Lawhill Maritime Centre

The aim of the maritime studies programme is to attract young learners to the shipping industry, stimulate maritime awareness among young people and provide the industry with motivated new entrants equipped with a range of maritime-related knowledge and skills.

Lawhill’s maritime studies programme is a rather ‘unique’ programme because it is one of very few examples of an industry/company playing a role, at secondary school level, in providing industry-focused education which improves the school leaver’s chances of finding employment.


Third party comments

Simon’s Town’s maritime studies programme is not only unique in South Africa or Africa but is also possibly the only facility of its kind in the world. It’s a model for the successful partnerships that can be established in education.” – Premier of the Western Cape in 2010, Helen Zille, speaking at the opening of the new Lawhill Centre in March 2010.

“Many schools do a good job of educating the youth, but few schools prepare young learners for a career. A school such as the Simons Town High Maritime Studies programme is exactly what South Africa needs considering the country’s high levels of unemployment.” – Sean Day, South-African born chairman of the Teekay Corporation, speaking at the opening of the new Lawhill Centre in March 2010.

“This facility would one day provide a solid job, decent pay and a bright future for talented young people from less advantaged backgrounds. The Lawhill Maritime Centre gives children from these backgrounds a safe, comfortable place to study towards a career in an industry that needs them. There is no better way to help young people than to give them an education.” – Ms Susan Karlshoej, Chairlady of the TK Foundation and daughter of the founder of the Teekay Corporation, speaking at the opening of the new Lawhill Centre in March 2010.


The Lawhill Maritime Centre at Simon’s Town School is currently the only school in South Africa offering two streams of maritime study that help prepare young people for careers within the maritime industry. Learners who begin the course with little background – some not even having seen the sea or a ship at close quarters – emerge with a range of knowledge and skills that makes them immediately employable in the shipping industry. The two study streams are Maritime Economics and Nautical Science.


More about Lawhill’s two study streams

Maritime Economics includes maritime geography, ship operations, port studies, maritime trade patterns, the bunker trade, ships’ agency procedures, ship-broking, cargo clearing, and maritime ecology; and Nautical Science prepares students for sea-going careers and covers seamanship, coastal and astro-navigation, ship construction, cargo stowage, ship stability, maritime meteorology and various other aspects of marine science.


Upon finishing the maritime studies course at Lawhill Maritime Centre and a further year specialising in navigation or marine engineering, young South Africans can embark on a sea-going career as cadets or ratings on merchant vessels (containerships, tankers, bulk carriers or tugs) or follow a career ashore in various fields such as liner operations, port operations, ship’s agents, shipbrokers, the clearing and forwarding sector and bunkering, amongst others.


The Lawhill maritime studies programme is aimed at Grade 10 to 12 learners (ages 15 to 17/18 years). Learners come from all over South Africa, drawn from the Western & Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng. Students at the Lawhill Maritime Centre come from all walks of life but having the educational facility and an ongoing generous bursary type sponsorship made possible by your support, means a levelling out of opportunities for all, and young people from the less privileged communities are no longer denied the opportunity of considering the maritime industry as a career path.

The Maritime Studies Department currently provides instruction for around 60 day students and 51 boarders. The Maritime Studies Programme has been recognised internationally – for example, it won the Lloyds List ‘Salute to Youth and Training’ Award in 1999. In April 2012 it was awarded the international ‘Seatrade Investment in People Award’.


Comments from students.

Zusiphe Mzotho, a current Grade 10 learner and General Botha/Safmarine bursary holder, says “I grew up in a township near Durban and never knew anything about this industry; I didn’t even know a maritime industry existed in South Africa. Lawhill Maritime Centre has helped to open the doors to a future I could never have dreamt of and the course at Lawhill has taught me discipline, punctuality and responsibility – and that accomplishment is a hard journey and not a destination.” Speaking at the 2011 awards ceremony.