Coastal Class: Marblehead Marine Tech Students Learn How Boat Engines Work

Photo: Brooke McCarthy / WBZ NewsRadio

MARBLEHEAD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The coastal town of Marblehead is known for its sailing and boating culture, which is why students at the local high school are getting some firsthand experience tinkering with boat turbines.

Marblehead Public Schools students enrolled in John Payne's Marine Tech class are finding out what makes a boat's engine tick. WBZ's Brooke McCarthy was there to see the students troubleshooting a broken one, checking for proper fuel delivery. The class even accepts customers who need engine repairs.

"The kids love it, most of the time they're not sitting at a desk here. They're over in the shop area, getting their hands dirty working on stuff— taking stuff apart. The customer gets a discount, all they do is pay for parts and a minimum usage fee. Customers love it, most of them are saying 'I wish I had this when I was in school,'" Payne said.

According to the class website, Payne has worked in marine repair and tech business for over three decades with most of his experience involving diesel engine repair. In the beginning, students are taught the proper safety procedures and good shop practices. Heading into second quarter, the class takes on engine theory, dissembling the machines to put them back together later on.

"Kids learn about engines: how engines work, what they do, and how to repair them. The endgame of the whole thing is troubleshooting," Payne said.

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It's a good thing for the community too, as Marblehead, and the broader east coast of Massachusetts, has a high demand for boat repair technicians. Payne says he hopes students will develop skills to take away from the class, in the marine industry or in whatever they choose to do.

Students like Kiernan Moss say the class is certainly doing just that.

"If your car isn't starting, instead of needing to pay some guy to fix it— you can do it yourself and it's really useful," Moss said.

Sophomore Jared Kaplowitch had to concur, explaining that the skills expand even into the household domain.

"It helps you fix basic things at home, like something simple, you can figure it out based on the things Mr. Payne has taught us," Kaplowitch said.

WBZ's Brooke McCarthy (@BrookeWBZ) reports.

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