First Fed gives Northwest Maritime Center $1 million to expand access

The Northwest Maritime Center (NWMC) in Port Townsend is a celebration of maritime culture, dedicated to engaging people through powerful maritime experiences and supporting the maritime industry. Jefferson County is one of the strongest maritime anchors in the state, providing a crucial part of the local economy and culture.

First Fed announced a $1 million donation to NWMC to expand access to maritime education. Funding will be evenly distributed over 10 years.

“The maritime industry is vital for our region. First Fed is dedicated to helping the Northwest Maritime Center achieve its goal of doubling the number of program participants by 2025,” said Matt Deines, President and CEO of First Fed. The NWMC served 2,950 program participants in 2019 and expects to reach 6,000 per year by 2025.

The shipping industry is Washington’s third-largest economic engine with jobs paying an average of $82,800 a year. In Jefferson County alone, the industry provides more than 2,300 jobs, or one in five, according to a 2018 economic impact study. However, the industry is experiencing labor shortages due to job departures. retired sailors. A labor shortage of 150,000 seafarers is predicted by 2025 as the sector continues to grow at an average of 6.4% per year.

The programs offered by the NWMC strive to help fill this gap with hands-on, project-based learning focused on the environment, marine science, and maritime careers. Emphasis is placed on youth programs so that students have multiple exposures to maritime culture and potential career paths in the industry.

In Jefferson County, NWMC offers week-long immersive maritime discovery programs to all seventh graders. Students study science through local weather and wildlife; mathematics through the use of nautical charts and plotting lessons; engineering through boat building; social studies through cartography and historical research; language arts through maritime nomenclature and poetry; and art through illustrations of native species. Hands-on activities such as the USCG Damage Control Simulator challenge students to find ways to handle flooding scenarios and learn how to operate a sump pump.

Students interested in pursuing maritime studies can apply to Port Townsend Maritime Academy which offers a one-year maritime program taught by professional sailors and educators. According to Beattie, over 30% of students who have attended Port Townsend Maritime Academy have gone on to either direct employment in the maritime industry or further maritime studies.

Port Townsend Maritime Academy was one of the inspirations for Maritime High School in the Highline School District. Maritime High School will have its first class in 2022. Participation in programs like these will stimulate interest in maritime careers and promote sustainability in the industry.

“At its core, the Maritime Center aims to connect people to powerful opportunities on the water, whether for recreation, personal growth or employment,” explained Jake Beattie, Executive Director of NWMC. “We also intentionally focus on diversity in our programs to authentically represent the Pacific Northwest communities we serve.”

Although students are a big priority, the NWMC supports a range of community events like She Tells Sea Tales which celebrates women in the maritime industry. They are also well known for the Wooden Boat Festival, the flagship event that inspired the Wooden Boat Foundation which was founded in 1978, later becoming the Northwest Maritime Centre.

“Northwest Maritime Center appreciates the strong support of First Fed, our local community bank on the peninsula,” Beattie said. “Over the years, First Fed has demonstrated its commitment to maritime culture through sponsorships, volunteerism and participation in our community events.”

“We love having the Northwest Maritime Center here in Port Townsend,” said Luxmi Love, First Fed Branch Manager in Port Townsend. “Their programs and events bring a lot of value and inspiration to our community. Our team loves to volunteer and support their efforts.

The North West Maritime Center offers a range of maritime courses where people of virtually any age or level of experience can find a program to enjoy. Sign up for their newsletters or learn more about NWMC programs and events on their website at

First Fed is a member of the FDIC and an equal housing lender.

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