From Stem to Stern - Marine Tech Students Are Propelled to Learn
Posted on May 8, 2012
Marine Tech students from the H.B. Ward Career and Technical Center in Riverhead recently went on a learning excursion.
They travel to the Eastern Suffolk BOCES H.B. Ward Career and Technical Center (WCTC), in Riverhead five days a week to learn about the marine field. Their goal, to cruise into a career that is rapidly expanding and pays well.
Under the tutelage of ESBOCES Teacher Jason Pickerell, students from school districts across Long Island obtain the knowledge, skill, and practical experience of working on inboard and outboard marine engines in the ESBOCES Marine and Outdoor Power Equipment program. In addition to learning how to service, maintain, troubleshoot, repair and recondition marine craft, the students also learn marine procedures related to fuel, drive, electrical and electronics, fiberglass repair, welding and machining, detailing, diagnostics, and performance.
One opportunity afforded the students in the marine class is a chance to participate in field trips to businesses that are directly related to their field of study. Recently, the students visited Steiger Craft and Bossler & Sweezey, both located in Bellport, NY.
Connor Steiger in front of the family owned business Steiger Craft.
Steiger Craft has been building high-quality fishing boats for almost 40 years. The boats are hand-built, one-at-a-time, using one-piece of solid fiberglass and a ridged grid system. They are known for their hull strength and bonding system. All Steigers are given a 200 point inspection.
Operations Manager Connor Steiger led the student tour at the Steiger facility. He said, “I wanted the students to understand the importance of the process and stages of building a boat, from start to finish, from research to development, and all the details involved in the production.”
ESBOCES Teacher Mr. Pickerell added, “Field trips allow the students to witness the design and manufacturing processes and the techniques associated with them.”
After graduating from the ESBOCES Marine program, students have a myriad of job opportunities open to them such as Marine Technician, Marine Yard Person, Fiberglass Technician, Machine Shop Assistant, Engine Rebuilder, Marine Parts Manager, and Boat Rigger, to name a few. This field trip put these job opportunities into perspective.
Visiting Bossler & Sweezey, a well-respected propeller repair and service company since 1960, allowed the students to take a look at probably one of the most important parts of the drive train of a boat, the propeller.
Phil Blindenhofer, President and technician at B&S, is a factory trained Mercury technician. He said, “This is a great job for someone who wants to work with their hands. At B&S, we repair and made modifications to propellers. Every year, at the beginning of the season boaters bring in their propellers to get fine-tuned.”
Boxxler & Sweezey are well respected professionals who mend and modify propellers.
Phil Blindenhofer, president of Bossler & Sweezey
A propeller that may need to be mended or modified.
Phil Blindenhofer in front of the prop machine.
Using a special computer software program and very specialized machines like a Hydraulic Pitch Changing Machine that was designed by an engineer, the B&S technicians take the propellers and bend ‘em and mend ‘em. They offer custom modifications like cupping and welding, repitching, and straightening of running gear including shafts, rudders, and struts.
For those students who were intrigued and wanted to do this type of work, Mr. Blindenhofer suggested they purchase the Propeller Book by Dave Geer. “They can become a certified technician through the Marine Propeller Association.”
ESBOCES teacher Mr. Pickerell said, “It’s important for the students to go on-site and see first-hand the reconditioning methods used to make and modify recreational and performance boats and propellers and to meet the owners and operators, technicians and staff members.”
Both Connor Steiger and Phil Blindenhofer said that the ESBOCES students asked very good questions and were interested in all the aspects of their presentations related to their respective industries.