Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School formally launched this term its new Marine Technology program, making it the school’s 23rd career pathway and only the fourth program of its kind to exist in Massachusetts.
Students in the class of 2026 are the first to be able to pursue Marine Technology. During an appearance this week on WHAV’s morning program, Superintendent Maureen Lynch said Whittier received state vocational program approval for Marine Technology.
“We have some boats here in the building, and we have some Wave Runners. Our freshmen right now are going through the Exploratory Program. We hope to have them sign up for that at the end of this year for that to be their vocational technical area while they’re here at Whittier,” she said.
Currently, 306 ninth graders are participating in Whittier Tech’s Exploratory Program which requires them to select a trade pathway in January. Argelis Vargas, a freshman from Haverhill, said, “I really like my experience in the Exploratory Program, so far, especially here in Marine Tech. It’s hands-on. I am not stuck in a classroom learning.”
Students who select Marine Technology are expected to 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 earn relevant certifications, learn how to operate a boat safely and obtain their boating license. During their senior year, students have the opportunity to earn their captain’s licenses.
Superintendent Maureen Lynch spoke of the benefits of this new program, saying “the marine industry has ample opportunities. We hope to connect students to these many well-paying jobs and career opportunities available through our new program. Expanding this program to daytime students was a collaborative effort by faculty, community partners, and so many more.”
Whittier Tech has offered Marine Service Technology through its night adult education program since summer 2021 with support from the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association and donations from Yamaha. The program trained three classes of unemployed or underemployed workers for entry-level jobs and graduates passed the Yamaha Certificate Test and earned an Introduction to Outboard Systems certificate.
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the Massachusetts recreational boating industry has an economic impact of $4.4 billion and employs more than 20,000 people, though there is a substantial workforce shortage in Massachusetts and nationwide.