Offshore wind training, like the industry, is prepping for takeoff. In the early stages, offshore wind developers and vessel operators sent workers to Europe to learn the ropes. Now several U.S. colleges, universities and private investors are creating offshore wind centers, institutes, and degree and certification programs.

Here are a few examples:

  • Bristol Community College, New Bedford, Mass.: Implementing a National Offshore Wind Institute to provide offshore training including Global Wind Organization (GWO) basic safety and technical training as well as customized offshore wind programs. BCC will soon offer the first accredited offshore wind degree in Massachusetts and has offered core wind technician courses since 2013.
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy: Inaugurated a new $2.5 million pier that will house a wind turbine-inspired training facility. Workers will learn to safely maneuver a vessel to a turbine’s monopile and transfer workers from the boat to the tower. The school received a $184,000 state grant to establish GWO basic safety training and develop an introduction to offshore wind course for cadets.
  • SUNY Maritime, Fort Schuyler, N.Y.: The college is using a $230,000 state grant to create an Offshore Energy Center for on-campus and online training for wind operations, technicians, dynamic positioning and certifications for offshore vessel operators.
  • BEI Maritime, Maple, N.C.: Slated to open in 2021 and co-founded by a former Navy Seal, a new $25 million facility will train offshore wind crews as well as special forces and law enforcement. It will include an indoor pool large enough to hold a small ship and simulate stormy seas. Students can practice drills on a model wind turbine that stands 30 feet above the water. The center will train to GWO standards, and is hoping to become the “go-to” global leader for offshore energy safety training.
  • University of Delaware: Launched the Offshore Wind Skills Academy in partnership with the Energy and Climate Academy of Denmark, offering the basics of wind power, offshore wind turbines and logistics of project development to professionals with traditional energy backgrounds, regulators and investors. It is the first program for professionals and managers wanting to enter the industry.
  • The Wind Service Training Center, Orlando, Fla.: Operated by Siemens-Gamesa, one of the world’s largest wind turbine makers, the center opened in 2013 and is currently the only GMO-certified offshore wind training facility on the East Coast. Siemens has similar facilities in Denmark, Germany and the U.K.


Pamela Glass is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for WorkBoat. She reports on the decisions and deliberations of congressional committees and federal agencies that affect the maritime industry, including the Coast Guard, U.S. Maritime Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Prior to coming to WorkBoat, she covered coastal, oceans and maritime industry news for 15 years for newspapers in coastal areas of Massachusetts and Michigan for Ottaway News Service, a division of the Dow Jones Company. She began her newspaper career at the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard-Times. A native of Massachusetts, she is a 1978 graduate of Wesleyan University (Conn.). She currently resides in Potomac, Md.