A new unit of the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS) formed in Southampton in 2023 has been making positive waves with their local nautical community.  

Unit members have been going out on regular harbour patrols on the River Itchen and Southampton Water at weekends to train and put their maritime skills into action.

A new relationship with Warsash Maritime School, part of Solent University  has seen several maritime officer cadets joining the MVS on the water to gain practical experience afloat. Each officer cadet can also gain the internationally recognised RYA Powerboat Level 2 qualification.

Steve Collins, Head of Unit of MVS Southampton said: “We have built a close relationship with the Warsash Maritime School and invited officer cadets to volunteer with us at the weekend. This gives them the opportunity to develop their small boat handling skills, learn how to maintain engines and gain experience in harbour patrolling. I hope that this will enhance their student experience and improve their employability for the future”. 

David Hughes, MVS national chairman, added: “The former MVS Chief Volunteer Officer, Captain Nick Spencer and I both trained as seafarers at Warsash School of Navigation (as it was called then). We both experienced pre-sea training, which included an emphasis on small boat handling experience. The MVS believes that it is vital that officer cadets experience port operations up close before they step onto the deck of a container ship or another type of vessel as a third officer. We are delighted that Southampton MVS is able to provide this experience.”

The new unit has also been given a grant of £3,000 from Trinity House Maritime Charity to provide training, including RYA qualifications, and membership of the MVS for Warsash Maritime School officer cadets.

Steve Collins said: “This grant from Trinity House Maritime Charity has been put to good use by helping our unit get the necessary training and qualifications to allow us to carry out our work safely on the water. We are very grateful for their help and support.”

Lars Lippuner, Director of Warsash Maritime School, added: “The additional training opportunities that maritime organisations such as MVS offer our officer cadets are invaluable and volunteering is important in general for personal development. The real-world opportunities provided by MVS enable them to put their training into practice, add to their skill set and increase their employability. We are fortunate to have an MVS branch here in Southampton and we look forward to continuing to work with Steve Collins and the MVS team.”

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