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34 Graduate From VIPCA Youth Training Marine Programs

34 Graduate From VIPCA Youth Training Marine Programs

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — VIPCA graduated 12 students age 18-29 years from the five-week VIPCA Marine Apprenticeship at the St. Thomas Yacht Club in June.

VIPCA also graduated 22 students age 13-17 years from the two-week Junior Sailing Summer Camp at the St. Thomas Yacht Club.

It was VIPCA’s aim since its beginning to boost employment with recruitment made locally by creating training opportunities in the marine industry in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Funding is raised annually through VIPCA’s charity arm with fiscal sponsorship by the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands.

You can donate to support any of VIPCA’s training programs at this link: and by specifying that your donation is for the “Marine Rebuild Fund.”

Photo: Benjamin Tshenda-Berry at the helm of Lady Lynsey under sail with 58 passengers.

During the VIPCA Marine Apprenticeship each candidate learned to swim, manoeuvre a variety of vessels under power and sail, navigate, practice preventative marine maintenance on diesel engines and outboards, discover scuba-diving, complete a boating safety Boat US certification and complete the 5-day STCW Basic Training which includes first aid and CPR, firefighting, sea survival and personal safety. 

“Congratulations to our newest Marine ambassadors, now representing the best of our VI, to the world. You have an incredible opportunity now before you and I urge you to seize it, and enjoy the journey” said Peter Holmberg, Olympic Silver Medalist in sailing born and raised in St. Thomas.

Photo: VIPCA Marine Apprenticeship graduation sunset sail.

Osayande Francis was a 2021 graduate of the Marine Apprenticeship who works with Seas the Day charters, and is just 70 days from obtaining his captains license which is to be sponsored by VIPCA.

“I’ll be getting my captain’s license soon and I’ll be able to be a success story,” he said. “Virgin Islands children are out here now learning a lot more about the waters and being able to expand into this industry. It’s an amazing program that has allowed me to step out into these waters and start making a life for myself.”

The Marine Apprentices are now looking for work in the industry as deck hands or crew with the objective to gain sea-time and then to take the test for their OUPV, then Master captains licenses under VIPCA’s continued sponsorship.

Photo: Junior Sailing Summer Camp students with instructors at the St. Thomas Yacht Club.

If you know of any recruitment opportunities, whether it be immediate or for the start of next season, please contact Oriel Blake at for the graduated apprentices contact details, and act fast since they are ALL highly employable, hard-working, strongly-motivated, skilled seafarers with outstanding customer service and positive attitudes.

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