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Student boat mechanics given $20,000 boat engine to hone technical skills

Posted at 8:07 PM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-21 09:48:38-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- If you love Southwest Florida, chances are you’ve been on a boat or two. But like any machine, they have problems that need to be fixed.

But it turns out the problem is there aren’t enough boat technicians in the area to fix boats. The Fort Myers Technical College Marine Service program is looking to fix that. They have more than a dozen students who are passionate about boating and want to fix that problem.

“They love boats and boating and they want to be around the water,” Program Instructor, Mike Esterline. “All the other dealers are in need of technicians, it’s a big shortage.”

Esterline explained that SWFL is one of the boating capitals in the nation. With this program, when there’s a problem with a boat, his guys will be able to fix it.

Simone Martinez is one of those guys, he waiting a while to get into the program. He gives it credit for changing his life.

“I was on a 6-month waiting list and so luckily they called me a week before class started and I was so excited,” Martinez said.

Another bonus to the program, boating manufacturers, like Evinrude Boat Motors, donated a $20,000 engine so students will have a more advanced model to work on.

“So it’s great to get a brand new G2 to check out and train on, The students that come to this program want to be in this field,” Esterline said.

It’s the hands-on training they enjoy, plus it’s something they feel proud doing.

“It’s awesome to see something back on the water, that I prepared,” said Martinez.