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Six students from the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy in Norfolk, Virginia, shoved
off this week for a hands-on semester at sea aboard the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, the 200-foot tall ship and official sailing education vessel for the state of Rhode Island. The two-week itinerary, which kicked off in Narragansett Bay on Wednesday, February 21, includes a port call in Charleston, S.C., before landfall in Florida.
The course, a combination of study and sea time, is designed to give students international credentials for securing an entry level job on a ship. To graduate from their program, they must finish at least 160 hours at sea.
“MAMA’s Mariner Boot Camp program is recognized by Virginia’s local area workforce agencies, including Opportunity Inc.,” said Jess Wurzbacher, executive director of the Oliver Hazard Perry. “Ninety percent of the students have received full funding through programs for adult and dislocated workers and youth facing barriers to entry into the workforce. And the majority of their at-sea internships aboard Perry are funded by OHPRI’s own Captain Virginia Wagner Honorary Scholarship Fund.”
The scholarship is named for the late captain Virginia Wagner. Wagner, who was a charter consultant for Nicholson Yachts before she died of cancer in 2015, was a highly respected tall ship and yacht captain and held a 3,000 ton license. She left more than 400,000 miles at sea and friendships with countless crew in her wake. Nicholson Yachts president Karen Kelly Shea is a member of the executive board of directors of the OHP. Read the complete story here.