The first crop of marine service technicians certified in Alabama will come from Central Alabama Community College.
CACC’s marine tech program is starting class June 1 and will have its first certified marine technicians in three semesters. The program will supply much needed individuals for local marinas and boat service centers in the area and beyond.
“Each week interest has been growing,” CACC marine tech instructor Will Holt said. “There is not a marina or service center I spoke to that didn’t need technicians.”
The idea of a marine tech program has been in the works for more than a year. Officials at CACC have visited other programs they would like to emulate in Florida. CACC has developed a multiyear program that will include classes on marine engines and drives; marine engines and outboard drives; marine engines and inboard drives; marine engines and stern drives; jet drives; marine rigging and trailers; fuel and lubrication systems and electrical systems and diagnostics.
They are sending people to get certified.
Holt said the first three semesters will cover a lot of the basics.
“We will get them used to the functions of the boat,” Holt said. “We will cover DC fundamentals; it’s wiring. If you are going to work on a boat it’s wiring. Everything is electronic nowadays.”
Holt said many other things will be covered from basic maintenance of a boat to working with diagnostics to be able to read data to help with repairs.
At the end of a year, Holt said students will get a 1-year industry certification.
Holt is no stranger to CACC who has been employed in the school’s maintenance department for eight years. Holt also has extensive experience with boats.
“I started off in small engines when I was old enough to be able to,” Holt said. “I have always been working on motors. I have worked on boats most of my life during summers and on weekends. I’m used to engine repair and some fiberglass work.”
Holt is readying a shop to teach from starting June 1, but potential students can’t just show up June 1. Potential students have to fill out an application on CACC’s website but can be facilitated by calling Holt at 256-215-4411 or calling Linda Williams at 256-215-4276.
To start with the program is not accredited so the hours in class of the marine tech program can not be applied to an associate’s degree but the goal is to get accredited in the future to allow that.
Holt said he expects the classroom to be full come June 1 despite the short time frame.
“There has also been a lot of interest in people wanting to do this on their own,” Holt said. “We have spoken to some of the area marine companies with marinas. They are planning on sending people to the program as well. I think we will have more demand for it.”