Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School officially launched its new Marine Technology program this semester, making it the school’s 23rd career path and only the fourth such program in Massachusetts.
The students of the 2026 class are the first to be able to study marine engineering. During an appearance this week on WHAV’s morning program, Superintendent Maureen Lynch said Whittier had received state marine technology vocational program approval.
“We have some boats in the building and we have some Wave Runners. Our first-year students are currently going through the exploratory program. We hope they sign up for it later this year so that this becomes their tech field while they are here in Whittier,” she said.
Currently, 306 ninth graders are taking part in Whittier Tech’s exploration program, which requires them to choose a trade route in January. Argelis Vargas, a freshman from Haverhill, said: “I really like my previous experience in the Exploratory Program, especially here at Marine Tech. It is practical. I’m not stuck in a classroom.”
Students who choose Marine Technology are expected to learn how to operate, repair, rebuild and install shipboard systems, as well as hull maintenance and repair, sailcloth fabrication and repair, gas and diesel engine operation and repair, and welding and precision metal fabrication.
In addition, students who complete the program earn relevant certifications, learn how to operate a boat safely, and earn their boat license. During their final year, students have the opportunity to earn their captain’s licenses.
Speaking about the benefits of this new program, Superintendent Maureen Lynch said: “The shipping industry has many opportunities. We hope our new program will connect students to these many well-paying jobs and career opportunities. Extending this program to day students was a collaborative effort of faculty, community partners, and many others.”
Whittier Tech has been offering Marine Service Technology through its nightly adult education program since summer 2021 with support from the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association and donations from Yamaha. The program trained three classes of unemployed or underemployed workers for entry-level jobs, and graduates passed the Yamaha certification test and earned a certificate of initiation to outboard systems.
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Massachusetts’ recreational boating industry has a $4.4 billion economic impact and employs more than 20,000 people, despite severe labor shortages in Massachusetts and across the state.