Post date: Feb 10, 2014 11:2:27 PM

What does it take to survive working in a marine environment? How do you prepare for emergencies on the water? Students in Deer Isle-Stonington's innovative Marine Studies Pathway participated in ocean survival and cold water immersion training as they earned industry certifications preparing them for a wide range of modern careers in marine industries.

A Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor certification is particularly relevant to the students at Deer Isle-Stonington High School, which serves Maine's leading lobster port. While almost all of the students in the Marine Studies Pathway have worked in the fishing industry, several of the students have or are working towards their commercial lobster license. The Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor certification required in the State of Maine to acquire a commercial lobster license and the safety concepts and survival skills are applicable to any career on the water, including those in marine science, tourism, and recreation. John McMillan of McMillan Offshore Survival Training, and Ocean Survival instructor at Maine Maritime Academy, taught the Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor certificate program.

The cold water safety training for the students in the Marine Studies Pathway was generously funded by both the Island Education Foundation and Maine Maritime Academy's Discovery Voyage college aspirations program.

On Saturday February 8th, 8 students in Deer Isle-Stonington High School's Marine Studies Pathway took to the water to earn a United States Coast Guard-approved Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor safety certification. After a morning of rigorous classroom instruction from a renowned maritime safety expert, students donned survival suits, deployed life rafts, and simulated vessel emergencies in the Maine Maritime Academy pool. The students also spent Friday afternoon and evening on the Maine Maritime Academy campus investigating modern computer assisted engineering processes by using CNC router technology to fabricate a model boat hull in the machine shop. Students explored maritime career opportunities, simulated navigation scenarios, and learned basic ocean survival skills in the pool on Friday evening.

For more information about the Marine Studies Pathway, visit

For more information about Maine Maritime Academy, visit


About the Marine Studies Pathway:The Marine Studies Pathway at Deer Isle-Stonington High School is new kind of learning experience designed to engage and inspire today’s students, while equipping them with the practical skills they will need to succeed in every area of adult life. Students in the Marine Studies Pathway program will learn in the community, on the shore, and on the water, working alongside teachers, scientists, fishermen, and local marine professionals. They will acquire the knowledge, skills, and work ethic they will need to succeed in college and in challenging modern careers. Instead of learning only in the classroom, the Marine Studies Pathway blends rigorous academic study with the kinds of real-life experiences that make learning stick. Graduates of the Marine Studies Pathway will earn the same diploma as other Deer Isle-Stonington High School students. And they will achieve the same state and national learning standards as other students—which means they will leave our high school prepared to succeed in college and whatever careers they may choose.