Remote coastal Alaska communities rely on commercial and recreational watercraft for commercial fishing, subsistence harvesting, and transportation in places where professional repair services are expensive or not readily available. To help, Alaska Sea Grant developed a training program, piloted in 2020 at the UAF Bristol Bay campus, for boaters in the Bristol Bay region on the basic maintenance, troubleshooting and repair of vessel electrical systems.
The class, Introduction to Marine DC Electrical Systems, teaches the basics of DC electricity, how to size wires and make connections correctly, and the importance of proper circuit protection. The training includes innovative simulators designed by Gabe Dunham, Alaska Sea Grant Fishery Specialist, that replicate typical marine electrical systems, allowing students to practice wiring four circuits commonly found on large and small boats, including a battery switch, bilge pump, navigation lights, and a fan.
Since 2015, Alaska Sea Grant has worked with the UAF Bristol Bay Campus and other regional partners to reduce cost of ownership and increase operational safety for owners and operators of small and medium-sized boats by developing a suite of maritime technical training workshops. These include training in diesel engines and hydraulics, refrigeration, and outboard engine repair.Boaters and others interested in these training opportunities should contact Tav Ammu, Alaska Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Program agent for the Bristol Bay region, whose work includes teaching and facilitating commercial crewmember and business skills training for fishers, marine safety training, and welding classes.