Dozens of South Louisiana middle and high school students eager to learn about careers in the maritime industry enjoyed a cool, windy day on the mighty Mississippi River in St. Bernard Parish recently at the first-of-its-kind Maritime Field Trip.
The daylong field trip was organized and coordinated by a group of maritime industry partners and featured Crescent River Port Pilots. The educational trip taught the students the importance of river safety and the dramatic impact mariners have on ensuring the secure and timely flow of America’s supply chain with consumers’ much-needed cargo and commodities arriving and departing one of the longest and most treacherous waterways in the world.
A total of 47 students, aged 10 to 16 years old, came from the New Orleans metro area as well as from around Southeast Louisiana including Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Franklin, New Iberia, Zachary and Port Allen.
The prospective future mariners learned about the various maritime careers, tying nautical knots to secure docking ships on the riverfront, practicing climbing to simulate pilots who use challenging rope ladders to access large vessels in the middle of the river, and tossing life preservers as part of their safety training.
“Getting young people interested in maritime careers now not only benefits the students and expands their knowledge of our challenging industry, but it will significantly assist our riverfront partners in future job recruiting efforts as we search for new, bright and aspiring mariners,” said Crescent River Port Pilots Association (CRPPA) Capt. Roy Vance, who organized the daylong maritime educational event.
The highlight of the Saturday Maritime Field Trip was a river tour from the Associated Terminals dock in St. Bernard where the students boarded crew boats in which they experienced real-life adventures in the challenging currents of the Mississippi River.
“Providing a hands-on experience on the river for students considering a future in the maritime industry is the best way for them to learn the real challenges on the water and the importance that the industry and our river have on not only our local communities but on the global economy as well,” St. Bernard Port Board Member Capt. Jeanne Ferrer said.
This first ever Maritime Field Trip, which was open to all interested students in Southeast Louisiana, was made possible by a partnership with the CRPAA, the New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilot Association, the St. Bernard Port Harbor & Terminal District and Associated Terminals. Organizers say the maritime field trip was such a success that they are planning another similar event for the near future.
Caption for top photo: From left: Ky Robillard, 6th grader. Louisiana Key Academy, Baton Rouge; Jamaree Washington, 9th grader, Franklin Senior High School, Franklin; Jordan Savoy, 9th grader, Lafayette High School, Lafayette; Joseph Mitchell, 8th grader, Iberia Middle School, New Iberia; and Gabrielle Adams, 8th grader, Louisiana Key Academy, Baton Rouge.