Nautilus meets members through our college visits and celebrates them with an industry award.

Our recruitment teams regularly visit nautical colleges, academies, universities and schools in the UK and the Netherlands. There are no maritime colleges in Switzerland, but the Swiss branch works closely with other unions at a European level to harmonise and improve the apprenticeships undertaken by Swiss maritime trainees elsewhere on the continent.

Cadet membership offers all the benefits and protections that our full members receive (apart from certificate protection) but at a fraction of the cost. We offer specialist support to students, particularly the trainee officers, and understand the complexity of sponsorship agreements and the sponsoring company's relationship with the education provider.

We also have far-reaching influence and involvement at a local and international level with our representatives sitting on all major decision-making bodies including the International Maritime Organisation and the UK Merchant Navy Training Board. This is why we are often invited by colleges to address their students during class time and tutors actively encourage membership.

College visits in the UK and Ireland

In the UK we represent nearly 90% of the country's trainee officers, and a significant proportion of other trainees in the maritime and inland navigation sectors.

College visits by Nautilus tend to be concentrated in the intake periods of January/February and September/October in the UK. As well as providing an opportunity for trainees to join the Union, each visit includes seminars on our 'college to sea' and bullying and harassment resources, along with a drop-in session afterwards where cadets can meet Nautilus representatives.

The seminars help trainees to learn about the Union and its role in in the maritime world. The visits also give the Nautilus Organising team important insights into the concerns of cadet members, which can help inform our policy and organising strategies.

We visit the following nautical colleges in the UK and Ireland during their induction weeks:

  • City of Glasgow College at least twice a year
  • Fleetwood Nautical Campus (Blackpool and the Fylde College) at least twice a year
  • Liverpool John Moores University at once a year
  • NAFC Marine Centre (University of the Highlands and Islands) at least twice a year
  • National Maritime College of Ireland at least twice a year
  • Plymouth University at once a year
  • South Shields Marine School (South Tyneside College) at least twice a year
  • UK Sailing Academy at least twice a year
  • Warsash Maritime Academy at least twice a year

If you are a staff member looking to arrange a Nautilus visit to your nautical college in the UK or Ireland, contact

Officer cadets and other trainee members can also request individual support from the Nautilus industrial organiser assigned to their nautical college (to find out who this is, log into My Nautilus).

College visits in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, personnel from the Union's Organising and Communications teams give presentations to nautical college students on: life at sea and on the inland waterways; what to expect as onboard trainees; and the support offered by the Union.

The students are also given an overview of collective bargaining structures in the Netherlands, take part in a role plays on negotiating, and receive useful tips on applying for jobs and improving their interview techniques.

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