Set a course for adventure ...
The campus lighthouse at Kingsborough Community College. (Photo via Megapickle on Flickr)
John Kostick arrived at Kingsborough Community College Tuesday expecting to take a campus tour. Instead, the prospective student wound up spending two hours on a boat observing the hands-on training of 24 students in the schools maritime technology program who were recreating a rescue mission with the help of a Coast Guard helicopter.
I came to see the college, to check out courses, said Kostick, who wore an orange life vest as he stood on board of a boat floating in quiet waters between Manhattan Beach and Rockaway Point. They asked if I wanted to see their hands-on training.
Kostik, 48, of Manhattan, is one of many people turning to the maritime technology program for what he hopes will be a career change. He said he drove trucks for 16 years and now works as a tour guide on a double-deck bus.
Ive always worked a lot, Kostick said. I pushed my education behind. He said he likes outside work and believes there are good paying jobs in maritime trade.Tony DiLernia, director of the maritime program, said there are more job offers than graduates in the field of maritime technology. This year, there are 75 people enrolled in the program, which offers an associates degree over four semesters. With such a degree, graduates can seek employment on the waterways of New York as captains on dinner boats, sightseeing trips, water taxis and high-speed ferries.
My father works for Staten Island Ferry, my grandfather worked for Staten Island Ferry. said Joe Rode, 18, of Staten Island. I will get my degree next year and will work for the ferry, too.
Rode participated in the rescue-mission exercise together with 24 other students, as part of a hands-on training conducted at the school each year. This time, the students had to work with a helicopter that dropped a high-pressure pump to be used on a distressed vessel. The students practiced grounding pumps and pulling them back to helicopter.
It was great, said Rode. The Coast Guard helicopter came, water splashed. It was fun!
This is very interesting, gracious. said Kostick, who observed the exercise from a second boat along with program staff and some of last years graduates. I am impressed with the faculty and the program.
The maritime-technology program is the only one of its kind that offers graduates brown-water licenses without military training. These licenses qualify them to pilot boats in coastal waters, harbors and rivers. Students earn 250 days of sea time while in school, and some, such as James Canham, 49, a retired fireman, work for companies such as New York Water Taxi while earning their degree.
Kostick, who already earned dozens of credits from Hostos Community College in South Bronx, said he is thinking of transferring them to Kingsborough College.
I am very impressed here. You get actual skills. Kostick said. Now I need to discuss it with my wife.
-- Katya Soldak