Kingsborough program gives hands-on boating experience
The Maritime Technology program at Kingsborough Community College is truly one-of-a-kind. Students get hands-on boating experience, learning both operation and repair of vessels, helping to launch them into interesting careers.
“Most move right out of college and into a job,” said Kingsborough President Regina Peruggi. “Young people should think of careers on the water.”
Graduates of the two-year program receive Brown Water licenses, permitting them to work on watercraft inshore, in coastal waters and harbors. Blue Water licenses are issued for working in international waters.
“The jobs are here in our waters,” said Capt. John Nappo, who helps run the program, adding that it’s good for students who want to stay close to home.
Graduates find jobs working on high-speed ferries, such as the ones connecting Manhattan and New Jersey, dinner boats, tugboats and can even captain private yachts.
“One graduate works on a private ship and spends half of the year in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean,” Capt. Nappo said. “There are so many opportunities.”
Another recent grad works for a shipping company and will make up to $125,000 after four years on the job.
“They start out as deckhands and work their way up,” Nappo said.
The maritime technology program, which was founded by Capt. Anthony DiLernia 20 years ago, is the only program on the East Coast where students get hands-on boating experience without military training.
The ship students currently use for training is the Milton Drucker, a 45-foot patrol boat that once belonged to the city.
“Students learn how to run and operate a ship,” said DiLernia, who still teaches, and added that class sizes are small so students can get individual attention.
“They learn how to drive a boat, fix an engine and weld, so they can fix the boat, too,” he said.
Students also learn how to put out fires and do rescue missions with the Coast Guard, so in case of an emergency they are fully prepared.
“The hands-on training is great,” said senior Lisamarie Fasano, 21, of Staten Island, who is not sure what she wants to do when she graduates, but isn’t worried. “This is a really exciting career. There are so many opportunities.”
BY DENISE ROMANO