the North Coast College of Marine Studies ~ EVERYTHING MARINE

Our Vision

Who We Are


The North Coast College of Marine Studies

Brunswick Heads, NSW, Australia A school of excellence globally for the Marine Industry


This community based self-funded college was conceived with the purposes in mind of giving back to the community, and to provide opportunities for people of all ages to gain skills for the local, national and global marine industry.

COMS will become a registered training organisation (RTO) that provides high quality apprenticeships and training that are linked to its repair and maintenance capability in timber and other materials for boats up to 200 tonnes. It will primarily attract clients from the Northern Rivers of NSW and South East Queensland through its exceptional skill levels and industry relationships.

The vision is to using existing infrastructure (the former Fins restaurant premises) converted into classrooms while manufacturing would take place in neighbouring industrial estates, marina and slipway which surrounds the fishing co-op site.

Local resident, Phillip Walters, is a shipwright / marine surveyor / coxwain with over 33 years of industry experience and a passion for maintaining the art of boat building, both old and new. It is his vision combined with the support of many organisations for the Marine College to retain the maritime activities associated with Brunswick Heads boat harbour and provide a future for boat building and related skills training.

Phillip was enlisted to do shipwright work on the Thomas Hardy and Sons 45ft gaff rigged cutter NERIDA over a period of 10 years, Click here to download reference from Sir James Hardy OBE.

In the Brunswick Heads Business Retention and Expansion Survey Results November 2006, one of the 10 Recommendations from the 2006 survey was to support a feasibility study for the establishment of a Marine College at the boat harbour. It was identified that a new industry / educational facility (The North Coast College of Marine Studies) had support for the following reasons:

    • Improvement of the harbour
    • Low key development of the Fishing Co-op
    • Support marina and marine cultural centre
    • Support for the boatbuilding training
    • Development of a marine college and associated businesses
    • Boat industry, sailing club

Membership cards which offer members a vote at the AGM but discounts at all involved supporters / businesses.

To enquire or become a member,

With the support of hundreds of marine businesses, an actual shopfront would be set up on colleges with an online store in the future.

What We're All About

The College of Marine Studies Inc. will be a non-profit community inspired college of excellence in the marine industry, engaging local people and those whose needs and visions can help achieve a sustainable relationship between land, sea, and wildlife.
The Marine College will retain the maritime activities associated with Brunswick Heads Boat Harbour and provide a future for boat building and related skills training for the fourth largest export industry, boating. Existing infrastructure combined with the need to meet the demands and training gap that currently exists on the North Coast is intergral to why Brunswick Heads was chosen as the location of the College. The College will breathe new life into the currently under utilised resources in Brunswick Heads, namely the slipway, marina and old Finns Restaurant Building.

It is a low impact solution, which can be readily integrated with community facilities...a solution that has been sought after for some years.

The North Coast has a strong involvement in marine studies with the Southern Cross University offering major areas of study in environment, science, marine science and management, all in undergraduate, honors and post graduate levels.


Local High Schools

in particular Ballina High School, specialises in environmental studies. These educational institutions have experienced some difficulties in accessing resources for their students on the North Coast.

The North Coast, similar to most rural NSW regions, experience demands for training that can not be met by local organisations resulting in students having to travel distances to access training. A number of skills shortage areas, in particular Trades, have been identified as needing to be addressed, as a large number of students and apprentices have to travel to Queensland or Sydney / Newcastle to undertake their required training. Besides the marine industry training in boat building, shipwright, marine coxswain (to name a few), other trades will be included in the College of Marine Studies scope of training delivery such as baking and butchery, which currently have a large demand but no local training facility.

Once land and infrastructure has been granted to COMS, the College would be self sustainable.

Funding will be generated by the following:


Funding will be generated by the following:

  • State, Federal and Local Government grants
  • Donations from established foundations
  • World wide licensing of MyDory Boats
  • Fee for Service from slipway and marina berths
  • Tax Deductible Recipient Status
  • Sponsorship
  • Donation of Vessels ‘in kind’
  • Donations of goods and services
  • Work for the Dole Program
  • Voluntary Community Service
  • Global trade Exchanges
  • Global Carbon Trading

Examples of 'Vessels in Kind' donated to COMS

26 foot Chesapeake Bay Skipjack

A substantial grant has already been bestowed on the College, a 26 foot Chesapeake Bay Skipjack ‘DORENA’ (above) which will be restored by College students and be used as a research and training vessel. It evolved from a smaller "two sail bateau" with a v-hull, into a larger hearty skipjack, powerful in light winds. These boats have a shallow draft with centreboard and carry a single mast, two-sail sloop rig, being ideal for Brunswick Heads and its sand bar.

Miss Fire Speedboat

The Miss Fire Speedboat (above), winner of many National Titles has also been bestowed on the college for use by students in the boat building / restoration courses.

Brunswick Surf Life Saving Club

Brunswick Surf Life Saving Club has also donated a surf boat which will be restored with modifications to be used as a sailing boat.


Above is an example of the kind of vessel which will be restored / built in the Wooden Boat Building Courses at the College of Marine Studies.