NORFOLK, Va. - The Mid Atlantic Maritime academy takes students through a rigorous four week boot camp that guides students to a maritime career on the deck of a ship or below as an engineer.
22-year-old Alexis Black is a member of the academy’s sixth class.
“I was just working at McDonalds,” she said.
Tired of flipping burgers at McDonald’s, now she has bigger dreams of becoming an engineer.
“You start out as a wiper, so hopefully soon you will see me in the engine room wiping,” Black said.
Students learn skills from firefighting, to working as a deck hand.
They go from a simulation room to putting their training in action.
Anthony Crenshaw, in his fifties, is one of the oldest in his class.
“My name is Anthony I am 52 years old and my nickname is Gramps,” Crenshaw said.
“I had been in the telecommunications industry for about 20 years and with the downsizing and the buyouts basically I needed a change,” he said.
Looking for something more stable Crenshaw decided to try his sea legs.
“The maritime industry is not downsizing it’s not changing it’s more like a trucking industry on the water,” Crenshaw said.
The program is open to anyone 18 and older, with no prior experience needed.