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Monday, January 30, 2023

St. Bernard Port Hosts Maritime Career Field Trip for Kids

Transportation to the dock for the seaside tour was provided by the Gulf Coast Bank Trolley.

Photos Courtesy of St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District

Contributed by St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District

In an effort to spark an interest in maritime industry careers, St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District recently hosted a field trip attended by several dozen children from all across the state, Port Executive Director Drew Heaphy said.

Nearly 50 kids between the ages of 10 and 16 participated in the event held Nov. 13 by the Crescent River Port Pilots’ Association and the New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots’ Association, along with Associated Terminals and Turn Services. 

“The Port is proud to have been able to help put this event together by offering the use of our facilities,” Heaphy said. “We are always glad to participate in anything that promotes the maritime industry to our future generations.” 

During the five-hour field trip, a diverse group of children from all walks of life were exposed to the inner workings of maritime commerce through several hands-on activities.

“We had kids from all over the state from places like Baton Rouge, Zachary, Iberville, Port Allen, Lafayette, New Iberia, Franklinton and the New Orleans metropolitan area,” said Jeanne E. Ferrer, a member of the St. Bernard Port Board of Commissioners and one of only three female river pilots with the Crescent River Port Pilots’ Association.

Ferrer, who facilitated the event with St. Bernard Port Board of Commissioners President Larry Aisola, said there were lessons involving knot tying, demonstrations on how to use personal protection equipment like liferings and a seaside tour of the Port’s facilities along the Mississippi River. Transportation to the dock for the seaside tour was provided by the Gulf Coast Bank Trolley, she said.

“We took the kids on a seaside tour using Associated Terminals and a Turn Services boat out of the Chalmette Slip,” she said. “While on the Mississippi River we did things like looking at various buoys and demonstrating different ways we import and export cargo to and from the St. Bernard Port. The children also were exposed to the vast array of commodities handled by the Port.”

The goal of the event, Ferrer said, was to “showcase for the children what the maritime industry can provide to connect our residents with the largest waterborne commerce system in the world.” 

“They need to be exposed to various career pathways available to them that link the maritime intermodal system along the Mississippi River,” she said. “Some of the children who participated do not live in areas where they would organically have any exposure to jobs involving maritime commerce.”

Ferrer said they targeted kids in this particular age group because they will soon be thinking about what they want to do with their future.

“We wanted to expose them now to what this industry is all about prior to them making big career decisions,” she said. “It’s important we let the next generation know our industry is thriving and they can find success here.” 

This is the first time an event such as this has been held, but Ferrer said plans are already in the works to make this an annual occurrence.

“The kids really seemed to enjoy the day so hopefully we made a positive impact that will stay with them forever and help guide them,” she said. “We also hope we successfully conveyed to them why the Mississippi River waterborne transportation system is such an integral part of the global supply chain and what the benefits are to both our local and global economies.

St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District recently hosted a field trip for nearly 50 kids between the ages of 10 and 16 to teach them about career opportunities within the maritime industry. The event was held Nov. 13 by the Crescent River Port Pilots’ Association and the New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots’ Association, along with Associated Terminals and Turn Services.

Some of the children who participated do not live in areas where they would organically have any exposure to jobs involving maritime commerce.

During the five-hour field trip, a diverse group of children from all walks of life were exposed to the inner workings of maritime commerce through several hands-on activities.

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