Normally, during a discussion about maritime training and education, we talk about prospects right out of high school or someone who has already been in the workforce in another industry but now wants to try maritime.

But our cover story in the July issue is about maritime high schools. That’s right — high schools. And I immediately learned something I didn’t know: The city of Des Moines is in Washington State. All this time, I thought it was in Iowa. In fact, it turns out, both Washington and Iowa have a Des Moines.

Des Moines, Wash., is located between Seattle and Tacoma and is the home of Maritime High School, an upstart educational facility that is scheduled to graduate it’s first class in 2025.

The model for the new school is all the way across the country in New York City. It’s located in an old Coast Guard base on Governor’s Island. As our Editor-at-Large Bruce Buls writes, “The school was specifically created to train future mariners, marine scientists and industry leaders. The current enrollment is about 500 students in ninth through 12th grades.”Later in the story, Bruce writes, “Introducing kids to career opportunities in maritime is an important function for both schools, each actively reaching out to communities that have had little interaction with the industry. The Harbor School promotes its programs at various high school fairs around the city and hosts lots of middle-school students learning about the Billion Oyster Project. The Maritime High School has access to the Admiral Jack, a 40' catamaran owned by NMC, and it uses the boat to help recruit middle school students. It’s also a training vessel during the school year, especially for ninth and 10th graders.”

NMC is the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Wash., and the Billion Oyster Project? You’ll definitely want to read about that.

What jumped out at me while reading the story is that the educators are making learning about the maritime industry fun. The kids seem to believe they’re skipping out of traditional high school and having a good time doing it. These schools have found a way to make the marine industry cool.

I’ve had quite a few discussions over the years with business owners in the industry concerning where the next generations of mariners can be found. Well, looks like Bruce has found two for you. Hopefully, others will see the story and maritime high schools will start to pop up all over the country.


Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.

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