125 years of training future seafarers in the port

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This year marks the 125th year of Fleetwood’s famous maritime school.

Fleetwood Nautical College, at Broadwater, is one the longest-established and top nautical educational establishments in the UK.

Over the years, commercial fishermen, pilots, pleasure boat operators, yachtsmen, men and women seeking a safety certificate for a job on offshore gas and oil rigs, and ships linked to the industry, have all come along for courses at the port.

The college was first established in 1892, opening as Fleetwood’s School For Fishermen. It later developed into the nautical college and expanded in 1935.

In 1962, a new building was designed as a radar training station, and in 1964, work began on courses for marine radio officers.

In 1965, all the old departments moved into the new nautical college, which was officially opened in 1967.

The new building included a hall of residence – containing common rooms, offices, 88 study bedrooms and a laundry.

Recreation facilities were completed in 1978.

In 1980, the college acquired an advanced marine radar simulator, complete with automatic radar plotting aids.

The Fleetwood college combined with the Blackpool college, to become Blackpool And The Fylde College, in 1987.

In December 1994, the college opened a new £450,000 state-of-the-art survival training centre.

The new offshore training tank was specially designed to simulate the dramatic and challenging conditions of offshore rescue situations. Among the features was a blackout facility, wave-making machine and helicopter winch platform. Previously, the college had used Marton Mere swimming pool to practice for emergencies such as evacuations at sea – which could prove vital in a life or death situation.

Over the years, the college has hosted conferences such as the annual conference of the Association of Marine Electronics and Radio Colleges.