Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding offers new programs to answer need in trades

By: Jeannie McMacken - Apr 16, 2018
Source: Peninsula Daily News

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding has launched new programs to address the region's need for skilled marine systems technicians, according to Executive Director Betsy Davis.

"We're thrilled to be able to meet the growing need for marine technicians," she said.

The programs are approved for federal student aid and veterans education benefits.

A new, six-month Marine Systems Program includes classes on marine electrical, pumps, diesel engines, corrosion, pluming, propulsion and steering and controls.

Only a few seats remain for the program that begins Oct. 1. A second session will start April 8 next year.

Tuition for the six-month program is $10,000 which includes a registration fee and enrollment, plus an additional $1,500 to $2,000 for tools that students buy and keep. The school has some scholarship money available based on need.

The program is for those older than 18 with a high school diploma or a general education certificate wanting to enter the marine trades.

Education benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also can be applied to a series of week-long Marine Systems Intensives for those who qualify.

The one-week intensive courses cover marine electrical systems, marine diesel engines, marine corrosion and marine hydraulics. These in-depth classes are for people already working in the trades.

"Our school has always taught craftsmanship through boatbuilding, and marine systems are an integral component of a finely built boat and essential to safety on the water," Davis said.

"We are helping meet the needs of maritime employers who are thirsty for skilled marine technicians."

Each of the intensives is $999.

The Boat School is investing more than $500,000 in the new programs, thanks to community support, Davis said.

An initial grant of $100,000 from the state Department of Commerce, with support from Economic Development Council Team Jefferson, launched the new programs. Money was subsequently matched by more than $200,000 in gifts from foundations and individuals. Additional funding was provided by Craft3, a regional nonprofit that makes loans to create jobs and stimulate workforce development.

According to Davis, companies are hiring and the demand is high for trained, skilled workers. She points out that the maritime workforce is aging and retiring, and there's a growing need for trained people.

"Washington State's Department of Commerce commissioned an economic impact study of maritime trades. It revealed it has a $17 billion direct revenue impact and a $37 billion indirect impact."

"Maritime is a very big component of our economy," she said. "And it's here."

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is a private, nonprofit accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The courses are approved by the state Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board.

More information about programs and enrollment at the school at 42 N. Water St., Port Hadlock is available on the school's website at The school can also be reached by calling 360-385-4948 or emailing