary packages, as well as the full package of loan and grant funding available from Student Finance England, so you can be comfortable with your decision to study with us.

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