Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Brian Hennessy leads a demonstration of equipment used in fire training at the Maritime Institute in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

‘Ready to go full sail’: Maritime Institute embarks at Port of Everett

The training facility offers Coast Guard-certified courses for recreational boaters and commercial-vessel operators.

EVERETT — The new Maritime Institute on the city’s waterfront began offering classes in February, but didn’t receive an official welcome until last week.

On Wednesday, the institute’s San Diego-based CEO Dave Abrams joined Port of Everett, city and county officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the institute’s new Everett campus.

Fittingly, Wednesday was National Maritime Day.

“Today’s grand opening is our big kickoff,” Abrams told a gathering of about 50 people. “We’ve worked out all the kinks with our classes, and now we’re ready to go full sail.”

The Maritime Institute at 1130 West Marine View Drive offers 25 certificate programs ranging in length from one day to four weeks.

Weekend and professional mariners can take Coast Guard certified classes in firefighting, celestial or electronic navigation, or train to become an able seafarer or steersman, among dozens of courses.

A four-week “Mariner Bootcamp” program offers basic credentials to help students “get a job in the maritime industry,” whether that’s seeking work with the Washington State Ferries or aboard a commercial vessel, Abrams said.

“We’ve been wanting a maritime training center here for a really long time,” Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said. “The institute provide the tools to be safe on our waters.”

Founded in 1976, the privately owned Maritime Institute bills itself as the “largest provider of U.S. Coast Guard certified training courses in the United States.”

The institute’s new Everett facility is the company’s first site in Washington and its fifth U.S. location, Abrams said.

The main campuses are located in Alameda, California; Honolulu; Norfolk, Virginia; and San Diego.

“The port looks forward to the growth of the Maritime Institute here and to watch as their classes graduate and go on to get jobs in the maritime industry,” port commission President Tom Stiger told the crowd.

Abrams said the company trains about 10,000 people each year.

“We’ve been wanting to come up to the Pacific Northwest for a long time,” Abrams said.

The company signed a 10-year lease with the port for nearly 6,000 square feet of light industrial space at the port’s Maritime, Exploration and Innovation Complex at Waterfront Place.

“Recruiting a maritime training center to serve Snohomish County and the greater region has been a top priority for us, not only to fulfill this mission, but to also ensure a skilled and diverse maritime workforce in the future,” Port CEO Lisa Lefeber said.

Washington’s maritime industry employs more than 62,000 people and includes 2,300 companies. It generates $24 billion in revenue and pays $7.5 billion in wages each year, according to the state Department of Commerce.

Plus, Washington has the highest per capita boat usage in the nation, with over 250,000 registered vessels, the agency said.

The institute is located in a building that once housed a light pole factory.

​Empty for several years, the former factory now features brightly lit classrooms and training facilities.

“It was just a dingy warehouse when we got here,” said Brian Hennessy, a Maritime Institute instructor who teaches basic and advanced firefighting programs.

Some programs, like the survival skills and firefighting courses, are hands on.

A course in survival skills includes training sessions on a working lifeboat parked outside the institute and suspended from a mobile crane.

Lowered into the water, the neon orange 43-person lifeboat can be used to simulate water rescues, instructor Pat Boyle said.

One of the course goals, Boyle said, “is to educate people by showing them how safe this boat is.”

Next to the life boat, an outdoor training device allows students to practice extinguishing a simulated shipboard blaze.

The No. 1 rule?

“Make sure your fire extinguisher works,” Hennessy said.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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