The Triton


No Triton networking on Oct. 5. CANCELLED due to Hurricane Matthew

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Date(s) - Oct 5, 2016
06:00 pm - 08:00 pm

Maritime Professional Training (MPT)


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No Triton networking on Oct. 5. CANCELLED due to Hurricane Matthew

MPT has been around more than 30 years and will host a grand opening celebration for its new classroom and simulation building in late October.

Until then, learn more about the school from its founders’ children: Amy, Lisa and Ted Morley.

  • Tell us about MPT.

Lisa: We are the largest private maritime school in the country. We have grown up alongside our students. We like to ask people “Have you seen us lately?” Some students haven’t seen us since we were in Pink City, back when it was just mom and dad and Amy 30 years ago. Now, we have over 61,000 square feet of classrooms, labs and simulation, with over 100 full-time and adjunct professors.

Amy: I remember that in the Pink City days, we had one radar simulator. Now we have an entire campus dedicated to the most modern ship simulation available.

  • What would surprise people to learn about MPT?

Lisa: That we are still a private, family-owned and -operated school, and that we offer everything from interior courses — which are fully PYA and GUEST accredited – to dynamic positioning and unlimited tonnage programs.

Amy: That’s important because we are such a diversified company. There’s virtually not a segment of the industry that we don’t work with. We have the right people teaching the right audience, yachting and unlimited tonnage. That’s what sets MPT apart from any other school that I can think of.

Lisa: And we’re here for their entire career. They can do their basic training and come back as they move up the chain to do their operational courses all the way through to unlimited tonnage management courses.

  • That unlimited tonnage isn’t just for commercial, is it?

Lisa: No. Yachting is starting to recognize the value of having no limit on their tonnage. We graduated our first Marshall Islands Unlimited Master of Yachts last year, and have two more ready to graduate. About 20 more students are in the pipeline.

Amy: Capstone is a one-week <<ITAL>>exam<<ITAL>>, not a one-week <<ITAL>>course<<ITAL>>. It takes 26 weeks of study to prepare for that test. This is truly designed for the elite of the elite in the yachting industry. The Cayman Islands just accepted the CEC accreditation for a Master of Yachts Unlimited Master, too.

  • You broke ground on your new building about this time two years ago. How is that going?

Lisa: It’s done. It’s 25,000 additional square feet of the latest technology available.

Ted: It has dynamic positioning labs, radar labs, ECDIS labs, three full-mission simulators, and a whole wing of engineering classrooms and machine shops and a peripheral systems labs. We have to stay on the cutting edge to make sure mariners are adequately prepared for the jobs they seek.

  • What do you wish all crew understood about maritime coursework?

Amy: The regulatory code of standards is created by the IMO, which is part of the United Nations. Every signatory country gets one vote. That’s it. The U.S. gets one vote. There are 133 countries involved. Schools have absolutely no ability to influence that process whatsoever.

It is then the schools’ and industry’s role to review the regulations and assist governing bodies in fairly implementing them. Many times, they propose something that really isn’t practical. We stand up for the mariner and are often the voice of reason for the mariner.

Ted: The schools also know what can and can’t be trained. Sometimes, the schools are actually the ones telling the regulatory bodies that certain aspects of training and assessments can be best accomplished onboard the vessel as part of their daily jobs.

Amy: Mariners need to remember that while there are always new regulations, there are also older requirements that become obsolete. For example, it used to require 26 weeks of classes to get OICNW in 2002. Now, about two-thirds of that mandatory training is gone.

Ted: Security is a bigger issue today than it was 20 years ago. Boats are bigger, crews are larger, hence the leadership training. And these boats are more complex than ever before.

Amy: The thought of being an officer and having all of that responsibility on a huge yacht with no formal training would terrify me. There is so much more to being an officer or captain than being skilled at driving the boat. It’s everything else required to operate a vessel that you need training for, the technology, the legal knowledge, the maritime skills, and of course the management and leadership.

The Morleys: Amy, Lisa and Ted

The Morleys: Amy, Lisa and Ted

Ted: We take this very seriously, because if the mariner can’t get their coursework done, they are out of a job. That’s another reason we wanted to expand, to better serve mariners so they can get through their classes and get to work.

  • You’ll agree, though, that paper tickets don’t make the master, right?

Amy: Brick-and-mortar schooling is just a fraction of a mariner’s overall career training. Every mariner needs a mentor, and their onboard training is critical. There’s a reason every license requires sea time. That sea time is supposed to give you experience. But it’s not enough. And school training is not enough. It takes both pieces to make a competent mariner.

  • What’s so special about your simulators?

Ted: Having access to full-mission simulators really sets us apart. Captains who are hiring a new first officer can whittle it down to two or three and put them in the simulator to see how they react. It’s a virtual vetting program. It allows anyone — insurance companies, captains, management companies — to evaluate a candidate.

Everyone can look good on paper. How do you know who’s better at handling certain things until you see them in that environment? Can you trust them on watch at night? How well do they follow the SOPs? After a certain amount of time in the simulator, all the physical characteristics start to show. Your heart rate goes up, you can begin to sweat, you can even get seasick.

The evaluator tells us what they want to test for, and we create the environment, from the size of the vessel, twin screw or pods, the area of operation, and what skills they are most concerned about such as maneuvering in heavy traffic, managing a tidal area, Med mooring, things like that. We can put them through a man overboard; do they know what to do? Or a fire. They train for that, but can they manage in the heat of the moment?

  • Can you offer a little career advice for crew just starting out?

Amy: Yachting is an industry without limits. I encourage every yachtie to see it as a long-term career choice, not just a gap year or to see the world. And I encourage all crew not to look at training at what is necessary by law, but to do what’s necessary to feel confident to do your job.

When someone applies for a job as a stew or a deckhand, there’s a lot to it. Start with the right foundation, but always be training for your next job. Be as indispensable as possible. Be that person where it’s a big problem if you aren’t there.

And don’t wait. If you’re working as a deckhand, getting your sea time, don’t wait until you think you might want to move up to take classes. By then, you’ll have to cram all your training in. Take a course or two a year while you’re earning sea time. It’ll make you more valuable on board in your current job, and the captain will notice that you have more interest in advancement.

Ted: And the captain may give you more wheelhouse time, and more mentoring.

Amy: This is not unique to yachting. All of us in business look at our employees and say who is the next person to move up. Speak to a counselor, not just the person in the bunk next to you, because the requirements for someone in school now are different from someone who took their courses in the past or for someone starting in January. Take the time to talk to a career counselor at whatever school you attend.

Ted: We’re not a crew placement agency or a management company. Our services are specific to helping crew get that better job. Our focus is on mariners as a student and making them better at their job. No one here works on commission, there is no bonus structure, whether crew talk to us for 5 minutes or 45 minutes.

That’s one of the things our dad talked about, making a change. He had a formal education, earning an engineering degree in college and wanted to bring that same level of structure, professionalism and quality education to our industry. He vowed to do it better, making mariners better. And we’re carrying on his legacy.

Join The Triton on Oct. 5 from 6-8 p.m. at MPT, 1900 S. Andrews Ave. in Ft. Lauderdale (33315). No RSVP necessary; just bring business cards and be prepared to meet new people. Until then, learn more about MPT at

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About Lucy Chabot Reed

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher and founding editor of The Triton.

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