I remember the day the thought occurred to me that I may wrap up my career and take some time to go to IYRS. It would be a big change; I’d spent most of the last 30+ years working as a software engineer and also as a teacher. There was some uncertainty around what I’d do after finishing the Marine Systems program at IYRS, and along with that came no small amount of unease.
After agonizing over the idea for months, and then weeks, and then finally a weekend, it came down to a shrug of my shoulders and the thought that well, we tell our kids to relentlessly pursue their passions and so I suppose I shall as well. No regrets would be an understatement, IYRS has exceeded my expectations in every possible way!
My three instructors bring a wealth of knowledge and practical experience. The shop and classroom are a place of safety. Curiosity is encouraged, and no prior experience is necessary. My classmates include young people just starting out, others later in life like myself, and everything in between. We all share a deep interest in the maritime trades, and coming to school every day is a joy.
The staff at the school have an excellent network. We’ve had numerous field trips to boat yards, electronics shops, and suppliers. We’ve had a seemingly unending visit of guest speakers, a Career Day filled with employers coming from Maine to California, and no less than 3 regional vice presidents showed up one day from Safe Harbor. We also had the pleasure of Al Thomason, co-founder of Wakespeed, and prominent ABYC contributor, spending a day with us.
IYRS gives you the opportunity to enter the maritime trades with world-class fundamental training. I am wrapping up my time in the program with an independent project while many of my classmates pursue externships. My project is a CAD drawing of a Lithium based electrical upgrade, a project which I also intend to implement on my own boat. Just 6 months ago, I never would have imagined I could do it.
My fellow students are all taking their own paths after the program. Some to Maine, others to the Caribbean, and some staying local to follow in the footsteps of the master boat builders that make up so much of the rich history of Rhode Island’s waterfront. It’s wise to take your time in making the decision to come to IYRS, but once you have made it, know that there will be a world of opportunity for you to pursue.