Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski last month toured the University of Alaska Southeast Maritime Training Center, which has been training mariners for more than 30 years, in support of the maritime industry.
The center is located on the water in Ketchikan and includes a welding lab, navigation simulator, and diesel and electronics labs.
Murkowski expressed support for Alaska’s maritime industry when she visited, thanking faculty members for providing “valuable training opportunities for Alaskans,” the university said in a statement.
With more than 70,000 workers in the state’s maritime industry, nearly all Alaskans depend in some way on the maritime economy, the senator said.
The state is highly dependent on shipping for imports of food and other goods, as well as exports for oil, seafood and minerals.
Alaska’s economy is also dependent upon water transportation, bringing visitors on cruise ships, managing ports and harbors, traveling on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system, and maintaining the equipment and machinery essential to villages, towns and cities.
Through the Maritime Training Center, students can advance from deckhand to third mate, preparing to handle responsibilities of limited-tonnage vessels and take on duties of an officer or owner.
The Qualified Member of the Engine Department credential offers students additional opportunities to advance in the maritime industry.