2019 Marine Service Technician Graduate
Mechanical Department Technician at Safe Harbor New England Boatworks
I knew I loved boats and being on the water.
I grew up on Aquidneck Island in Newport. During the past four years, I fished commercially—lobstering and long-line fishing. We’d go out to sea for 30 days at a time. Every day I’d set up lines; we’d put about 1,000 hooks in the water to catch tuna or swordfish.
Commercial fishing is hard physical work; we didn’t sleep much.
Fishermen get 10% of the catch and a 1099 at the end of the year. Taxes are not taken out of paychecks; you have to pay them to the government all at once at the year’s end.
I wanted to go in a different direction.
I’ve always been mechanically inclined. I started thinking about combining the knowledge I’d gained from working on the water with my mechanical background. Most important, I wanted to have a career—not just a job. I felt ready to take the next step.
Everyone around here knows someone who has attended MTTI.
The school has a reputation for being ethical and financially responsible. The tuition is less than ½ the price of other marine programs I could have attended—and I knew I would come away from MTTI with a really good background.
Apart from the hour-long drive to school, I’ve enjoyed everything about the Marine Service Tech program.
The course material was good. Don is a really good instructor. He doesn’t talk ‘at’ you; he helps you understand the information—not just learn it on paper.
I was able to pick up on things pretty easily, especially hands-on in the shop.
Don showed us how to do something, and then we would physically get to do it. Reading the text first helps, but you get a real grasp of the skill when you actually do it.
Owner / Founder, Ward Ring, filled in a couple of times for Don—he knows a lot.
He taught us stick and mig welding. When you asked him a question, he would break it down and give you all of the fine details. I thought it was cool that, even though this is not a welding course, when we expressed interest, Ward taught us the basics.
Having an internship during the program sets you up to have a career in your field.
Employers you meet during internship and job search look at you as a potential hire and long-term employee.
Even before I enrolled in the program, I knew I wanted to work at Safe Harbor New England Boatworks.
One day, while sitting in the classroom eating lunch, Don was on the phone with Paul Dow, the Service Manager of the Mechanical & Electrical Department at Safe Harbor NEB. Don knew that I wanted to intern there. He asked me if I wanted to interview with Paul. I said ‘yes’ and after school that day, I went to see him.
I like Paul Dow a lot; he is someone you can talk with.
He introduced me to the guys in the Tech shop. I spoke with two Techs: Adam, who is a 2001 MTTI Graduate, and Drew. They gave me an idea of what it is like to work at Safe Harbor NEB—and what would be expected of me.
During internship, and now as an employee, I’ve been working on a Riverine Command Boat.
It is a fast military assault craft, originally developed for the Swedish Navy. Although smaller, they are high-powered boats. They are used around the world to patrol river systems. The one we are working on was built for the US Navy and is now being repurposed for R&D by a local company.
There are so many career paths in the marine industry—you can go anywhere.
My goal is to go beyond pleasure boats and to work in the commercial aspects of the industry. I can do that at Safe Harbor NEB; even the pleasure boats here are more complex.
It’s not even a question of whether you should enroll in MTTI’s program—just do it.
Seven months could change your life forever, at a good price compared with everyone else. My grandfather said to me: ‘7 months, that’s a piece of cake’. It flew by. When your mind is constantly working, you don’t have time to look at the clock. You get out of the program, what you put into it.
I came here to get a career—that is what I got—that is the reward.
I’m happy I waited a few years after high school, until I turned 24. I got so much more out of it. This is my first job with good benefits. Now I’m thinking about looking at a mortgage.
If you really want something, you just do it; it is only as hard as you make it.
This is the career I want. Starting school, I told myself, ‘I’m going to do what I have to, because this is going to set up the rest of my life.’ I can see myself in the position of a Marine Technician, and see a good future in it. The Marine Service Technician program at MTTI set me up to work where I want to— I am happy to be working at Safe Harbor New England Boatworks.