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Workboat Academy Graduates Second Class of Tugboat Mates

Published Dec 16, 2010 2:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

2009 Graduation Keynote speaker was Sean Connaughton, former administrator for the Maritime Administration under President Bush and a 1983 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The Workboat Academy recently celebrated the graduation of its second class of mates in Seattle, Washington. The new “Hawsepipe” program, which is a rigorous two-year curriculum of classroom and on-the-job training onboard workboats, was initiated by Gregg Trunnell, Director of the Pacific Maritime Institute and founder of the Workboat Academy after working through key elements of the program with educational work groups, the U.S. Coast Guard and industry representatives. Today, the essential training billets for the workboat cadets have been offered by a number of top organizations like Crowley Marine Services, Sause Bros., Western Towboat, Foss Maritime, Harley Marine Services Dunlap Towing, K-Sea Transportation, Brusco Tug & Barge, Gulfmark Offshore, and NOAA. “The quality of our trainees has been impressive and, because there are many more applicants than places on board, the companies get to pick and choose the best,” Trunnell said. “It’s the most cost-effective way for companies to find good people who are willing to invest a great deal of time and money to become a workboat mate.” The program’s success is inevitable as more companies recognize the benefits and begin to open up additional onboard training billets. The 2009 Graduation Keynote speaker was Sean Connaughton, former administrator for the Maritime Administration under President Bush and a 1983 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He spoke about the new horizons for the graduating mates and the great opportunities they will have in their new careers. Other speakers included Richard Lauer, Manager of Bulk Products with Sause Bros., John Kessler, Department Head of Navigation at the academy and Mark Kirkland, one of graduating mates who shared his experiences in the program. The MITAGS-PMI Workboat Mate Program takes two years to complete, with 28 weeks of shore-based instruction and 52 weeks of onboard training. Upon graduation the trainee receives a Mate 1600 Gross Tons Near Coastal license, with a Mate 500 Gross Ton Oceans License withTowing Endorsement (if serving on tugs), STCW-95 Officer in Charge of a Navigational Watch, and an Able-Bodied Seaman Limited endorsement. “PMI’s Workboat Academy has balanced the hawsepipe and a formal academy education into a blended methodology which includes on-the-job experience and classroom learning to produce well-rounded job candidates,” said Dale Sause of Sause Bros. “Instead of taking five to six years to come up the hawsepipe, the Workboat Mate Program takes only two-years to provide an excellent candidate to be hired. Sause Bros’ believes in this well-structured program.” The program has been equally well received at sea. “The captains and mates onboard the tugs and supply vessels have been excellent mentors to the cadets once they bought into the program,” Trunnell said. “With almost 80 cadets in the program today, experienced mariners have been instrumental in the program’s success.” To learn more about the Workboat Mate Program, contact Gregg Trunnell at [email protected] For MITAGS Workboat Academy information, please contact Victor Tufts at [email protected] You may also visit the Workboat Academy Web site at www.workboatacademy.com.