In Conversation with Course Author Captain Hugh McQuaid

Feb 13, 2019

Despite the sad passing of Captain McQuaid, his wisdom and legacy continues within our courses. And, we hope, many can continue to learn from his vast, insightful and in-depth knowledge of the industry.


When it comes to enhancing your maritime career development, you can’t beat practical insider knowledge and years of experience. This is why our courses are designed and written by experts who have all done their time in the industry and who know the ins and outs of it – enabling them to offer current and practical advice to students.

We spoke to one of our long-standing Course Authors, Captain Hugh McQuaid, about his experiences in the maritime industry and how they have helped shape the courses he writes for MTA.

Who is Captain Hugh McQuaid?

A retired Master Mariner and member of both the Royal Institute of Navigation and the Chartered Quality Institute, Captain Hugh McQuaid has worked for a number of marine consultancy companies throughout his career – as well as shipping companies, legal partnerships and the UN.

With sixteen years of multi-national command experience in oil tankers from 25,000 DWT to VLCCs under his belt, he has conducted a large amount of work involving risk management reviews of superyachts over the years – from the J Class sailing yacht ‘Shamrock 5’ to some of the present mega yachts, such as ‘Golden Odyssey’.

Following his retirement as a Master Mariner due to medical grounds in 1996, Captain McQuaid set up his own business which he still operates albeit part-time. He is now also a Lloyds registered External Lead Assessor for both ISO 9002 and ISM Code and a registered OCIM Inspector. And for the last seven years, he has been working as a technical Course Author for the Maritime Training Academy, as well as his other areas of work.

How did you get to where you are now?

On leaving the multi-national oil company I worked at for 33 years – 16 years of which I worked as a Master in tankers from 20k to 258k VLCC Class – they were pleased to put me through the Lloyds ISO9002 and ISM Code courses and assisted me through the OCIMF Inspectors certification.

In the years since then I have been involved with Management and Safety, as well as Operational Inspections and Audits, across a whole range of vessels; from cruise ships and oceanographic survey ships to Ro-Ro ferries and of course oil tankers.

What are your top 5 tips to achieve your dream role in the industry?

1. Set a goal and work towards it in the long term (it will not happen tomorrow).
2. Accept any setback as a challenge, not an obstruction going forward.
3. Always be positive – even in the face of a little adversity.
4. Remember, this is your career progression, but people are there to help.
5. Retain a sense of humour at all times; it can be tough out there.

Which courses/modules have you written?

Initially, I was asked to contribute to a module under the Technical Ship Management
course and it has just grown from there. I have now written some thirteen different modules in nine different Diploma Courses.

I particularly enjoyed the Marine Pilotage Course, in which I wrote four of the modules. This came about with ten years’ experience as an Exempted Pilot by examination at four UK ports, including Southampton and Milford Haven, for 20k vessels.

What do you enjoy most about being a Course Author?

I feel a satisfaction that the accumulated knowledge and experience I have gained over many years can, in some way, be passed on and hopefully be a useful tool for others following on.

Why should people study with the MTA?

In this day of almost instant communications, distance learning is ideal for those already in the marine industry and wishing to enhance their knowledge – or those wishing perhaps to enter the marine industry. Anyone undertaking any Diploma Course at the Maritime Training Academy will gain some knowledge prior to a change of emphasis, which will assist in improving their CV for future employment.

Why is the fact that the Course Authors are all active industry experts so important?

The Maritime Training Academy sets a high standard that has proved itself over the years. In some respect, this is down to the selection of Authors asked to submit individual modules on a range of maritime subjects. The fact all of them are long-term industry professionals with many years of accumulated knowledge – who are still involved in the day to day operations – means they are able to pass on this knowledge to other generations of mariners and those associated with the maritime industry.

To find out more about our courses, please click here or contact us today.