Boat building class gets $16K grant

A maritime trade program for students at South Kitsap High School is receiving a $16,000 grant.

The South Kitsap School District announced Jan. 13 its high school was awarded a Core Plus Maritime Program Grant. Core Plus, which helps educate Washington students in aerospace, construction and maritime trades, designated $350,000 this past year for grants to distribute to different schools.

The district said the grant will be used to purchase supplies and equipment for its Boat Building and Marine Technology course.

The course puts students to work designing and building their own boat, an 8-foot dinghy, that they are able to take home at the end of the course. Finn said with students living near one of the biggest maritime hubs in the country, this type of work can expose them to future job opportunities.

“What the course is doing is teaching good working skills through the use of building boats,” instructor Jeff Winn said. “It also introduces students to all the different career types that are available in the maritime industry beyond that of just the shipyard across the way.”

Cost of supplies can put a strain on what “super spendy” programs like this can offer. It was this reason among others that Finn applied for the grant. “Every kid gets to leave with a boat that they made themselves, and it didn’t cost them a penny. That’s the major push for me to find this grant because it’s not a cheap program to run.”

Finn said the course gives each student the chance to build up their character, as he acknowledged how difficult and rewarding the course can be at the same time. “When they get out of their own head, and they just really try to become problem solvers, they find a way to make it work.”