I grew up in Maine where I lived a few hundred feet away from a big marina. I got jobs as a teenager working at the marina. I did everything from learn to repair wooden dock sections to learning how to work boat maintenance and repair. I went to school to learn to be a diesel mechanic, and I learned to work on those giant ship engines. When my wife and I wanted milder winters, we moved south and looked at Newport News apartments to rent. I applied online and got a job at a shipyard in Virginia. Over the years I earned civilian clearances to work on just about any boat or ship that needed a mechanic.
The first few months were an easy adjustment. Working in hot engine rooms never bothered me. Working on a deck in high winds when the temperature was below freezing bothered me. It was so much nicer here even when the weather was bad. After a couple of years, my wife and I might move a little farther south. I would like to retire where it never gets cold at all. I like the shipyard I work at. The work is familiar and routine, and that is just the way I like it. I also work on new ships being built, so I can be on one vessel for much longer periods of time than just making repairs.
I remember working on small boats no longer than 20 feet with an outboard motor. Now the engines I work on are bigger than those boats I worked on as a kid. We like our apartment. It is central to everything we need, and it is only a few minutes for me to get to work each day. Not as quick as just crossing the street and being at the marina when I was a kid, but close enough. We like our apartment and our neighbors. People down here tell me I talk funny, but it’s okay to be the guy with the accent.