Marine Technology at PWSC

by Vicki Heisser and Wendy Goldstein  |   

Marine Technology at PWSC is a new program in development with a wide range of opportunities. We took some time to talk to instructors and program developers, Jason Smilie and Anthony Gerasch Jr., about the program and upcoming courses that will be offered beginning this month.

Smilie, who has been with PWSC for almost three years, explains that this program and course “help students learn skills that prepare them to work in a maritime field that they wish to pursue. Our program employs technology to not only deliver effective education, but also to teach students how to use knowledge to solve problems, communicate and work together more effectively, and improve performance and productivity.”

As Smilie notes, many are retiring from this industry right now, so it is a good time for a new generation of skilled workers to enter an array of different maritime fields. “Training provided by Prince William Sound College covers a wide range of occupations in the maritime industry. With the industry facing an aging workforce and a shortage of skilled workers, the maritime industry is rife with opportunity for those with the interest, skills, and willingness to learn.”

Having worked with the Coast Guard, giving him maritime experience, Smilie will be teaching an Introduction to Maritime course that will, as he explains, “give students an overview of the entire Marine industry. It will cover common ship loading procedures, the use of nonverbal signaling, maritime water safety and survivability, boat identification, basic navigation, and chart reading and plotting.” This class prepares students to take the National Center for Construction certification exam in Introduction to Maritime Trades. 

Gerasch, who joined the college in spring of 2020 shares, “I am teaching classes about marine engines, marine plumbing systems, electrical systems, drive systems, boat trailers, and so much more. All of the classes taught are part of the Marine Service Technician certification.”

It is clear from Smilie’s and Gerasch’s description that students will learn many important elements of maritime service technology in their courses, but not all the learning will take place in a classroom. It is Gerasch’s hope that students will be able to get some on-site experience, taking field trips to facilities where the students may eventually work. Smilie also plans to have guest speakers come share their experiences with the students. Gerasch shares, “We plan on going to the boat harbors and board vessels with the students. We will talk about and identify various vessel plumbing, electrical and engine systems.”

This new program developing at PWSC has been fortunate to receive sponsorships and donations to help it run smoothly. Gerasch is excited about what Briggs and Stratton and Equipment and Engine Training Council (EETC) have done for the program. “Briggs and Stratton donated 40 brand new small engines. Some of these will be used at the high school, where they are introducing students to maritime technology, and PWSC will be using them in class.

While both Smilie and Gerasch are excited about the program, there is one thing in particular they are eager for people to know. “We want to thank our sponsors for taking the time to help us shape the future and build our workforce.” 

 If you are interested in career and technical education opportunities at PWSC, please contact us at 907-834-1600.