Blog: Thousands engaged with the world of maritime during Maritime UK Week

MUK Week

Thousands of young people and members of the public learned first-hand about the world of maritime this month.

Throughout the course of Maritime UK Week, held between 10 – 16 October, maritime businesses opened their doors to their local communities, and offered the opportunity for schoolchildren and members of the public to explore facilities.

Activities were held the length and breadth of the UK, from Cornwall to Aberdeen.

Maritime UK Week exists to shine a spotlight on a sector that often feels like one of the country’s best kept secrets. Over the course of the week, there were over forty events, aimed at industry, school children, the general public and politicians.

Maritime UK Week in numbers

  • 4 nations
  • 40+ events
  • 186 pieces of coverage in regional and national news
  • 250 industry leaders gathered at the Maritime UK Week Reception
  • 2500+ schoolchildren
  • 2000+ members of the public
  • 1.78 billion - combined media audience reach 

As well as engaging the public and next generation with maritime, the week featured a series of events for maritime professionals, designed to help catalyse further progress towards the sector’s Maritime 2050 ambitions.


The week kicked off with a media round including appearances on Sky News and Bloomberg Radio – allowing Maritime UK to spread the word about the maritime sector and its priorities. This coincided with the launch of its Programme for Government, setting out key policy and investment recommendations for government.

Monday saw the Maritime Skills Commission launch its third annual report, followed by a special reception at Trinity House sponsored by Frazer-Nash Consultancy. Maritime UK Week sponsors, Hill Dickinson LLP, also held the Mental Health in Maritime Network meeting to mark World Mental Health Day.  In Plymouth, the first open day of the week kicked off at Cattewater, which saw local people join the Harbour Master for a boat trip in and around the harbour. That evening representatives from across the Plymouth maritime industry gathered at City College Plymouth to celebrate the region’s maritime economy.


On Tuesday, the European Policy Solutions and the North Sea Hydrogen Ports and Maritime Community held a one-day conference exploring the role of hydrogen in the decarbonisation of the ports and maritime industries. A second conference, hosted by the Workboat Association, focused on Maritime Safety in the Aquaculture Industry. The first day of the Teesport Explores programme commenced, with 250 schoolchildren enjoying tours around the port. The Port of Milford Haven hosted groups of year 6 pupils from Pembroke Dock Community School and Gelliswick Church in Wales Primary School, showcasing different maritime and port careers to inspire future generations. In Penzance, The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group held their first-ever open day aboard the Scillonian III. That evening, Maritime UK welcomed over 250 industry leaders aboard the Cutty Sark in Greenwich for the Maritime UK Week VIP Reception. During her speech, Sarah Kenny OBE, Chair Maritime UK and CEO of BMT, announced the launch of the 2023 Maritime UK Awards which are to be held in Hull on 9 March 2023. Tickets are on sale now and submissions open shortly!


Innovation was the word of the day on Wednesday as Gold Sponsors for the week, Connected Places Catapult, held an ‘Innovation in Freeports’ session at the offices of Maritime UK Week sponsors, Pinsent Masons. The event expertly brought together leaders from across freeports and government to focus on the innovation component of each freeport programme. The event saw the launch of a new Freeport Innovation Network delivered jointly by CPC, KTN and Maritime UK. At the Port of Tyne, local students attended the Maritime Innovation Hub to learn what it takes to create a smart port. At the same time, Women in Maritime, Transport, Rail and Logistics came together at the offices of Maritime UK Week sponsors, Norton Rose Fulbright, to discuss issues such as leadership, mental health and recruitment. The Maritime Skills Academy training centre at Viking Maritime Group opened its doors to three local primary schools, welcoming over 200 pupils. Together they learnt how to don a lifejacket, about cold-water swimming and rescue line procedures. In Greenwich, the Cutty Sark, opened its doors to 110 local schoolchildren, who learned about maritime of the past and the opportunities available today in one of Britain’s biggest sectors. ABP hosted open days for graduates in Cardiff and Ipswich, to learn about the company’s graduate scheme in port management.


The 2022 cohort of Maritime Masters students assembled at Clarkson’s London office in St Katharine’s dock. The students took turns presenting their master research topics, followed by a question-and-answer session with industry figures. Aidan Carroll from the University of Plymouth was crowned the winner for his research on ‘A comprehensive review of the issues surrounding the poor retention of British Seafarers'. In Northern Ireland, Harland & Wolff hosted the Pride in Maritime Network. In the Solent, Portsmouth International Port opened its gates to 200 local school children, showing them around the port machinery and providing access to a cruise ship and hovercraft! Continuing the skills theme, newspapers across the country reported on Maritime UK’s recommendation to grow the number maritime qualifications to support the sector’s talent needs.


On Friday, all eyes were on the Solent. The Diversity in Maritime Summit took place at MDL Marinas, bringing leaders and network Chairs together to discuss 'how do we ensure maritime is belonging for a diverse talent pool now and into the future?’. Later that evening, Maritime UK Solent held its inaugural awards evening. Maritime UK’s Chair wrote a joint op-ed with the Transport Secretary for City AM to mark Maritime UK Week.


As Maritime UK Week continued into the weekend, the Port of Aberdeen opened its doors to the public, showing progress on its £400 million port expansion project. Portsmouth International Port welcomed over 900 members of the public into the port, including the Secretary of State for Transport, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who spoke to employees about the future of the maritime sector. Wessex Archaeology held a series of online webinars throughout the week ranging from Marine Archaeology, Cannonballs to Mammoth teeth exploring how artefacts are found on the seabed, what they do with them and what it’s like to dive on a wreck.

Maritime UK is grateful for its Gold Sponsor, Connected Places Catapult and Bronze Sponsors UK Ports Directory, PD Ports, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, Pinsent Masons, Hill Dickinson, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Norton Rose Fulbright, Royal Museums Greenwich and Lloyd’s Register, for enabling such a fantastic week of engagement within industry and with the public.