Mr Sean Marshall

Mr Sean Marshall

Technicial Specialist (Skipper)

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



My principal role is to be responsible as skipper for for the safe operation of University vessels when they are operating at sea. This includes the safe navigation of the vessel, ensuring that all activities undertaken aboard the vessel are carried out in accordance with University protocols, industry legislation and being responsible for the safety of all persons aboard the vessel. 

Although I regularly work on all vessels within the University fleet, historically the majority of my time afloat has been spent skippering our Dive Support Vessels.  As skipper of the DSV's I have undertaken a wide range of boat operations including:

  • HSE Professional SCUBA diving training.
  • Commercial diving contracts/operations.
  • Marine Biology flora and fauna surveying and collection.
  • Water sample collection.
  • Safety support of external corporate events.
  • Media filming and documentary making.
  • Current and tidal flow studies.
  • Navigational training for undergraduates and course delegates.

    Due to the very varied and unpredictable demands of the marine environment I also often have to provide safe, timely and cost-efficient solutions to problems that occur with little or no notice. This makes my role enjoyable, interesting and professionally challenging. Other duties I undertake include:


  • Liaising with staff and students in the preparation of research and teaching activities.
  • Advising staff and students on marine technical matters relating to operations afloat.
  • Assisting staff and students in the setting up and safe operation of teaching/research equipment.
  • To undertake routine vessel maintenance and oversee work undertaken by external contractors.
  • The production and implication of vessel refit specifications.
  • Ensuring that fleet vessels are at all times in compliance with legislative requirements.
  • Producing teaching schemes, lesson plans, course notes and other resources for specialist marine short courses.
  • Supervising and achieving programme accreditation by external awarding bodies.
  • Delivering specialist professional short courses to undergraduates.
  • The correlation of financial information relating to vessel expenditure and running courses.
  • Holding budgetary responsibilty for individual vessel running and maintenance costs.



    I have worked within the marine industry for the past 30 years in several different capacities both ashore and at sea. In 1989 I began my career as a Merchant Navy Deck Officer Cadet and served with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. I successfully qualified as a Deck Officer in 1993.

    I remained at sea in this role for a further five years and gained valuable industry experience serving on various ship types including Tankers, General Cargo, Ro-Ro and Class 1 Passenger ships.
    My duties included that of Officer of the Watch, Duty Officer in Port, supervision of cargo loading/discharging, Replenishment at Sea, helicopter flying operations, mooring/anchoring supervision, ship security and being responsible for all shipboard fire-fighting and life-saving equipment.

    With the advent of a family I accepted employment ashore at the Plymouth College of Further Education (nowadays City College) as an Associate Lecturer. After a year I gained my first teaching qualification and was promoted to full time Lecturer. 

    Subsequently, I was promoted to Advanced Teaching Practitioner after gaining my PGCE teaching qualification at Plymouth University and finally progressed to an acting management role, that of Deputy Head of Department (Marine).  

    The programmes I was responsible for teaching were marine based and delivered to varied cohorts including, marine professionals, deck officers, school-leavers, apprentices, foreign students and under-graduates. The subjects I have taught include, ship stability & construction, ship-building technology, naval architecture, meteorology, maritime business & law, ship dynamic positioning, radar and navigation, efficient deck hand, professional safety & social responsibility, sea survival and global maritime distress and safety. These subjects were delivered at short-course, BTEC National Diploma, BTEC Higher National Diploma or degree level.

    I was also pastorally and academically responsible for the running of a BTEC National Diploma course delivered to sixty students from the United Arab Emirates. This contract produced financial income of approximately one million pounds per annum.

    I was subject to an Ofsted inspection whilst working at the college and was awarded the grade of 'Outstanding' for my observed teaching sessions which lead to me providing wide ranging peer evaluation and support to colleagues.

    I also have extensive experience within the field of maritime Search and Rescue. I joined the Plymouth Lifeboat Crew in 1992 and am now second in command at the Plymouth Station holding the position of Second Coxswain. Plymouth is one of the busiest stations in the UK and I have taken part in approximately 1000 Search & Rescue operations. The skills I have acquired in this role perfectly compliment my job at the University.

    My Marine Qualifications include:

    • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore.
    • RYA Advanced Powerboat.
    • RYA Powerboat Instructor.
    • RYA Ocean Theory.
    • RYA Short Range.
    • MCA Officer of the Watch unlimited - Chief Mate - 5000 GRT.
    • Dynamic Positioning.
    • DTp Certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft.
    • MCA Efficient Deck Hand.
    • DTp Signals.
    • BTEC ND Nautical Science.
    • BTEC HND Nautical Science.
    • MCA Bridge Watchkeeping.
    • MCA Fire Fighting & Fire-Prevention (STCW95).
    • MCA Sea Survival & Personal Survival Techniques (STCW95).
    • Casualty Care for Lifeboat Crews.
    • Oxygen Administration.
    • Automated External Defibrillation.
    • Lifeboat Operations & Search and Rescue Planning.

    My Teaching qualifications are:

    • City & Guilds 7306 Further & Adult Education and Teaching Certificate.
    • City & Guilds 7307 Further & Adult Education and Teaching Certificate.
    • Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Plymouth University).



    Teaching interests

    Please see above.

    Staff serving as external examiners

    I have served as the Regional Examination Coordinator for the Association of Marine Radio and Electrical Colleges (AMERC). 

    Please see my biography for further details relating to teaching.