Whittier Area Vocational Technical High School officially launched its new Marine Technology program this semester, making it the school’s 23rd career path and the only fourth of its kind in Massachusetts.
The Class of 2026 is the first to be able to pursue marine technology. On WHAV’s morning show this week, Superintendent Maureen Lynch said Whittier was approved by the state’s marine technical career program.
“We have some boats in the building, we have some Wave Runners. Our freshmen are in the Discovery Program right now. We hope to have them enroll in their Whittier career tech field by the end of the year,” she said.
Currently, 306 ninth graders are participating in Whittier Tech’s Discovery program, which requires them to choose a trade route in January. Argelis Vargas, a freshman from Haverhill, said, “I’ve really enjoyed my experience with the Discovery program so far, especially at Marine Tech. It’s hands-on. I’m not stuck with classroom learning.”
Students who choose Marine Technology will learn how to operate, repair, rebuild and install onboard systems, as well as hull maintenance and repair, marine canvas fabrication and repair, gas and diesel engine operation and repair, and welding and precision metal fabrication.
Additionally, students who complete the program will receive a certificate, learn how to operate a boat safely and obtain a boating license. During their senior year, students have the opportunity to earn their captain’s license.
Director Maureen Lynch spoke about the benefits of this new program, saying, “There are many opportunities in the marine industry. We want to connect students with these high-paying jobs and career opportunities through our new program. Extending this program to include daytime students who are teachers, A joint effort of community partners, etc.”
Since summer 2021, Whittier Tech has provided marine service technology through its Evening Adult Education program with support from the Massachusetts Marine Trade Association and a donation from Yamaha. The program trains three categories of unemployed or underemployed workers for entry-level jobs, with graduates passing the Yamaha credential test and earning the Outboard Systems Introduction certificate.
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the economic impact of the recreational boating industry in Massachusetts is $4.4 billion and employs more than 20,000 people despite severe labor shortages in Massachusetts and nationwide.