In between educational seminars, big dinners, and trivia contests at their summer rendezvous this year, Nordic Tug owners took some time to fundraise for maritime industry education. The Pacific Northwest Nordic Tug Owners Association (PaNNTOA) featured an auction benefitting the Marine Maintenance Technology program at Skagit Valley College (SVC). The auction raised approximately $5,000 for scholarships and tuition assistance for students making their way in a marine trade. PaNNOTA is an association made up of over 200 Nordic owners from Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon.
The Northwest is one of the boating capitals of the world and the constant activity on our waterways fuels a steady demand for technicians trained in marine manufacturing, maintenance, and systems. Local colleges like SVC prepare students for jobs in fields such as marine propulsion, vessel systems, and marine composites. But even with the high demand, many businesses report a shortage of qualified candidates.
In an attempt to get more graduates out in the field, PaNNOTA and local businesses pitched in to raise money for SVC’s program. SVC has many ties to businesses in the area and a faculty of professionals in their fields led by Department Chair Mike Beemer. Students at SVC have access to the Marine Technology Center, a lab built near Fidalgo Bay in Anacortes. There they can earn a one-year certificate, and two-year associate of applied science degrees, and credentials from American Boat & Yacht Council, National Marine Electronics Association, and American Composites Manufacturers Association. “Donations like these are key to providing Skagit Valley College Marine Maintenance Technology students with access to the most current industry-based education,” said Beemer. “It allows our program to provide a highly skilled workforce that supports the needs of industry and recreational boaters.”
Besides the Nordic owners, many generous businesses contributed to the success of the auction. Nordic Tugs, which is based in Burlington, Washington; Gateway Yachts, LaConner Maritime, Alt Insurance Group, Garmin, Rainman Watermaker, SeaKeeper, Yacht Controller, Marine Detail Specialists, and Fisheries Supply all pitched in with goods and services to auction. A dozen marinas on the Salish Sea also supported the auction, including Cap Sante Marina, who hosted the rendezvous. Those interested in applying for SVC’s Marine Maintenance Technology Program can apply at Skagit Valley College.