Ethan Walz learned about the Marine Trades Association of Maryland’s (MTAM) six-week On-the-Job Training Program in 2015, after graduating from high school, from a neighbor who had run the rigging department at Port Annapolis in the past. Walz is now beginning his fourth year with the business. 

Ethan Walz started four years ago doing marine trades on-the-job training at Port Annapolis Marina.
Ethan Walz started four years ago doing marine trades on-the-job training at Port Annapolis Marina.

“I thought I would try it for a year and I liked it,” he said. “The pay is good, and there’s room to move up.”

Walz reports that his first six weeks at Port Annapolis consisted of learning “boat basics.” “I didn’t know anything about boats,” he admitted. “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 the Port Annapolis’s more senior technicians. He retrieved items from the shop, was instructed on the use of hand tools, and assisted in cleaning bilges. 

Walz has not ceased learning since he joined Port Annapolis. He has earned his Yamaha Service Skills Certificate and is registered to attend Yamaha’s V-engine Systems Course in March of this year. He has plans to complete courses on inline service engines and advanced electrical diagnostics in the future, with the ultimate goal of becoming a Yamaha Master Technician. 

Walz also shared incidental insight he has gained working at Port Annapolis. “I’ve learned a lot about myself in this job—you learn a lot about yourself with a physical labor type job. 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 not hesitate to recommend a career in the boating industry to his friends, but notes the hard work and resolve required to move ahead. “You’ll probably start off with the lift crew hauling and blocking boats. That’s what I did. My advice is to stick with it. Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens.”

The MTAM On-the-Job Training Program is funded by the State of Maryland’s EARN Maryland Grant Program, administered by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.

Marine Trades and Maritime Career Expo

You can learn more about careers in the marine trades at the annual Marine and Maritime Career Expo, February 23 at Annapolis High School.