Justin Hart, 2017 Marine Service Technician Graduate
Marine Technician at Burr Brothers Boat, Inc.
“Justin has been a pleasure to work with. His attention to detail and commitment to his craft have made him a great asset to the company. He was trained well, and it showed from his first day on the job.”
Ryan DeCosta, Mechanical Foreman
Deciding I would switch careers was such a huge gamble.
I was an EMT, first working in EMS, and then in the hospital. I could have gone into nursing and made more money.
I grew up fishing; my Dad had a boat.
I wondered if I could turn my passion for boating into earning a living. I wanted to go to work each day to do something I really enjoy.
Originally I thought work at Marinas might just be during the summer.
I wouldn’t want to be laid off from work each winter.
I learned there is a big demand for trained Marine Technicians.
There are tons of jobs, especially as workers are retiring—and they are year round.
I counted on going to school where I could get the skills and education to be successful.
If I was going to spend the money, I wanted a good education—not to leave school with just a debt.
I chose MTTI because I would get more ‘bang for the buck’ than at another school.
I was impressed when I visited the shop. There were engines everywhere and tools lined up, ready for me to work with. I would even have my own tool bench.
I was excited to learn from someone who had real experience turning a wrench.
During the program, we didn’t just talk about working on boats. We worked hands-on, taking engines apart, putting them back together and making them run.
It was a little tough for me in the beginning.
I was learning to use tools I had never used before. I had done some maintenance on my own car—but when a boat engine makes a certain sound, or it’s a ‘no-start’ situation, there are so many possibilities. We learned how to think through and troubleshoot problems on many different engines and systems.
I knew Burr Brothers Marina had a great reputation.
They provide all services from bow to stern. The boats are beautiful. When I saw online that they were hiring a mechanic, I applied and got an interview. They liked my passion for the marine industry.
MTTI’s training prepared me to continue my education on-the-job.
The foreman shows me how to do things properly. The company has the potential to send me to factory trainings to earn additional certifications.
We work year-round.
Right now we are commissioning boats. We make sure each boat is ready for the customer—turn-key to operate and clean. Going from one boat to another, I check fluids, lights, toilets and navigation systems and make sure couplings are properly aligned and tight. After the boat checks out, we take it out for a sea trial.
Every boat is different; each one is a new challenge.
Crawling into small spaces to access different essential systems on boats—like water pumps or vacuflush systems—can be difficult. I am learning where all the systems are, and how to gain access to them. Because Burr Brothers tries to keep their technicians on the same customer’s boat year-to-year, I’ll know better next year where things are.
When you solve a problem it’s a proud moment.
Troubleshooting issues can be a challenge, but it’s totally worth it. Once you find out what’s wrong, it’s like a touch-down.
I just completed my first HamiltonJet (waterjet propulsion)—took it apart and put it back together.
Each part has to be tested for continuity and sprayed to prevent salt water corrosion. Parts have to fit together with everything touching to meet tight clearance tolerances. When the performance during the sea trial was excellent, I felt proud of what I accomplished.
What we learned in the program prepared me to work in the industry.
My instructor and the school owner, Ward, had the experience and patience to show me the steps. Learning to use tools properly, becoming familiar with different fuel systems and steering, and how an engine works, built up my knowledge and experience. If I hadn’t taken MTTI’s program, when asked on the job to ‘check the engine and make sure it is ready to run’, I wouldn’t have known where to start.
I love the work and the people I work with at Burr Brothers.
Someone is always there to help me do things right. I’m learning a lot—and it is a fun environment. The technology is always changing. It’s a career field in which I will never get bored.
People ask me what it is like to be happy with what you do for work.
I tell them the gamble to train for a marine tech career paid off—I definitely hit the lottery!
Photo: Mechanical Foreman, Ryan DeCosta with Justin Hart