Bosun Sees Great Progress at Union-Affiliated School


May 2014


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Longtime Seafarer Encourages Fellow Members to Upgrade


Recertified Bosun Terry Murphy has a message for any Seafarers who are hesitant to attend the SIU-affiliated school in Piney Point, Md.


“Don’t be afraid to go to the school,” said Murphy, a frequent upgrader who completed the trainee program in 1971. “From the time you’re picked up at the airport until you’re dropped off afterward, it’s like a well-oiled machine. I just can’t say enough about all the help you get there.”

He refers to the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education. Founded in 1967, the center offers comprehensive vocational training including an apprentice program, upgrading courses for people from all three shipboard departments, and firefighting and safety classes. Overall more than 70 U.S. Coast Guard-approved courses are available.


The school also offers academic support and certified programs through which students may earn high school diplomas or two-year college degrees.


But it wasn’t always the thorough, “well-oiled machine” Murphy described. The school began modestly, on what had been a torpedo-testing facility run by the Navy. In those early years, both the curriculums and the campus were quite basic.


Murphy has seen much of the school’s progress since then firsthand. He’s been back at least a dozen times, most recently for safety and security refreshers earlier this year. Along the way, he observed as courses were added, new buildings were constructed, and top-notch training equipment was installed. Those milestones included the opening of a world-class marine firefighting and safety school in 1999 located on a nearby satellite campus (and named for Joey Sacco, a popular and effective SIU executive vice president who passed away in 1996).


“It’s just been phenomenal every time I come back here,” Murphy said while at the southern Maryland campus in March. “It’s very modern and the curriculums are made to order. They’ve gone through so many changes – so much growth and improvement. There’s tutoring available and a great library system…. I remember having classes on barges. We’ve come a long way.”


Murphy, 63, added, “I also have nothing but good things to say about the union. I owe the SIU so much for letting me live this life, this career.”


He sees the Paul Hall Center as a crucial component of that career, and believes the school offers the same opportunities for advancement to all Seafarers willing to take advantage of them.


“I always tell people to upgrade, keep advancing, don’t get stuck in an entry rating,” added Murphy, who completed recertification in 1987. “You can go from wiper to engineer, ordinary to master, messman to steward.


“People should take advantage of the school. It’s built for you, it’s there for you.”



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