Ethan Walz began the Marine Trade Association of Maryland’s six-week on-the-job training program in 2015. He learned about it after graduating from high school from his neighbor who had run Port Annapolis in the past.
“I thought I would try it for a year, and I liked it,” Walz said in a statement. “The pay is good, and there’s room to move up.”
Now Walz is starting his fourth year with Port Annapolis. He said his first six weeks at Port Annapolis consisted of learning “boat basics.”
“I didn’t know anything about boats,” he said. “I was just looking for a job, so I’m lucky I landed this.”
He quickly became familiar with what he referred to as boat “lingo” through helping Port Annapolis’ senior technicians. He retrieved items from the shop, was instructed on the use of hand tools and helped in cleaning bilges.
Walz has since earned his Yamaha Service Skills Certificate and is registered to attend Yamaha’s V-engine Systems Course in March. He plans to complete courses on in-line service engines and advanced electrical diagnostics in the future, with the ultimate goal of becoming a Yamaha Master Technician.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself in this job — you learn a lot about yourself with a physical labor type job,” Walz said. “It’s also given me an understanding of how a business works and how to work with people. Not all people are people-people.”
Walz said he would recommend a career in the boating industry to his friends but notes that it requires hard work and resolve to move ahead.
“You’ll probably start off with the lift crew hauling and blocking boats,” Walz said. “That’s what I did. My advice is to stick with it. Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens.”
The training program is funded by the EARN Maryland Grant Program and administered by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.