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College Hunting - Naval Architect Style

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#1 B.J. Porter

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:09 PM

So my sixteen year old son is starting to look at colleges. He is a junior in high school, we are boat schooling him with the Keystone School curriculum and he will receive a real high school diploma. He will be taking several AP courses (Physics & English this year, English and Calculus next year). His grades are solid but not perfect, he takes the PSAT this Saturday so we don't have much by way of standardized testing to work with yet.

 

He wants to design boats for a living, specifically small boats and sail craft. Some of you may remember a thread I started a while ago with some of his projects...since then he's come a long way. He's not specifically interested in designing things like tankers and so on, and a program focused on that without the opportunity to explore small craft would not be appropriate.

 

So I am starting this thread here because this is where the boat design wonks on SA tend to congregate. We can get a certain amount of information from Google and college web sites, but I am hoping to also get some insight here from more industry people (Will and Bob have been in touch, but I know there are others here!) as well as any alumni or people that are familiar with other programs I've missed.

 

In the U.S. we've come across a few programs, they seem to break out into colleges, maritime academies, and some that seem more trade focused; you may not come away with a reasonably rounded four year undergraduate degree from them. He's not as of now interested in a career in the merchant marine, but rather wants to be involved in the design and building of small boats which concerns me about the Maritime schools. USCG Academy and US Naval Academy offer programs as well, but I do not think this is what he is looking for given the consequent commitment to military service after graduation.

 

"Schools"

U. Michigan

U. New Orleans

Texas A&M Galveston

Webb Institute (seems really small...information is spares)

Stevens Institute of Technology (is this a for-profit school?)

Virginia Tech (I think this is more focused on ships & engineering)

MIT (I include this since they list a major, but do not think he will have a shot at admission)

 

Maritime Academies

Mass Maritime

SUNY Maritime

Kings Point

 

Trade?

Maine Maritime Academy

 

International (We're not set on North America since we're not even there, but English Speaking...Osaka University is not an option!)

 

University of New South Wales

British Columbia Institute of Technology

Memorial University of Newfoundland

Newcastle University

University of Strathclyde

University of Southhampton

 

We also considered keeping him on board with us for another year or two while doing Westlawn correspondence before sending him off for a conventional degree, but as much as I'd love to keep him cruising with us I do not think that is the best alternative if one of these programs is more appropriate.

 

So...anyone with any insight in how to propel my son forward onto the design team for the 40th America's Cup or a career building performance cruising yachts...speak up!  Any and all insight to any of these schools and programs or others is appreciated.



#2 zedboy

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:40 PM

My dad went to Webb, I think he was class of '63. He liked it, though he never worked as an NA. Never drew any sailboats - I saw all his old drawings. Back then the curriculum required a co-op in a shipyard rotating through all the different jobs, and a tour in the merchant marine (he sailed to Africa and up the Congo!) ... but it's possible things have changed in the 50 years since then so better call them and ask :-)

 

Major plus for Webb: it's fully endowed.

 

I think the typical freshman class size is like 20 or less so make sure that's what you want...



#3 SemiSalt

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:51 PM

Stevens Institute of Technology (is this a for-profit school?)

 

 

A highly respected school of engineering, and well known as the site of the Davidson test tank.

http://www.stevens.e...cms/Facilities/

 

Stevens has the advantage (?) of a wonderful view of NYC. My brother-in-law is an alumnus. If you want more info, contact me off-line. 



#4 Bob Perry

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:05 PM

college?



#5 Rasputin22

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:10 PM

Don't let college get in the way of your education. More true for yacht design than ever. Keep him focused on the Westlawn studies while you have him with you cruising on the boat and then maybe consider a year at The Landing School. Then apprentice him to Bob for a summer. Got to have a thick skin in this business.



#6 B.J. Porter

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:14 PM

college?

 

It's this place where you chase women and drink beer that helps you pad out your resume...



#7 Bob Perry

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:30 PM

This kid has talent and communicates well. He knows sailing and he has a feel for design.

 

If he was my kid I'd advise him to get a degree in mechanical engineering or materials engineering. Let him get a degree that opens up more doors than a degree in yacht design. At some point he might want a real job, with a paycheck.

And, if he has that degree, knows sailing and can draw boats he will be a valuable asset to any design office.

 

I wanted to go to the U of Mich but I had a 1.69 GPA. They didn't even want to let me out of high school. It was quite hard to find a college that would take me. " The world needs ditch diggers Danny." I got into Seattle University, a Jesuit school and the most expensive in town. But I had the band and I could afford to pay for it myself.  I enjoyed it. I did not drink beer but those Catholic girls from out of town were slow runners.



#8 Kirwan

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 05:59 PM

I'm a graduate of Michigan (ME + EE), and knew several people in the Naval Architecture program.  I dated a girl that was dual major NA and Aero, so she could design sailboats.  Last I heard, she was modeling the cooling water intake for a navy ship.   But that was a long time ago, the building that had the towing tank now belongs to the art department or something, so I don't know what the program is like anymore - but I have nothing but fond memories of my time at UM.

 

That said, I like the idea of getting a more general degree, such as Mechanical Engineering.  The kid can minor in boats, but the broader background will be very useful in the real world.



#9 Paul Romain Tober

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:12 PM

My dad went to Webb, I think he was class of '63. He liked it, though he never worked as an NA. Never drew any sailboats - I saw all his old drawings. Back then the curriculum required a co-op in a shipyard rotating through all the different jobs, and a tour in the merchant marine (he sailed to Africa and up the Congo!) ... but it's possible things have changed in the 50 years since then so better call them and ask :-)
 
Major plus for Webb: it's fully endowed.
 
I think the typical freshman class size is like 20 or less so make sure that's what you want...


Smallish world. My father went to Webb and also never worked as a naval architect. He was class of '33 I think. He worked for Met Life his whole career.

Back on topic; I agree with Mr. Perry - a more general purpose engineering degree makes more sense. Boat design doesn't require a whole lot of book learnin'.

Romain

#10 bugger

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:12 PM

United States Naval Academy?

 

 

<ducks>



#11 Brodie

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:16 PM

I went through the Landing School's yacht design program. Based on my experiences and those if my classmates I agree with what several other people have mentioned here: mech or aerospace engineering degree first, from any school that suits him. An engineering degree is always going to be an asset, potentially a big one.

The landing school is a fantastic program. Definitely go and visit the school if you can. But given the state of the economy and the boating world, I'd definitely have a backup plan.

Was just chatting with a broker whose nephew is in a marine engineering program at Florida Atlantic University. Might want to check that one out.

Although I have no personal experience with Westlawn, based on my experience at the Landing School I can't imagine learning that kind of technical stuff not in a classroom setting. The help and feedback from both the teachers and my fellow students was invaluable.

#12 SemiSalt

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:18 PM

 Last I heard, she was modeling the cooling water intake for a navy ship.

 

That's like getting a computer science degree and getting put in charge of the icons for Microsoft Word.

 

No offense to the world's small craft designers, but I've never seen any technical requirement that would stump a garden variety mechanical engineer. Perhaps that's because any decent engineering program is pretty intense.



#13 Mr. Fixit's brother,, Mr. Fixit

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:23 PM

My son is in about the same spot as yours BJ.  Honor Roll Junior taking plenty of AP courses and wants to design sailboats. And wants a school that has a sailing team.  After looking at all the US Schools programs we have likely come up with the same conclusion as what Mr. Perry suggests.  Get a good ME from a good school with possibly a concentration in Materials and then later in life if you want to, take the Westlawn course or some other avenue.  We visited Va Tech this summer and attended an 'Introduction to the School of Engineering' presentation.  Nice place, beautiful campus, great program.  Boils down to we're still looking, plan to visit some more schools this spring and summer.

 

 PSAT this weekend so 1st things 1st.



#14 Bob Perry

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:28 PM

Landing School makes a lot of sense. I've had some good interns from there.

Of course I did have the one who went back and said I "abused" him. He was an idiot. I was just honest with him.

 

Tim Kernan went to the Landing School. He interned with me. When he graduated I hired him.



#15 jamhass

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:32 PM

I'm a graduate of Michigan (ME + EE), and knew several people in the Naval Architecture program. 

Go Blue!! (EP/NE)



#16 Expat Canuck

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:42 PM

University of British Columbia (not British Columbia Institute of Technology) has offered Naval Architecture courses as part of the Mechanical Engineering curriculum for years, and have just added a Naval Architecture (graduate level I think) programme.



#17 Brodie

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 07:44 PM

BJ if you or your son wants to chat with me about the landing school etc PM me. I started off as engineering in college (Boston Univ), changed to biology but my roommates were all engineers. The one guy in my year at the LS who had an engineering degree got a job really quickly and I believe is still at the same company 13 years later. He works on large powerboats in SE Florida, I don't know what company.

#18 Mr. Fixit's brother,, Mr. Fixit

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:04 PM

LS looks very interesting.  They have the Yacht Design partnership degree with Southampton Solent, that's where Juan K graduated.



#19 SloopJonB

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:35 PM

Landing School makes a lot of sense. I've had some good interns from there.

Of course I did have the one who went back and said I "abused" him. He was an idiot. I was just honest with him.

 

Tim Kernan went to the Landing School. He interned with me. When he graduated I hired him.

 

I'm suprised they didn't ALL say that. ;)



#20 Bob Perry

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:45 PM

You come to me as an intern at 32 years old and want me to call you "Boo" you bet your sweet ass you're going to get some abuse.



#21 SloopJonB

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 09:54 PM

IMHO you should listen to the Maestro - he doesn't have a degree but teaches college courses on boat design. Olin Stephens didn't have a degree, nor do most of the famous & successful yacht designers. Westlawn &/or Landing school would do the best job of teaching what he wants to know.

 

If a degree is a must, a more general one like Mechanical Engineering would be best. If he takes a degree in Naval Architechture he wil almost certainly end up drawing plumbing schematics for big ships (or something similar)

 

My nephew came to me when he was graduating high school. He wanted to get into computers in college and I had spent my working life in the field. He asked if he should take Computer Science and I said no - take a more general degree, Computer Science will probably only get you a job as a coding clerk. He took Electrical Engineering as a result of that conversation. When he graduated he got a very well paying job designing microcircuits with a local chip manufacturer and made a couple of $million on his shares during the tech bubble - he was 26 or 27.

 

I asked him later if he would have gotten that job with a Computer Science degree and he said no.

 

I think the path your kid wants will be kind of similar.



#22 us7070

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:11 PM

I think mechanical engineering would be a great way to go - useful on its own, and probably a great foundation for yacht design.

 

I am not an engineer, but in grad school I took several classes in the ME dept - very interesting stuff. One of the other grad students in my classes (who was getting an engineering degree) was working on combustion - his work sounded pretty cool. more useful for yacht design would be soild mechanics/material science and fluid mechanics. both are sometimes taught in physics departments, but I think if he's interested in yacht design, it would be better to be in an engineering department.



#23 Bulbhunter

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:24 PM

From the stand point of life long career opportunity - get the general Engineering background first then maybe get a few specialty skills stacked on top of that. All the good and very successful Finance people are Engineers the general Engineering skill set lets you cut through the BS and get to the nuts and bolts of what makes things work or fail - this includes companies!

 

Stack the Marine engineering skill set on the top of the General and he can do anything he wants.



#24 Slim

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:53 PM

U. of Auckland. You can visit when you sail that way.

#25 Slim

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:53 PM

U. of Auckland. You can visit when you sail that way.

#26 Bob Perry

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:07 PM

Slim:
He said he wanted to speak English.



#27 B.J. Porter

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:11 PM

Slim:
He said he wanted to speak English.

 

The guy he was working on that trimaran with was an Aussie...I think there is a translator anyway.  Though he's still way to polite to use the C word so that might not work out for him.  Though he did confess to dropping his first F-bomb a few weeks ago when a bridge he tried to sail under got lowered by the tide on the way back.



#28 Jose Carumba

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:24 PM

Southampton has an interesting looking small craft/yacht design program but I can't vouch for it.

We have 2 Landing School graduates working for us and can't say enough good things about them. We've had another who has moved on and the same sentiment applies.

The Webbies we have had tend to be good to excellent but quirky at times. We have one who worked with Bob in the office currently.

There are 3 Michigan grads in the office who are good solid engineers.

The son of one of our shop superintendants went to the school in Newfoundland and he is doing well in our office.

#29 slap

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:33 PM

The University of Michigan has a good Naval Architecture program, but it is oriented at ships - they offer very little in terms of yacht design.  But it would give you a better background for becoming a Yacht Designer than other engineering degrees.  



#30 Brodie

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:36 PM

You come to me as an intern at 32 years old and want me to call you "Boo" you bet your sweet ass you're going to get some abuse.

 

haha, Bob, Boo was in my class at TLS in 2000.  When you made that comment I had a funny feeling I knew who you were talking about.  He was an interesting guy - I liked him but I can definitely see the two of you not seeing eye to eye on much.  Last I heard he was teaching marine systems at IYRS.

 

I ended up getting a graduate degree in Oceanography with a straight Biology major undergrad (not Marine Bio).  When I was applying to graduate schools I kept hearing that they did NOT want people with specialized undergrad degrees (ie Marine Bio, or NA).  They preferred applicants with broader, general training as you'll get the specific training in grad school (or a voc school, or on the job). So I definitely agree with staying general for undergrad.



#31 Mud sailor

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:04 AM

Don't get confused between the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University. Uni of Southampton has a degree in Naval Arch, Southampton Solent has a degree in Yacht Design. Solent used to called 'Southampton Institute' and is where many well known names such as Ed Dubois, Jason Ker, Mark Mills etc went to school. As a graduate from there it was a great experience and 24 years later I'm still working in the small craft field and making good money  :)  Many graduates are still very active in the industry, I met 2 last week in New Orleans.

 

I've worked with grads from Michigan, Webb, Westlawn and Landing school. All good people, but both the Landing School and Westlawn people had a mechanical engineering degree from a good school first...very important!  I would have no issues getting the NA degree over a mechanical engineering degree.

 

Wherever he goes, ensure that he stays focused on the sailing/boating part going through school, that is how he will get hired after college, assuming he graduates well. Feel free to PM me if you want more information.



#32 Slim

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:11 AM

Slim:
He said he wanted to speak English.

Luckily there are instructional videos.

 

http://youtu.be/NRdg1MOYxHo



#33 Bob Perry

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:17 AM

Thanks Slim. My beloved son Spike used to love that show. I had forgoten all about it.

Attached Files



#34 Bob Perry

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:26 AM

Brodie:

"Boo" couldn't operate the basic computer programs he brought with him. He was hopeless.

I would not call him "Boo". I refused. I called him his real name "Lewellyn" a nice Welsh name no matter how I spell it.

After watching him fumble around for 2.5 days on his computer and get nowhere I suggested he do some hand drafting to get started.

I laid out a nice sheet of vellum for him and directed him. He looked at me and said, "I don't even know why I am doing this." Those were his exact words.

I don't recall what I said. What I wanted to say was, "You are doing this because I am telling you to do it you stupid fuck!"

So I went to lunch. He went to lunch. I came back from lunch. He never did. I never saw him again.

He left all his notebooks and work in my office and never asked for it back. I threw it in the garbarge.

 

The next time the school sent an intern to me I warned him that I was the guy who "abused" an intern. He said, "Yes, we all know that story."



#35 Brodie

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:35 AM

Boo definitely saw the world his own way.  He was entertaining as a classmate, though.  He did NOT like doing anything by hand, as I recall, although I do remember him looking at one of my hand drawings and commenting that they looked better than his computer drawings.  Makes sense now, I guess!

 

We all had to do an internship over April break.  I went to TPI and learned a ton about how boats were built.  This was when they were turning out 2 J/105s a week, Alerions, J/120s, 160s, 42s, and I got to help install hardware on J/145 hull #1.

 

Funny I don't remember him saying anything bad about his "experience" when we all got back to school after break.  Maybe I'm forgetting, but the only bad experience story I remember was from another student about his time at the S&S office....



#36 olaf hart

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:53 AM

Slim:
He said he wanted to speak English.

 



#37 Bob Perry

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:16 AM

Nice Olaf.

I am still laughing.

Does you mother know you talk like that?



#38 Weyalan

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:18 AM

Fred Barrett is a well respected Naval Architect and yacht designer, doing quite lot of small boat / racing yacht design (see http://fb-yd.com/  for information). He is currently lecturing Naval Architecture, I think with UTAS (University of Tasmania) Hobart Campus, possibly in collaboration with AMC (Australian Maritime College). Maybe worth checking out...



#39 Bob Perry

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:22 AM

Brods:

I had a lot of interns over the years. They came from all over the world. Many of them lived in my house while they interned. A couple times for three months. I had to get them passes to my gym!

Why did they live in my house? Because I invited them in. They had nowhere to go. I treated them like they were my own kids. What's a Dad to do?

I truly enjoyed having students around.

I'm not the 666 guy some of you like to paint me as.

Some of the time I am,,,and I like it.

But I can be a pussycat at times.



#40 Brodie

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:31 AM

Some of the time I am,,,and I like it.

 

Good for you :)  Most people feel they have to be "nice" all the time.  I'd rather people just be honest.

 

I wish I'd interned with you, although TPI was a great experience. I tried to get a job there after I graduated but they couldn't get their act together.  Funny that I ended up in RI two years later anyway, for grad school.



#41 Total Slacker

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:44 AM

Webb taught me how to work. Hard. And I graduated with money in my pocket. Agree with others that an engineering degree is valuable.

Keep in mind sailing is declining. Seems like a long term trend. Make sure there is a plan B.

#42 Mud sailor

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:15 AM

Slacker. Agreed, I sail for fun but have worked in the powerboat field (mostly recreational, now commercial) for almost all the last 24years.

#43 Cruisin Loser

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:01 AM

I always have a summer engineering intern from either Texas A&M or Texas, and one from New Mexico Tech (where I went.) I hire the Texas/A&M kids because I know them, they're locals who went thru my robotics program, .

 

The New Mexico Tech kids are just as well trained, just as smart, but UT and A&M have huge, supportive alumni networks that make getting your foot in the door that much easier. A&M might as well be one, giant, co-ed fraternity. The school loyalty, even decades later, is amazing.  The Aggies really pull for each other to succeed, it's like marrying into a huge, supportive family.

 

BJ, if your kid ends up at A&M, he can come skiing at Taos with us on holiday as part of our family. I have a son the same age who's also a math and science geek and an excellent skier. They'd be thick as thieves.



#44 zedboy

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 06:42 AM

Webb taught me how to work. Hard. And I graduated with money in my pocket.

 

This - both parts.

 

B.J, unless you're flush enough to give your kid a full ride at a private school, send him to live locally for long enough to establish residency then get in-state tuition. No reason getting a good education should leave a poor kid $130k or more in the hole.

 

And go someplace they teach you to work hard, future employers will appreciate it.



#45 B.J. Porter

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:45 AM

Webb taught me how to work. Hard. And I graduated with money in my pocket.

 

This - both parts.

 

B.J, unless you're flush enough to give your kid a full ride at a private school, send him to live locally for long enough to establish residency then get in-state tuition. No reason getting a good education should leave a poor kid $130k or more in the hole.

 

And go someplace they teach you to work hard, future employers will appreciate it.

 

That thought had occurred to me.  We're Florida residents, and my parents live in Virginia so we could send him there.

 

We can work the finances though to get him the education he needs, but I see no sense in spending a fortune if it's not needed.



#46 SemiSalt

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:45 PM

Based on the graduates that I encountered in my working life, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute does a great job. http://www.rpi.edu/

 

My daughter visited there when she was looking at colleges. I was interested, and a little surprised, that the emphasis was on undergraduate education. Some elite schools see undergrad as a service they have to provide while the emphasis is on the graduate school. Not RPI. They look to send their graduates straight to industry. I believe they have had entries in the concrete canoe competitions, but I don't know that they have any other commitment to anything maritime.

 

My son taught a semester or two at Cal Tech. He was not impressed by the approach to undergraduate education there. 



#47 zedboy

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:53 PM


That thought had occurred to me.  We're Florida residents, and my parents live in Virginia so we could send him there.

 

We can work the finances though to get him the education he needs, but I see no sense in spending a fortune if it's not needed.

 

Virginia Tech is one of the best deals in engineering/science education, at least if you're in-state.



#48 Bob Perry

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:55 PM

Brodie:

I had two lady interns over the years. Don't know where they ended up.

 

I always made it a practice to pay my interns. If they produced any work at all valuable to the office then I paid them. One of my interns from Web ended up making very good money during his internship. He was very good.

I once worked for a designer who had interns pay HIM for the privilege of working in his office!



#49 Foxxy

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:11 PM

I always tell kids that if they really like boats to go into a field where they make real money and retire at a young enough age to enjoy it. I of course went the other way and have (almost) always worked in boat building or design.

I was fortunate enough to start out working in a small yard where we did everything from lofting to pouring keels, putting rigs together, as well as laminating & joiner work. I took many college courses at night and also courses through Westlawn. Just because you get your education and experience in the marine industry, doesn't mean that is all you can do. When things got tough it wasn't hard to get a better paying job in other industries because of being so versatile.
If your son has a burning desire to build and design boats, he will do OK. If you, or someone else, can talk him out of it, then he probably won't make it anyway.

#50 Rasputin22

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:54 PM

     Yeah, my Dad would have loved to hear me inform him that my college study included a concrete canoe! I seemed he really liked to refer to my collegiate efforts as something along the lines of 'underwater basket weaving'. He understood my desires to be a small craft designer and offered to send me to Michigan or a school that had a Naval Architecture program but he didn't understand the wide gulf that separates small craft design and NA. I had been very fortunate to have participated in an advanced mechanical drafting class in high school that was being taught by a young 'rising star' architect in San Diego. It was basically first year college level architecture training and I was offered a summer internship at the instructors office. He felt that I should work for a year in his office to get in state fees and then he would sponsor me to go for the Architecture school at UCSD. My Dad was career Navy and would have loved for me to go to the Naval Academy for a NA degree, but I loved the San Diego area and took my Dad to open house to meet the architect and discuss the internship/job offer. It took my Dad about 5 seconds to recognize the architect as being gay and while he was civil at the open house, on the way home he just had a fit.

 

     So much for my getting schooled on the West Coast and he packed me off to his Alma Mater, Auburn University where I sort of vacillated between Engineering and Architecture. Problem is that vacillation is not tolerated at the highly rated School of Architecture at Auburn and I eventually discovered the obscure School of Industrial Design hidden away in the basement of the Arch building.Only 15 students or so and a even mix of girls and guys and without a doubt the hippest enrollment on the campus. No one had ever heard of Industrial Design at the time and the only job market after getting ones degree was with Detroit in the auto business.

 

    The head of the department was an original member of the Bauhaus design commune in Vienna and had narrowly escaped Nazi oppression on the eve of WW2 and he had looked up one of his old prep school buddies Wernher Von Braun who was running the US space program out of Huntsville Al. Braun pulled some strings and Auburn ended up with one of the first ID programs in the nation. I was told to get a minor in Mechanical Engineering as a foundation and my Prof agreed to let me take the Westlawn material and submit to him for review before sending to Westlawn for grading. He would apply whatever grade they gave and give me credit for the lab courses in his curriculum. Best of both worlds and I was thrilled and motivated but my Dad was once again distrustful of the idea and asked what matchbook cover I had found the Westlawn program. He pulled the plug and I ended up in New Orleans working for Bill Seaman of SCRIMP fame building boats in his shop. I learned more as his 'R&D' guy than I could have in a lifetime of college and have been building and designing boats ever since. 

 

    Good point about having a 'plan B' though. My plan B was to get my skippers license and I did a lot of boat driving and deliveries to get through the lean times.

 

Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD) has a great ID department and once had a special program for yacht design funded by Palmer Johnson when they had the big facility there. Checking their site it seems that once PJ left town, the yacht program dried up, but their program would still be good training especially if your son can do the Westlawn material before attending. Not a bad town for liveaboards either but I don't thing there is any such thing as 'in state' residency. 

 

     The Art Institute of Ft Lauderdale once had an interesting Yacht Design program but it was a bit 'artsy fartsy' in my Dads words and pretty pricey. It was funded by endowments from the marine industry but checking their site it seems that the Yacht Design option in ID has suffered a similar fate.

 

    Start now and try and get him in Webb, your cruising kitty would love that!

 

 

 

https://www.scad.edu...dustrial-design



#51 SemiSalt

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:16 PM

There is, or was, a movement to require yacht designs to be signed by a Professional Engineer. No more of these untrained amateurs sending people to sea in dangerous boats! So the university engineering degree may become a de facto standard, at least in some offices.



#52 Bob Perry

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:30 PM

Semi:

I received a letter accusing me of operating as an unqualified engineer about five yerars ago. It was very official and from Wa state's licencing board. I was very concerned.

Responed telling them that I never held myself out to be an engineer. I was a yacht designer. Then I listed my accomplishments and a brief history of my office. I got a letter back saying essentially, "carry on".

No question that the kid will be better off with a degree. I would pay attention to that if he applied with me. It tells me that the applicant can get a job done. I think the smartest intern I ever had came from Webb. He works with Jose now.

 

My list of interns inludes:

Paul Bieker

Tim Kernan

Mark Mills

 

Over the years I had several remarkably competant interns. I was very lucky. They taught me a lot.

I may take the time later today to tell my funniest intern story.

 

I once had a U of Mich grad come looking for a job. He already had business cards made proclaiming himself as a "yacht designer". I told him I'd try him out. I gave him an easy job, a custom layout on a Tayana 37. Basicallly rearrange an interior. He stared at the sheet for a couple of days then said, "I can't do it." As I recall I said, "Nope, you can't do it." He eventually got a job selling piping supplies. Probably made more at that then he would have in a yacht design office. The guy I "abused" based that claim on the fact that I told him I didn't think he would ever be a yacht designer. But I told him that there are plenty of jobs in the marine field where a knowledge of design would be handy. I made an effort to be positive. From Brod's post I think he may hav e found out in time that I was right.



#53 Rasputin22

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:32 PM

There is, or was, a movement to require yacht designs to be signed by a Professional Engineer. No more of these untrained amateurs sending people to sea in dangerous boats! So the university engineering degree may become a de facto standard, at least in some offices.

 

 

This topic was debated hotly several years ago. I went to a seminar at IBEX where designers were invited to give their views on the matter. I sat with Dick Newick and Jan Gougeon and they were both pointed out as shining examples of non-PE designer and builder. Then Bruce Marek got up and spoke and made the point that he had about 20 PE licenses in different states and whether that made him a better small craft designer that Dick. Eric Sponberg made a very good talk and you can get the essence of it here.

 

And after you get your degree, go for the professional engineer’s license.  You’ll have to take two long examinations, four years apart:  The Fundamentals of Engineering exam at about the time you graduate from college; and the Principles and Practices exam in naval architecture and marine engineering after you have accumulated about four years of experience and responsible work.

Those of you who have followed my work may know that I have been actively campaigning to make the PE exam voluntary instead of mandatory.  I still believe that.  But the hard fact of the matter is that licensing is becoming ever more prevalent in our society, and if you start at the beginning with a college education, getting the license is not that hard to do.  It will also give you a big marketing advantage over your competitors.  Go for the PE license.  It will give you credibility.

 

Read the whole thing here.

 

http://www.sponbergy...lesDesigner.htm



#54 Bob Perry

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:39 PM

Eric was big on licensing. But look at his design work.  Compare it to that of Bolger. I know that I think Bolger was far superior designer. Phil Bolger fought hard against it right until his death. Bill Garden was "grandfathered in" in Washington as I recall.



#55 bugger

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 03:49 PM

Just to add some perspective, please let me suggest that the current crop of young kids have a reasonable chance of living to be 100 years old. 

 

There is lots of time in their life to work. 

 

I would suggest spending time early doing things that will contribute to what they want to do (school, practical work, training, whatever) but not be focused on starting their 'career' too early.  Spend time figuring out what you want to do. 

 

I know some people who rushed through school, started full-time office jobs at 22 (with zero practical experience) and were basically burned out by the time they reached 30.  They then realized they were doing something they never really wanted to do. 

 

And, for the record, I have a degree in mechanical engineering and I am a licensed engineer.  That has opened lots of doors for me.  I also have a graduate degree that brought me some specialization.  I have never worried about not being able to work somewhere doing something for someone, and I have owned my own engineering practice for about six years.   I didn't start my 'career' until I was about 30 (I started in the Navy - good training, good experience, travelled the world; but not what I wanted to do my whole life). 



#56 Bob Perry

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:14 PM

When my son Spike was young, I picked him up from school one day. He said, "When I grow up I want a job like yours Dad."

I said, "Oh, you want to be a yacht designer?"

He said, "No, I want a job I like."



#57 miscut jib

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:34 PM

Based on the graduates that I encountered in my working life, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute does a great job. http://www.rpi.edu/

 

My daughter visited there when she was looking at colleges. I was interested, and a little surprised, that the emphasis was on undergraduate education. Some elite schools see undergrad as a service they have to provide while the emphasis is on the graduate school. Not RPI. They look to send their graduates straight to industry. I believe they have had entries in the concrete canoe competitions, but I don't know that they have any other commitment to anything maritime.

 

My son taught a semester or two at Cal Tech. He was not impressed by the approach to undergraduate education there. 

 

I've known a number of CalTech grads. All spoke well of the experience. I rarely meet someone who graduated from RPI in the past 20 years who did anything more than tolerate it, but those who graduated think the school did well by them and there is a large network for RPI alumni who are quite dedicated to it. I can't speak to yacht design - but of my engineering cohort (as well as my younger sister, both of us graduated top25 schools <15 years) a majority have drifted out of engineering. It was a useful education, but the realities of life and making a living in it make other occupations more attractive, so select something with a broad base of opportunities and a broad social world. 



#58 TheFlash

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:39 PM

that was damn insightful  

 

 

(edit, Spike's comment)



#59 SemiSalt

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:47 PM

I've known a number of CalTech grads. All spoke well of the experience.

 

When you consider schools like CalTech, MIT, etc, you have to keep in mind that that the average level of talent is very high. The students can cope with a lot that would stump lessor talents. 

 

My son's primary complaint, as I understand it, was that about lack of coordination in the content of lower level courses. One prof might teach a very different physics 101 course from another, or the 101-102 course did not match up well with the 201-202 course. There are upsides as well as downsides to letting each teacher strut his stuff. 



#60 Laserslave

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 06:43 PM

I, like your son, also wanted to design boats for a living at that age. I am a (fairly) recent grad from KP and can tell you that design is NOT (or very very small) one of the aspects of their curriculum. KP, as well as the other state schools (SUNY, Mass, Maine and Cal) is designed to produce Merchant Mariners. What this means is that when you graduate, you receive a BS and a Coast Guard license (Engineers graduate with 3rd Assistant Engineer of Unlimited Horse Power Diesel, Steam and Gas Turbine). The license basically states that you can be an engineer on any vessel of any horse power  with any of those three power plants.

 

I visited U. Mich and Webb and both are great schools with fantastic facilities. Webb has a very small student population and being in the booming metropolis of Glen Cove you miss out on the college experience. It is though fully endowed and arguably the most prestigious. U. Mich in Ann Arbor is a campus of roughly 30k and has a more traditional college experience plus is well regarded in the industry. Winters are, um, cold and if I recall correctly you can't join the Naval Arch program until after your Freshman year and is selected based on grades. Essentially, once your done with your Freshmen 15 and Edward 40 hands, you have to re-apply all over again to essentially another college.

 

U. of New Orleans or UNO, is not exactly the most prestigious of schools (living down here in NOLA their campus is well... lacking) and for your son, is probably not what he's looking for.  Also, I'm afraid most of the Naval Arch programs out there are designed to aim at ship building and such.  There's more money in it and more job opportunities upon graduation. (Think building OSV's for the oil industry, there's quite a bit of money in oil these days and is VERY interesting... DP-2 DP-3 systems are VERY cool). They all probably have sailboat design electives but, again, curriculum designed for ships. Hope this helps!



#61 Foxxy

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 09:08 PM

There is, or was, a movement to require yacht designs to be signed by a Professional Engineer. No more of these untrained amateurs sending people to sea in dangerous boats! So the university engineering degree may become a de facto standard, at least in some offices.

One answer to that is complying with the ISO standards and having plans reviewed. I don't have a PE, and the world is not exactly littered with broken boats that I've engineered. I never mind having someone check my work and think that customers would be better off if we had more design validation regardless of designer credentials. Just because it doesn't break, doesn't make it pretty or practical to build and use and a boat should be all of these.

 

There is a very true saying: Many people can design a bridge that will stand. It takes an engineer to design a bridge that will just stand.



#62 Weyalan

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 10:53 PM

I studied a selection of maths (that is "math" to most of y'all ;)), physics and mechanical engineering at (Edinburgh) University back when Jesus was still playing wide receiver for the Jerusalem Prophets. I ended up graduating with honors in Mech. Eng. Since then I have worked for around 25 years as a designer / design engineer in various mechanical and marine related fields. Nobody has ever asked to see my qualifications and 98 - 99% of what I do required high school math / physics or, at best, freshman applied math / physics / engineering. What I regret is not doing a trade (builder joiner, carpenter, fitter & turner, etc) before getting a degree. Any fool of moderate intention can get a degree, it takes years (well, it took me years) to become semi-proficient with my hands and with power tools.



#63 Zonker

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 06:25 AM

I too think a Mech eng. or Aero eng. degree allows you a lot of 'fall back' options. While 20 years ago it was pretty easy to design a boat by eye (heck still is), to be competitive in the world of small craft design now and engineering degree sure helps.

But hands on experience is really important too, either building your own boat or working in a shipyard or similar. Too many fresh graduates don't really have a feel for what is possible to build

For a straight course in small craft design Southampton is well regarded
http://www.solent.ac...se-details.aspx

Webb is good but hard to get into and doesn't offer much of a college life due to location. College is supposed to be also about learning to grow and have fun, not just schooling. I know 2 grads and both were really bright.

UBC in Vancouver - MEng in Mechanical Engineering, with a specialization in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
is where I did my degree. Pretty good program but I'm more of MEng than naval architect. Course concentrates on bigger ships not small craft. And they don't have a towing tank any more.

Newfoundland - also concentrates on big ship design.

#64 Elegua

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 08:01 AM

Had a classmate at Wharton from Webb. Worked designing destroyers and then gave it up for Banking. Very bright, very nice guy. Very successful now. 

 

Same thing for my Junior Hockey Coach, who was a professor there. I once saw him on Discovery Channel tow testing Egyptian scows.  



#65 eliboat

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:39 PM

Eric was big on licensing. But look at his design work.  Compare it to that of Bolger. I know that I think Bolger was far superior designer. Phil Bolger fought hard against it right until his death. Bill Garden was "grandfathered in" in Washington as I recall.

My understanding was that Eric was not for mandatory PE licensing, although he has always been quite quick and proud to point out his own credentials as a UMich grad and PE.  I agree that his designs are consistently weird and unappealing.  



#66 memopad

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 01:24 AM

Go Blue!



#67 Bruce T. Shark

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 05:43 AM

BJ - Feel free to PM me for more info -

Went to SUNY Maritime - got a degree in EE and a 3rd Engineers license, we also offered the EIT during your senior year.  My plan B was the Navy in 82.  While economy sucked, all the Engineers got jobs - my roommate was a Marine Transportation grad and could only get a civil service job as a fireman.  In the Navy did 2 tours as Engineer Officer on LSTs - went up the congo to livingston falls -  Went to Newport News Shipbuilding and fit right in their Main Propulsion Overhaul group in '90 - rode CVN 65 as the Guarantee Engineer in 95 after we refueled her, did the same thing with CVN 75 for 8 months after she left the yard on her shakedown cruise as the sole shipyard rep underway. Loved diesels and am now working for a Nuclear Power Plant as their PM Program Lead (along with 3 other guys from the same class of 175 as me), and as a Elec Maint Supv during refuelings, originally hired in as a Mech Maint supervisor.

 

NNS has a big intern relationship with VT - really big.  SUNY gives you a stipend as a cadet in the US Merchant Marine if he agrees to accept an inactive commission in the USNR, plus all students get in state tuition.   

 

The whole deal is about Plan "B" and keeping your opportunities open.  My idol was a friend that took the last munition ship to Vietnam and bought a Pearson 36, brand spanking new and supposedly paid cash.

 

One of my classmates bailed from SUNY as he had no desire to get a license and went to U. of Mich - his family owned a ship design firm.

 

Looked at Webb, KP, was accepted to Maine and California - I knew i wanted to go to sea.

 

Taken any star shots?



#68 kimbottles

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 05:10 PM

This conversation brings back some distant memories for me.

I was an engineering cadet at the California Maritime Academy class of 1969.

But I met this girl part way through and ran away with her and ended up a couple years later getting a BS in Business Administration from another California University and a CPA certificate

That girl is still here with me as my beloved SWMBO so I guess it all worked out for the best.

(But I have always been a yacht designer/maritime industry "want to be", but it looks like the closest I will come to it is as a client of Bob's.)

NTTIAWWT.

(Yes, I have taken star shots.)

#69 Bob Perry

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 05:33 PM

I think you made a great career choice Kim.



#70 kimbottles

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 07:14 PM

I think you made a great career choice Kim.

Well I sure made a great woman choice Bob!!

 

Thanks for letting me explore my yacht design "want to be" desires via our project together, I appreciate the passion you put into it. (And I sure as hell appreciate the outcome!)



#71 Peenstone

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 12:10 AM

SUNY Naval Arch grad now running Engineering at a Nuc Power Plant. 

As much as I loved Naval Arch through HS, then at NY Maritime, I found that there was more to life than being a topped out Naval Arch at a naval shipyard after 8 years.  I was lucky - able to translate my experience and engineering degree into a nice career with a leading nuc utility in Virginia.

My advice- pursue your dreams and your passion, but have a plan "B" just in case.  Get your Engineering Degree in Naval Arch, but get a minor or double major in Mechanical just in case you are wanting more out of your career as you approach 30, with a hot wife and beautiful kids.






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