School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Neil Armstrong

Master of the Research Vessel


Research Vessel Master

Newcastle University

September 2006 – Present

As the Master of the RV Princess Royal I am tasked with planning and executing research and survey projects for Newcastle University. I also plan and manage commercial charters of the vessel to carry out survey work on a commercial basis rather than academic. I am also tasked with the day to day management of the vessel including maintenance and administration duties.

As Master of RV Princess Royal I have extensive experience in various tasks such as;

Project planning & management
Sediment sampling with Van Veen/Day grabs etc.
Otter trawling
Beam trawling
Gill/trammel netting
Water sampling 
Multibeam survey
Bird/mammal survey
Fish survey
Acoustic data gathering on marine mammals
Environmental Impact Assessment survey on offshore/onshore projects
Vessel noise impact assessment survey
Vessel systems monitoring
Teaching assistance for undergraduate, PH d and Masters student projects 

These activities have taken place at sea, within estuarine areas and in river systems.

Previous Experience

Trawler Skipper/Owner

Self Employed

July 1987 – May 2009 (21 years 11 months)

I have crewed on and skippered several vessels belonging to my family's business, first taking command of our 20m trawler aged 18. From 2004 to 2009 I owned and operated my own vessel as a business in its own right. I have extensive knowledge of trawling, seining (fly shooting), potting, gill netting and drift netting both inshore and offshore. I am still very much involved with the family's fishing activities carried out on our trawl and shellfishing vessels.


Certificate of Competency (Deck Officer) CLASS 1 (Fishing Vessel) Unrestricted since 1999

RYA Yachtmaster Offshore (Commercially Endorsed)

RYA National Powerboat Level 2 cert.

Personal Survival Techniques cert.

HIAB Operators cert.

Ship Captains Medical cert.

First Aid cert.

SEAFISH Engine Watchkeepers cert.

ENG 1 Medical cert.