TRMI Offers Training for Maritime Careers

From deckhands to bartenders to operations supervisors to captains, this column has introduced you over the past six years to more than 75 people who are successfully making a career for themselves right here on the San Francisco Bay Area's bustling ferries.

TRMI offers more than 80 different Coast Guard-approved courses that can accommodate just about any and every career path you can think of on the water. Photo courtesy of TRMI

BY MATT LARSON

 

From deckhands to bartenders to operations supervisors to captains, this column has introduced you over the past six years to more than 75 people who are successfully making a career for themselves right here on the San Francisco Bay Area’s bustling ferries. One thing that they’ve all had in common is that they absolutely love their jobs, and if you happen to be reading this we’ve got some good news for you: You could be one of them.

 

“The industry is ripe with opportunity,” said Dave Abrams, the new CEO of Training Resources Maritime Institute (TRMI). “Especially for younger people to get into the industry and move up.” He said that the current maritime workforce is aging, with baby boomers retiring in droves. “I read a statistic that said we’re going to be short about 70,000 mariners over the next 10 or 15 years.”

 

Whether you’re a total outsider with zero sea hours or a career mariner who’d like to start climbing the ranks, TRMI offers more than 80 different Coast Guard-approved courses that can accommodate just about any and every career path you can think of on the water.

 

“We cover the gamut of career opportunities onboard ships,” Abrams said. “We offer all of the training required to work onboard vessels from a small six-pack charter boat up to a super tanker.” (A six-pack license allows a license holder to captain a smaller vessel with six paying passengers plus crew.) Generally there are two different tracks to choose from at TRMI—the deck side of the business or the engineering side.

 

If you have experience working on the water, you probably already know which track is the one for you. But if you’re a total novice ready to get a jump on your maritime career, you can probably figure out your preferred track after basic training. The basic training course at TRMI meets the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping) requirements that most seafaring organizations are going to be looking for if you’d like to work on one of their vessels. It’s a 40-hour course that can be completed within one week at a cost of $1,100.

 

“Compared to the cost of college, it’s much more affordable,” Abrams said. “And there are plenty of jobs out there. After a week of basic training, with your STCW in hand, there are maritime organizations that you’d be eligible to work for.” From there you can really choose your own adventure with TRMI as you continually develop and enhance your skill set over the course of your maritime career.

 

But even for the experienced mariner, taking a course with TRMI could prove to be quite beneficial. Before Abrams became CEO just a couple months ago, he first came to TRMI as a student in January 2017. As a lifelong sailor, a ship captain and a former Navy Surface Warfare Officer with two naval sea tours under his belt, Abrams still found his course to be very useful. “For me it was a great refresher on all the rules of the road,” he said. “The charting process, the regulations, all the formalities of being a captain of a vessel.”

 

TRMI resulted from a recent merger of the Maritime Institute and Training Resources Limited. Both companies are based in San Diego, though the Maritime Institute has a facility in Alameda. “The biggest change from the Maritime Institute to now is our facilities,” Abrams said. “We have an 18,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art training facility in San Diego, complete with all the latest simulation equipment—a full-scale bridge simulator, a full-scale engine room simulator, plus we offer firefighting, lifeboat training, welding, machining and more.”

 

If you’re not ready for that next-level training down in San Diego, the Maritime Institute here in Alameda still offers plenty of courses to get you on your way, the most popular of which is a course where you can earn your 100-Ton Master’s License.

 

The Alameda location also offers courses for Able Seamen as well as endorsements for sailing and towing and several radar certification and recertification courses. The engineering track is offered only in San Diego.

 

For those working on the water who want to move up, or those working in an office dreaming of life on the water, TRMI has got you covered. Especially for those who have always wanted to pursue a maritime career and just haven’t, Abrams urges you to explore that passion. “Those that love the sea just know it,” he said. “It’s almost like a calling, and we just help people fulfill that calling.”

 

You can find a list of upcoming courses at maritimeinstitute.com or maritimetrainingschool.com as well as in our Waterfront Activities section on page 19, or call either (888) 262-8020 or (619) 225-1783 for more information.

Online classes are also available.

 

A career on the water can be quite fulfilling. It has been for Abrams. “The draw for me is just the love of the sea,” he said. “I think it’s the serenity. Especially when you’re offshore, it’s just you, your vessel and the ocean; the hum of the engines, the sounds of the waves and the sea life—it’s just a peaceful, calming feeling being out there.”

State-of-the-art simulators give TRMI students the feeling of being on the bridge of large commercial vessels. Photo courtesy of TRMI

TRMI offers courses for radar certification and recertification at its Alameda location. Photo courtesy of TRMI