With more than 15,000 students coming through its doors since first opening its doors in 1992, Chesapeake Marine Training Institute at Hayes is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month.
"We know that, through much of our training, we are saving lives and property at sea," said president Guy Sorensen. "That in itself carries a lot of responsibility, and is extremely rewarding."
Sorensen founded Chesapeake Marine Training Institute (CMTI) with a mission to deliver competitive, high quality products and superior marine-related instruction and services to professional mariners.
Sorensen enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard after high school. He came up through the ranks, moving to Chief Petty Officer, Chief Warrant Officer, and received a direct commission to Lieutenant as a Surface Operations Specialist. He retired as a Lieutenant Commander following 30 years of service.
While stationed in Yorktown, Sorensen said he saw the need for dedicated, professional marine training. "It seemed that most training programs available to mariners seeking a Coast Guard license were only teaching the answers to a bunch of test questions and not educating the mariner with important skills and knowledge," he said. "I felt there had to be a better way."
In 1992, Sorensen advertised and held CMTI’s first class, which was a captain’s course for mariners seeking their Coast Guard licenses up to 100 gross tons. "That first class had four students in it," he said. "All four of them completed our training and passed the Coast Guard examinations on their first attempt at the Regional Exam Center in Baltimore, which was almost unheard of back then." The second class had eight students, with nearly all of them referred by the first four.