Port Townsend Maritime Academy

Sonia FrojenAll, Youth Programs

Port Townsend Maritime Academy Skills Center Overboard Training

If you’ve been on campus recently, you’ve undoubtedly seen some pretty cool things our students are doing—cold-water emergency drill training, extinguishing controlled fires with the East Jefferson Fire Rescue, and learning from the Coast Guard and their Damage Control Simulator about what to do in a flooding situation. This is a typical day for the Port Townsend Maritime Academy Skills Center students, a group of juniors and seniors from the Coupeville, Chimacum, and Port Townsend school districts who are earning professional mariner and US Coast Guard credentials in addition to their WA State high school graduation credits.

The Northwest Maritime Center, in partnership with the Port Townsend School District and West Sound Technical Skills Center, opened the Port Townsend Maritime Academy in September 2019.  The PTMA is the first accredited Career and Technical Education (CTE) Maritime Operations Satellite skills center program in Washington State with the purpose of providing students with a year-long, vessel operations maritime curriculum taught by professional mariners and educators. Students from around the region may earn Career & Technical Education Credits, Elective Credits, and/or one credit of English Language Arts and Physical Education for their Maritime Academy classwork.

Since September, 18 students from Coupeville, Chimacum, and Port Townsend School Districts have been coming to class five days a week at the Northwest Maritime Center for 2.5 hours daily. Each day starts with an “Essential Question” that helps frame the topic for the day. As an English credit, this allows students to write and think critically about whatever they are learning. We’ve covered a lot this year: small-boat rowing in fixed seat boats; rowing larger vessels including Salish Star, Onward, and longboats Townshend and Bear; and Basic Keelboat sailing aboard 26-foot Thunderbirds.

The winter weather has brought us inside for most of November—we’ve covered marlinespike seamanship (splicing, knot-tying, whipping), have been doing Physical Education two hours a week, and have also been reading First You Have to Row a Little Boat as a part of an English credit. Completing the AMSEA Drill Conductor Curriculum and WA State Boater’s Card Coursework are all on the schedule before holiday break. Last week we even had a field trip to visit Fish Expo 2019.

Thanks to the Peninsula Daily News for their coverage of the Port Townsend Maritime Academy Skills Center in their front page story last week!  PTMA Peninsula Daily News Story – November 18, 2019.

For more information please contact kwatson@ptschools.org  Registration for 2020-2021 opens this spring at westsoundtech.org.