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About Us

Our mission is to deliver practical skipper training courses...

to help you take your maritime career to the next level

Through years of teaching for different maritime training providers, we identified a need for practical, hands-on training options.

We listened to the frustrations of students and developed courses that focus on the development of practical skills without over-complicating the process.

The best way for many of us to learn is by doing. We help our students solidify their understanding of the theory by letting them put it straight into practice out at sea on our course.

In a nutshell, our SRL course is unique in that…

  • It doesn’t require months of self-directed online learning
  • Your tutor will sign off your Training Record Book in class
  • It includes practical sessions on the water
  • You can complete your Training and Record book on our block course in 4 – 5 weeks

That way, you can gain your skipper qualification much faster and with more support than in other SRL courses.

Skipper Training NZ (Ministry of Education number 6035) is a private training establishment that has been granted registration by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under Part 4, subpart 5 of the Education and Training Act 2020.

Meet Our Team

Our team of tutors are all still serving on the water and have a real-life understanding of the issues facing seafarers today


Milo Coldren

Director & Tutor

Milo began working commercially off Canada’s west coast. He has taught internationally and settled in New Zealand in 2002. Within his career he has taught for various other institutes but has now developed his own Maritime School. Milo is the founder of STNZ and is passionate about bringing practical and effective learning pathways into the industry for future mariners.

Milo's qualifications include >
  • ASA Instructor
  • Master NC (USCG)
  • Skipper Coastal / Offshore (NZ)
  • Inshore Launch Master (NZ)
  • Marine Engineer Class 6 (NZ)
  • Master <24m NC (Australia)
  • STCW Advanced Fire Fighting
  • STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft
  • Certificate in Tertiary Teaching (Level 6, NZ)
  • Coastguard Boating Education Instructor and Examiner
  • Maritime Radio instructor
  • RYA Powerboat Instructor
  • Sea Survival Instructor
  • Amateur Radio operator (ham)

Captain Valentino Lobo

Master Mariner / Senior Tutor

Valentino migrated with is family to NZ 9 years ago and has 8 years of teaching within the industry.  He also has 23 years of sea experience on many different cargo ships trading internationally. Some of his other roles within the industry include, Marine Superintendent and Cadet training officer. Valentino is passionate about training and sharing his experience and knowledge with fellow mariners.

Valentino's qualifications include>
  • Master Mariner (F.G) Unlimited
  • Certificate in Tertiary Learning and Teaching (Level 6)
  • Train the trainer Certificate (Simulator)

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change – Jim Rohn


Aaron Miller

Curriculum Design

Aaron has over 17 years of experience in the maritime industry working in NZ, Australia and Hawaii on vessels ranging from fishing to tourism and ferries. He is also a Mate on the YWAM Koha (ex Claymore II). After his last role at Sea World Cruises on the Gold Coast, he relocated back to NZ and joined our team. Aaron is passionate about sharing, mentoring and imparting his knowledge with others.

Aaron's qualifications include >
  • New Zealand Offshore Master
  • Marine Engineer Class 5
  • Master <35m NC (Australia)
  • Marine Engine Driver Grade 2 NC (Australia)
  • ADI Scuba Rescue Diver
  • GMDSS General Operators Certificate
  • STCW Advanced Fire Fighting
  • STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft/Rescue Boat

Ruby Needham

Student Engagement 

Before heading to sea, Ruby qualified as an educator. She then spent 5 years serving on commercial vessels, most recently in the South Pacific on a 40m commercial super yacht.

Ruby's qualifications include >
  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (200 ton) Commercially Endorsed
  • PADI Open Water Diver, Advanced Diver and Rescue Diver
  • Skipper Restricted Limits (24m)

Phil Bishop

Nautical and Survival Specialist Tutor

Phil has been teaching & tutoring in the marine industry for over 15 years. He is our senior survival trainer when he is not delivering maritime and leadership training in the RNZN or running his own Maritime School in Auckland.

Phil's qualifications include >
  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (200 Ton) Commercially Endorsed
  • RYA Yachtmaster Ocean (200 Ton) Commercially Endorsed
  • RYA Yachmaster Instructor, Trainer & Examiner
  • RYA Advanced Power Boat Certificate
  • RYA Advanced Power Boat Instructor
  • Skipper Restricted Limits
  • Master Yacht <24m
  • Coastguard Boating Education Tutor & Examiner
  • Radio Examiner

Mark Jenner


Mark completed a fishing cadet course to kick start his career straight after college. After working on fishing vessels for 16 years, he moved on to the oil and gas industry for a further 6 years. When he became a father, he stopped working at sea full time and now does occasional relief jobs and volunteers as the Master on the dental and medical ship YWAM Koha.

Mark's qualifications include >
  • Master Fishing Unlimited
  • Chief Mate Foreign Going
  • Master <500Gt Unlimited
  • STCW Ancillaries

Nick Tapp

Tutor / Assessor

Nick has been sailing commercially and recreationally for over 10 years. He has worked in diverse roles, including expedition documentary work and training RHIB drivers. When he’s not boating commercially, he contracts in the film and construction industries and volunteers with Wellington Coastguard Rescue.

Nick's qualifications include >
  • SRL <24m
  • RYA Powerboat Level 2
  • Pre Hospital Emergency Care
  • Category 1 Offshore First Aid
  • PADI Open water diver, SSI Diver Stress and Rescue
Barry Bio

Barry Harwood

Engineering Specialist Tutor

Barry has spent previous years in the RNZN specialising in Electrical and Marine engineering. He works commercially out on the water in Dunedin and is a Unit Training Co-Ordinator and Master onboard the local Coastguard Rescue vessel.

Barry's qualifications include >
  • Skipper Restricted Limits
  • Certificate in Tertiary Learning and Teaching (Level 7, NZ)
  • Diploma in Engineering – Electrical Engineering (Level 6, NZ)
  • ISC Coastguard Master
  • Marine Engineer Class 6 (NZ)

Melissa De Beer

Administration Manager

Melissa immigrated to NZ with her family in 2022.  She was the co-owner of their family business (commercial & earth-moving vehicle repairs & sales) in South-Africa.  She comes from a strong business/administration background with 21 years experience.  She enjoys being at the ocean and loves being outdoors. 

Melissa's qualifications include >
  • NSC – Small Business Management
  • Naui – Scuba Diver

Denise Booth

Operations Manager

Denise enjoys recreational boating and fishing and loves getting out on the water in the amazing backyard of the Abel Tasman. Denise comes to us with a background in law, extensive overseas travel and most latterly the joint ownership of a very successful small business.  As our operations manager she is tasked with streamlining our systems and processes. 

Denise's qualifications include >
  • LLB
  • NZ Diploma of Business
  • Diploma of Personnel Management
  • Diploma of Management
  • Padi Open Water Diver

Isabella Merschdorf

Communications Manager

With a strong background in content marketing and writing, Isabella is tasked with promotion and communication on social media and print media, and takes great pride in making our student workbooks as user-friendly as possible. Isabella loves hiking and mountain biking in the nearby national parks and getting out on the water whenever she can.

Isabella's qualifications include >
  • NZ Diploma in Small Business and Project Management
  • Diploma in Proofreading and Editing – New Zealand Institute of Business Studies
  • Master of Science
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts

Why Choose Us?

Our mission is to provide practical skipper training courses to help you take your maritime career to the next level.

Skipper Training in NZ AUS

Student Focus

We’re a small school so can adapt quickly to student needs, like spending time on the water instead of in the classroom.

Experienced Team

All our tutors are current professional skippers who have local and international experience.

Promised Results

We guarantee that we will find the right fit for you, as long as you put in the study time and follow the guidelines.


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