Alumni Testimonials

Success in any career begins with education and training.  Graduates of our career-oriented programs attest to that. The Chapman graduates below represent solid reasons why the Chapman School celebrates it's 47th year of operation this year.  These graduates also represent more than 22,000 men, women, and children who have graduated from programs at the School since its inception in 1971.

License Training - OUPV & Master/Mate March 2020 Class

I really enjoyed my experience with the OUPV, Upgrade to Master, Marine Radio Operator, and Towing courses. Tom is 100% and I highly recommend anyone to Chapman's.
Robert Hall
Beaufort, NC

Professional Mariner Training October 2018 Class

I just wanted to drop a line and say thanks for everything y'all did in the class for us, and actually getting us ready. I have already started working down in Key West at Sunset Watersports and am learning how to run their 120 person party cat. And everything we learned at the school transferred great from the maneuvering to the electronics even the radio. I actually had to call into the coast guard about some tourists that had lost their way out on the reef, lol. But I just wanted to say thanks to you, Tom, Bruce, and the rest of the staff and Captains who all are part of the program. Keep up the good work and Happy New Year to you all.

Ryan Poindexter


CPC 200 Private Instruction - October 2018

Not only training for the expert!!! Completely new to boating, we were expertly guided through a hands-on two day course in Power Boat handling by our knowledgeable teacher Captain Ray. We learnt an enormous amount and hope to follow this up with more courses. The training was professional and personal. Wholeheartedly recommend Chapman’s.

Thanks again to all and of course special kudos to Capt Ray who showed nerves of steel and imparted vast amounts of knowledge, compassion, kindness and enthusiasm.


Karin and Annie


USCG License Training - Class of May 2018

My MMC documents were delivered in the mail today.

I just wanted to thank you for all of your help navigating the USCG paperwork and application process. Tom Swank is one of the best teachers I have ever had.  The Chapman School is lucky to have him.

I'm originally from Annapolis, MD and there are several maritime academies and small sea schools in the Chesapeake area. I think it would have taken more than a year working full time to complete the certifications and course work I was able to complete at the Chapman School in 3 months.

I cannot wait to return for the 200 GRT course!

Chris S.


USCG License Training - Class of January 2018

Dear Chapman School of Seamanship,
Please let your instructor, Tom Swank, know how much I appreciate his teaching skills.  I passed every test the first time and I think that shows how knowledgeable and how well he can explain the course in an interesting and fun way.  I am so very happy I chose Chapman School to earn my Captain's License.
Also,  thank you Bruce for making my paperwork a painless effort and getting everything sent to it's proper destination.
Thank you,
Jeff Petrick

CPC 200 as Private Instruction - June 2018

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed my instruction with Capt. Al on Saturday, 6/23/18.  He is a great instructor and made me feel comfortable at the helm.




Smooth Sailing Success with ASA101 - Basic Keelboat Sailing - April 2018

Janet and I have returned to Ottawa and wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the Keelboat Sailing Course under the sage and kind guidance of John Glass last month. We were amazed how much could be accomplished in a relatively short three day course.  Credit to John. He was an outstanding instructor.

Chapman School gave us the essential elements to move forward confidently as we take to the water this summer. 

With thanks,

Bruce and Janet 


CPC 1000 - November 2014

Interested in learning the basics of boat handling, basic navigation and chart plotting/reading, especially on the intracoastal waterways, understanding navigational signage, and how to DOCK your boat in tight spaces safely? The Chapman School of Seamanship will make you a confident owner/captain of your own boat in 5 days!  My husband and I were privileged to have Captain Gary as our instructor in the classroom and on a twin-engine inboard 30'+ vessel and it was wonderful!  We currently live in Iowa and own a boat on a fresh-water lake.  We chose to take this course as our 25th wedding anniversary celebration, as a step toward our Florida boating retirement dreams.  Practical, hands-on, and time on the water.  We received our certificate of completion in level CPC 1000, which doubles as completion for a Florida boat owner's requirement. We are planning our next level course now. I highly recommend this course!

Bill and Sharon


Another PMT Success Story!


As a Chapman Alumni I am proud to have gone to such a great school. I knew from 8th grade that I wanted to be on the ocean no matter what it took. I had been on the water all my life.

I began my search for schools once I left high school and stumbled upon Chapman School. I immediately applied and also went down to tour the facilities. Everything from the apartments to the classrooms exceed expectation. The location couldn't get any better either.

With the hands on learning and great staff I was able to pass the Professional Mariner Training Program  including the 100 Ton Masters Coast Guard exams with flying colors. This has lead me to an exciting career in the maritime industry. In March of 2012 I was able to become a ferry Captain in Maine for two seasons aboard two different vessels. However the school always says to go big in your dreams. So of course I kept aspiring to bigger and better opportunities.

In April of 2014 I was interviewed and hired on as a Chief Mate for American Cruise Lines. Currently I have worked as Chief Mate on the Queen of the Mississippi a 300' paddle wheel cruise ship and Chief Mate on the 166' Ocean Going cruise ship so far. This fall I will be sent out to the Queen of the West a 250' paddle wheel cruise ship. My goal with this company is to become a captain.

Chapman's has helped me achieve my goals and become a better vessel master. Thanks to all the staff!

Capt. Scott E.

U.S.C.G. 100 Ton Master Near Coastal


2013 PMT Graduate

Hope everything is going well at Chapman’s! Just wanted to give you an update on what I've been up to! I left Chapman’s and got a day-work job at Rybovich in Palm Beach on a 210 ft yacht! I worked on that for 3 weeks! I met a lot of new people during that time and got a job interview on a 200 ft permanent live-aboard going to the Italy for the entire summer! I went and interviewed and got the job! I moved in this past week and we are leaving for Antibes, France and then Monaco for the entire summer! I'm so pumped! Thanks again for everything!
Chapman rocks!
Trevor M.
PMT Graduate - Class 09-13

1979 PMT Graduate - Captain Jim Russell

In 1979, Jim Russell met the entrance requirements of the California Maritime Academy except for his age.  He was older than 24  and thus ineligible for admission.   A friend told him about the Chapman School of Seamanship then located in Palm City, Florida so he enrolled in what is known today as the Professional Mariner Training course.  In a recent interview, he recalled there was “…no A/C in the dorm rooms but they did have a galley with a cook and the meals were pretty darn good.”  He remarked that Captain Castle, co-founder and Administrator of the School at the time, “…was a no-nonsense guy and ran things accordingly.”

On graduating from the Chapman School, Jim returned to his home state of California and began a long career in the marine industry.  He cut his teeth delivering boats up and down the West coast of California and Mexico and elsewhere in the U.S., but the money was less than he could get in other sectors of the industry.  He moved onto the yacht tender Chaperone at Indiantown, FL and served on her working for America’s Cup yachts Freedom and Enterprise as they defended the Cup against an aggressive Australian team.

Returning to California, Jim went to work on oil field support vessels offshore Santa Barbara rising through the ranks to Captain for C & C Boats and Ocean Marine Services.  In 1985 he moved to tug boats as mate/engineer and soon became a tug captain hauling oil barges, cargo barges, cranes and related equipment.  In 1990, Jim moved into harbor tugs and became captain of a 5,000 HP Azimuth Stern Drive (AZD) tug.  In 2007, Jim became Port Captain for Foss Maritme in charge of 26 captains and mates, and 9 tugs in San Diego and Long Beach, CA.

 Jim Russell left tug boats to become a surveyor and recently graduated from the Chapman School Yacht & Small Craft Surveying course.  


2002 PMT Alumni

Good afternoon, I just wanted to inform you how far I have come since "learning at the helm". After graduating from your program some years back I wanted to do more so I joined the United States Coast Guard. I spent four years active and made the ranks of Boatswains Mate 2nd Class Petty Officer. After my four years active I applied to Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Today I just passed all my exams and I now hold a license of a 3rd Mate with Unlimited tonnage.
My love for the water has never changed. I remember back in 2000 all my friends went off to college and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I did know I wanted to do something that I loved and that is how I ended up at your establishment. The need never stopped and I just had to have more. Recently I have been handing out resume's and I love putting your school down under education as everyone who is interested in boating knows Chapman. Thanks again.
John F.
June 2012

Youth / CPC/ USCG Training

We want to extend our deepest thanks to you and all your staff, for what, I can only say is a blessing in our son Joshua's life.

Joshua attended Chapman's a few years back and took the Summer Youth Basic, the CPC 1000 and Youth Voyager programs.

Joshua always struggled in school with accommodations in place, so for him to feel comfortable in a classroom environment was an impossible task in hand.

But, at Chapman's he found his love for life! With the drive he obtained, through all the emotional support and everyone believing in him as well as his own skills, he finally completed the USCG License Training Program and passed the examination for his Captains License. He is proud to hold his USCG Captain's License, his advanced Divers card, and STCW.

Immediately after he completed his training, he was successful in acquiring a position on a new 207' private yacht being launched in Italy, and he will be one of the first on board! He had three interviews and the Captain was hesitant at first as he was only 19! "and so qualified for such a young age”, his passion showed through in his personality and carried him to succeed.

He is now in Italy and as soon as the boat is launched, he will be experiencing his first transatlantic trip. A dream none of us could have ever imagined.

So, thank you Chapman's! My other son will be with you next summer!! And now that my husband and I are purchasing a larger vessel, I will be attending courses myself.

I am looking forward to my experience.
Terri F.
April 2012

Professional Mariner Training

Dan N.
December 2011 PMT Graduate writes........
I had just finished my term with the Air Force and wanted to use my GI bill to go to school. I wanted to do something fun, not just regular college studies. I had recently discovered my love for boating and called around looking for a good boating school and I feel very lucky that Chapman found me. From the beginning Bruce Robertson was a great help and is the most experienced with GI bill payments of any school I've attended. He made the process of signing up easy and beginning class right away.

All the instructors are very experienced and excellent at passing their knowledge to every type of student. I looked forward to every class, especially navigation with Captain Jack. All the knowledge I gained was priceless and will stick with me throughout my life.

After graduating Jack said enjoy the break and a month from now start looking for work. Again opportunity found me, when Bruce called to notify me of a live aboard job on a 223 foot motor yacht that cruises to the Caribbean all winter and to the Mediterranean all summer. I couldn't be more excited and I started a week later. I'm absolutely loving every minute of my job. I never thought I would start such an incredible job so soon after graduating. I wish I would have gone to Chapman straight out of high school.

Big thanks to Chapman and the entire staff for all their work and care. You really can tell they love what they do. And you will love your experience there and the lifetime career assistance.



USCG License Training

Andrew S.
CBS News
June 2010 Master Mate Program, writes....
For a very long time I have wanted to pursue my dream of obtaining a captains license. I did many hours of research online trying to find the best place to do so. On a trip to visit a friend in Stuart Florida, while on the water in a small runabout, my friend pointed out a school for seamanship. That school was the Chapman School. I had some time in early June so I called the school and immediately felt this was the place. One phone conversation with registrar Bruce Robertson was all it took.

Mr. Robertson was a no nonsense and knowledgeable person assuring me that I was making  the right choice. He made sure that I understood this was not a place that would be easy, or that they would teach me the test. This school took very seriously the task of training responsible and knowledgeable seaman. He recommended I stay on campus and I can’t tell you how right he was. It was the perfect place to stay and study. The campus is on the water, surrounded by boats, with everything thought out for you to the last detail, including WiFi for your computer. There was something special about having your name on the door of the wonderful mini apartment when you arrive.
This is a no nonsense 8 days of intense study with the most amazing instructors. My instructor was Captain Tom Swank. When I say no nonsense, that is the only way to describe this former high school teacher from New York. There was never a question thrown at him that he, not only had the answer for, but made sure everyone understood why it was so. Those conversations alone were worth the price of admission. If you are looking for a place to teach you the test question for the oupv six pack license this is not the place for you. But if you are looking for a place that  will start you on the right path to becoming a respected and knowledgeable captain, then there is no better place than the Chapman School of Seamanship.

USCG License Training

Linda B.
January 2011 Master Mate program writes...

I am thrilled I took the OUPV and Master's course at Chapman's. Not only was I amazed at how much I learned and retained, thanks to the excellent instruction of Tom Swank and the way the school structured the course work -- including films which dramatically drive a lesson home. I passed with flying colors on the first try --can't beat that!

Thank you Chapman's!

Call me Captain

Professional Mariner Training

Mikel K,
March 2010 PMT Graduate writes.....
After 16 years of owning my own masonry company in Indiana, I kew it was time for a career change.  My love of the water, boats, and a strong desire to live in Florida lead me to the decision to pursue a career in the maritime industry but how exactly I would make the leap wasn't as clear.  After much research, it became obvious that Chapman, with its rich history, impeccable reputation and strong industry respect, was the only choice.
After 12 weeks of intense classroom, hands-on vessel operation, and maintenance courses, as well as in-depth preparation for the Coast Guard exams, I found that all that Chapman's program promised was real.  The Chapman program put me on track to reaching my goal of becoming a working captain.
Post graduation, I found that just as the training had been, the job placement process was also top notch.  Having graduated only 4 weeks prior, Chapman provided me the opportunity to interview for the job most can only dream of - Mate on a 116 foot yacht.  As a testament to Chapman, I am now First Mate.  If not for my degree from Chapman, this opportunity woud not have been possible.  The owner and the Captain (also a Chapman alumni) knew that whatever experience I may have lacked was more than made up for in the quality of my training.
It is with deep gratitude, that I say Thank You.  The Chapman program, the Captain instructors, and the job placement department (specifically Bruce Robertson), has allowed me to follow my dreams and make them reality.

Professional Mariner Training

Matt G.
2007 PMT Graduate writes.....
The Professional Mariner Training Program (PMT) has greatly assisted me getting my foot into the Maritime door and finding steady work since I graduated the program in 2007. 

PMT taught me the skills and knowledge, provided a highly regarded well recognized credential for my resume, showed me what I needed to be able to start work, and assisted me with leads in the job search process.
The PMT program teaches you what you need to know to get started, and I have used many of the skills taught in the program in my daily work schedule.  Marlinespike has been a huge help to me.  Knowing how to properly secure a vessel rather than tying a mess of knots.  There is no better way to look professional than when you can prepare a tow, or hang fenders correctly and secure a vessel like you have done it a million times before. The information and skills learned in the Weather, Marine Mechanical Systems and Vessels Systems, Chart Plotting and Boat Handling classes have also been vital to my working duties.

Your resume is the most important item you will need when seeking employment. Bruce, the Registrar at Chapman School, helped me with mine and will do the same for you.  Captains in the industry look through hundreds of resumes from potential employees, and I have noticed that when they see the reference to the Chapman School PMT Program in my resume, that it puts me a step ahead of the pack.

Chapman School also assisted me by guiding me with the types of credentials required by vessels hiring crew.  For example many vessels require you to hold STCW 95 Basic Safety Training, First Aid/CPR, MROP and MMD card.

It is a combination of all of the above contributing factors which has helped me attain the jobs which I have secured.

Following graduation I started looking for work and went to various Crew Agencies in Ft. Lauderdale but it was Bruce at Chapman School that got me my first real job.  I was hired as a crew member on a Research Vessel and travelled to Puerto Rico, Grenada and almost every island in between.  Had it not been for Chapman School I would never have had this opportunity.

The next job I secured was as a deckhand on a 106’Motor Yacht.  Once again when the Captain looked at my resume and saw that I had gone to Chapman School he was confident without even meeting with me that I would be able to meet his requirements.  After the season they cut back and I was let go but it only took two months for Bruce to find a new job for me as 1st mate aboard an 80’ Motor Yacht out of Ft. Lauderdale. The captain used to teach part time at the School and knew I would be capable with my PMT background.  The job was great and the vessel traveled to Key West, Naples and the Bahamas.

I remained in this job for about 18 months until I was offered an opportunity as Mate on my current vessel a 108’ Burger Sportfish.  The Captain interviewed 25 people, I was the only PMT graduate who applied and I got the job.

The industry has a lot to do with word of mouth, so never burn your bridges and always work as if your next boss is watching you.   Chapman School gave me everything I needed to progress in my career but remember the ball is always in your court to make something of the opportunities yourself.
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