A professional photographer who joined a nautical charity five years ago with no afloat experience is celebrating after gaining an important maritime qualification.

Angela Carrington; who in her day job runs the Bigger Picture Agency is also Head of Unit of the Northumbria Unit of the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS). She originally joined the charity to learn new skills and now her ‘RYA Professional Practices and Responsibilities’ (PPR) qualification gives her industry recognised accreditation for her knowledge of legislation and international maritime procedures.

The PPR course is for skippers and crew using RYA qualifications to allow them to work commercially. As such, it is written mainly from the point of view of UK legislation and concentrates on the individuals place in the international maritime environment as a UK certificate holder. It also explains the need to look beyond UK rules and regulations and take into consideration the requirements of the flag and port state.

“Leading a unit of volunteers; it’s vitally important that I stay abreast of legislation and lead with the knowledge appropriate to the task. Coming from a civilian background with no nautical knowledge before joining the Maritime Volunteer Service, I felt it was only right to add to my practical qualifications gained over the last few years with a professional mariner’s qualification,” said Angela.

Angela’s next qualification to add to her PPR, marine radio and powerboat handling qualifications is a sea survival course.

“The great thing about the MVS is that anyone can learn new skills and play a useful part in their local community. We’ve recently helped at the Blyth Tall Ships Regatta and in November, our annual Afloat Service of Remembrance will take place at Newcastle Quayside,” she added.

MVS Northumbria operates from Berwick to Hartlepool and volunteers are needed from all across the region.

The MVS unit will lead a small procession of vessels up the river on Sunday November 12th before stopping between the iconic Millennium and Tyne Bridges to take part in the two-minute silence at 11am where they will place a special wreath into the river.

Other river users including Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, private boat owners and the North East Maritime Trust are expected to join the parade.

Boat users can contact Volunteer Officer Keith Newman to book their place in the parade on 07814 397951.