After operating 28 teaching centers, and becoming the leading navigation school in Puerto Rico, Mar Navigation Academy prepares to open four teaching centers in Florida.
“We embarked on this adventure in 2016 with just four centers. During the past three years, we have grown exponentially and established ourselves all over the island, Vieques and Culebra included. According to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DRNA by its Spanish acronym), we are the largest school in terms of courses offered and student quantity,” said Maribel Acevedo, president of the academy.
According to Acevedo, things have gone so well for the business that she has decided to expand operations all the way to Miami, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando in Florida.
“We’ve been trying to expand into Florida for a year. We recently received our certification and are ready to open four new schools in December,” she stated.
“The opening of the schools will create additional jobs. During this first phase, we will be transferring employees from Puerto Rico to Florida, but we hope to eventually hire new staff. We currently generate 11 jobs but are hoping to grow that number,” said Acevedo.
She went on to say that the four new academies in Florida will offer the same services that they offer in Puerto Rico. Amongst these services is the course on navigation strategy and safety and the obtaining of the license. This basic course, certified by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (Nasbla), the DRNA and the state of Florida, can be taught to anywhere between 50 to 150 people at a time.
Acevedo also said that, as part of the course, students must complete 20 hours of navigation practice and pass a test in order to receive the certification that enables the student to obtain the license. After having received the certification, students must wait 10 days to apply for the license, which, if obtained in Puerto Rico, may be used on the mainland. Navigation licenses are expedited to people 12 years of age and older.
“Our certifications allow us to offer the United States license for use in Puerto Rico and Florida. We take care of everything. With this license, our students can operate jet skis and boats that measure up to 65 feet. It is a recreational license and, if obtained in Puerto Rico, our students can navigate in Florida,” she added.
Acevedo stated that she has plans to continue expanding the company within Puerto Rico and the mainland, as well as adding new courses like the Basic Life Support (BLS) and first aid course. She is also hoping to add more hands-on classes.
“Our mission [with this course] is to promote safety so that we can avoid complications or be ready to confront them. Through the BLS course, we will be teaching how to assist others in the case they shall suffer respiratory or cardiac arrest, they shall need ventilation, chest compressions or assistance when choking. The course will be open to children and adults; although it’s a basic course, it’s very complete,” she concluded.