Training for New Fishermen

New to fishing? These are the basic safety courses you need to get started.

Are you thinking of becoming a fisherman? Fishing can be a hazardous occupation. You need to understand how to follow safe working practices on board and how to behave in an emergency, so there are some courses that you must take right at the start of your career.

Which Courses Do I Have To Do?

Before you are legally allowed to start working on a boat, you must complete a one-day Sea Survival and Personal Survival Techniques course.

Once you have completed that, you can start fishing right away.

Afterwards, you have three months to complete the other mandatory courses:

These courses each last one day and together they make up the Seafish and MCA STCW95 Approved Basic Safety Training.

When you have completed  your four mandatory courses, you can apply for your New Entrant Fisherman Photo ID Card from Seafish. 

Six months after starting fishing, you then go on and complete your Safety Awareness and Accident Prevention training. This is another one day course and is required within 24 months of starting fishing.

You will also need the following

  • ENG1 or ML5 medical certificate
  • Fisherman’s Work Agreement
  • Register for tax as a Share fisherman at
  • Be at least 16 years of age (in a training scheme until 18)

How Do I Pay For My Courses?

Each course costs between £120 and £165 but if you book the four basic qualifications together with us, we discount that to £525 in total.

If you have found a berth on a vessel that is member of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation (CFPO), they might fund your courses. Ask your skipper.

If you are in employment or self-employed and living in Cornwall, Cornwall Marine Network might be able to cover part of your training costs. Call Bryan Fogery on 01326 211382 or email

If unemployed, ask your case worker at the job centre or contact Lizard Pathways.

Is There Any Other Training For New Fishermen?

Alongside the one-day safety training courses, we also offer a 15-Day Introduction to Commercial Fishing Course for new entrants to the Fishing Industry.

This combines the four basic courses with other training that will help you as a new fisherman. We hope to offer this course in July 2023 and grants will be made be available to fund the course. 

How Do I Gain Experience as a Fisherman?

To gain experience, your best course of action is to speak to the skippers on the quay and try to find one who will employ you. Or call local fishing companies to ask if they will accept new entrants. You could also call Andy Wheeler at the CFPO on 01736 351050. Andy knows many skippers and might be aware of available berths.

You will also see fishing jobs advertised online on the Find a Fishing Boat website. You could also look for Facebook groups such as UK Commercial Fishing crew or UK Trawlermen crew available.

For more information about career paths and further training, visit the Seafish website.

What About Basic Courses for Experienced Fishermen?

If you have been working as a fisherman for two years or more, you are considered an Experienced Fisherman. You will still need to complete the basic safety courses listed above and you must also complete the Safety Awareness and Accident Prevention Course. You would also need to do this course if you have completed your basic safety training abroad and come to work on a UK commercial fishing vessel.

Upon completion of this course, experienced fishermen are recommended to apply to Seafish for an Experienced Fisherman photo identification card verifying their compliance with this requirement.

Download the Experienced Fisherman Photo ID Card Application form here.

Funding is available for experienced fishermen who have completed their 4 basic training courses and Safety Awareness course and wish to take refresher basic safety training or progress their career to achieve their Skippers Ticket.

How Do I Book a Place or Find Out More?

To apply for your place on any of these courses or find out more, call 01736 364324 or email

Courses for New Fishermen

Our Trainers

Seafood Cornwall Training is committed to providing everyone who learns with us with the highest standards of training.

All our trainers have plenty of experience in the areas they are teaching and have kept their expertise up to date. Whether that is because they have been in the fishing industry for many years as a Skipper, or are working regularly as a Paramedic or Firefighter, they will make sure your course is enjoyable, practical and gives you the confidence you need to progress your career as a fisherman.

Upcoming Courses

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