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Knots of Fun in New BISD Maritime Program

The Beaumont ISD Career and Technology Education (CTE) Department has launched a new maritime course of study and students are already building knowledge with hands-on experiences.

Led by Maritime Instructor Cathrine Westerkamp, the program includes principles of maritime science, shipboard engineering and the ability to develop skills to obtain high-paying careers in the industry. 

“To introduce students to knot-tying, they made keychains using a monkey fist knot. This is an example of what is used when heaving a line from boat to boat or boat to shore,” said Westerkamp. “Marbles were put into the knot, whereas on ships they would use a baseball or softball.”

The knot is then connected to the key loop using a snake knot, which is typically used by military personnel to make into bracelets and wear if they are ever in a situation where they need rope.

 “Learning how to tie the different knots will help me in my future as I start my own boating business,” said West Brook junior Isabella Osborne.

Not only were students able to put their keys on their completed keychain, but they now have access to an emergency rope supply that is six feet long.

The next project will involve career research. Each student will explore a different job from an approved list of opportunities, looking at the day-to-day expectations, certification requirements, wages and more.

“It’s a roadmap to help students set goals for after graduation, get to the position they choose and how far they can advance in their field,” said Westerkamp.

Students will continue to learn aspects of the maritime industry, gain professional certifications and use state-of-the-art simulation equipment. 

“We currently have 12 students enrolled in the program. It’s not easy; it’s fast-paced with high expectations,” said Westerkamp. “The kids love it and say it’s their favorite class.”