WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - When the Dan Moore pulled away from its dock in downtown Wilmington this week, it began the last trip to the ocean as a teaching classroom for Cape Fear Community College.
The 85-foot long boat was built in 1967 and served as a research vessel for the state marine fisheries department until 1982. That's when the college acquired the Dan Moore, and since then, over 2,000 students have made trips aboard it, as part of the Marine Technology training offered by CFCC.
This week marked trip number 419, and for those who have been sailing on the Dan Moore for years, it was a bittersweet departure.
"It has been a good and dependable vessel, and we have come to love it," said Captain Steve Beuth, who has been behind the wheel of the Dan Moore since the school acquired it.
On the trip to Beaufort this week, the 17 marine tech students on board will learn practical skills essential for success in their efforts to find employment after graduation.
"Employers recognize that graduates of the program, who have done 32 days of sea time on the Dan Moore have adapted to the rigors of working at sea, living in close quarters with their fellow shipmates, and they can go on to be real leaders in the marine technology industry." said Beuth.
"You cannot talk to about side scan sonar in a classroom and expect someone to be competent in it, so we use our vessels like the Dan Moore and the Cape Hatteras to get students out to sea and do the skills that they will use in industry," said Jason Rogers, Director of the Marine Technology Program at Cape Fear Community College.
Shortly after the Dan Moore returns to Wilmington, crew members will start stripping the vessel of equipment that can be used on the school's newest research vessel, the R/V Cape Hatteras, which was acquired earlier this year from the National Science Foundation.
There is no doubt the Dan Moore has served the school well for 31 years, and the Marine Technology program at Cape Fear looks stronger than ever, as the newer and larger Cape Hatteras joins the program, and employers' need for marine tech graduates remains strong.
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