Successful ports and harbors depend on the efforts of skilled, well qualified employees to operate mooring basins and docks in a professional manner. The training of employees is expensive, more so in Alaska with its vast travel distances. Coupled with limited training budgets, harbors often lack the ability to encourage the career development of their staff members. Career training for ports and marinas is vital to their successful operation.
Several years ago, a group of organizations came together to address the need for professional training of harbor employees. Among these were the University of Alaska Southeast in Sitka and harbormaster associations found in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska. These groups included the Pacific Coast Congress of Harbormasters and Port Managers, Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, Harbour Authority Association of British Columbia and the California Association of Harbormasters and Port Captains.
This partnership resulted in a program that provides training opportunities online in subject areas seen as relevant to effective marina operations. Known as Career Training for Ports and Marinas, goals set for the program were to provide quality education at a reasonable cost, advance staff skills needed for career advancement and help prepare employees to become future harbor and port managers.
Currently there are ten online training courses available to marina employees. Each one takes approximately 15-20 hours to complete and students are given 3 months to finish each class. Students are required to pass a proctored final examination to insure the educational rigor of the program.
Current Career Training for Ports and Marinas Course Offerings:
- Facility Safety
- Marine Structures and Materials
- Oil Spills: Prevention, Preparedness and Response
- Customer Service for Ports and Marinas
- Hazardous Materials and Waste: Risks and Controls
- Fire Safety for Ports and Marinas
- Marina Utilities: Water and Sanitary Sewer
- Harbor Administration
- Harbor Operations and Planning
- Marina Utilities: Electrical Systems
Several of the courses offered can directly benefit the administration and operation of a clean harbors program. Two classes offer training in the safe handling of oil and hazardous materials. Facility and fire safety training helps lessen to effects of unforeseen incidents that can occur in a harbor. Courses are available in harbor operations and customer service; areas were staff interacts with the public to promote clean boating practices.
Courses cost $195 each and the Pacific Coast Congress of Harbormasters and Port Managers offers formal recognition program based on the number of courses completed by a student. The courses provided by the Sitka Campus of the University of Alaska Southeast are interactive and engaging. They represent true value to marinas seeking to provide professional development opportunities for their employees.
There are many affordable staff training programs available to marinas. Formal classroom training should be accompanied with practical hands-on instruction. Here is a Harbor Employee Training Outline that could be modified for use by harbor managers.
More information can be found on the UAS-Stika Career Training for Ports and Marinas website.