In May 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced that The College of the Florida Keys (CFK) is among 27 entities designated as Centers of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education (CoE) for 2021. The CoE designation recognizes colleges and training institutions that prepare students for careers in our nation’s maritime industry. These institutions are located in sixteen states and one U.S. territory. CFK is one of two organizations and the only college in Florida to receive the 2021 designation. Click here to view the 2021 CoE Interactive Map.

Authorized under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018, the CoE program is designed to assist the maritime industry in gaining and sustaining a well-trained labor force while enhancing diversity and inclusion in the industry. 

For over 50 years, CFK has supported local and regional maritime industries with education and training opportunities at its waterfront Key West Campus, situated between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Programs include an Associate in Applied Science in Marine Engineering, Management, and Seamanship, certificates in Marine Propulsion and Welding, as well as non-credit courses. Through these opportunities and others, the College provides professional training for careers in many maritime sectors, including gasoline and diesel engine repair and maintenance, welding, fiberglass boat building and repair, small boat handling and operations training, diving business and technology, marine environmental technology, and ecotourism and hospitality. 

With the 2021 CoE designation, CFK can now work with MARAD to enhance programs and services for students and faculty, to upgrade facilities, to award credit for military service, and to potentially receive assistance in the form of surplus equipment or temporary use of MARAD vessels. 

CFK's Maritime Programs

Marine Science

Our school is nestled within the heart of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and students will be immersed in one of the most ocean oriented communities in the world. Whether you’re interested in earning an AA degree in Marine/Aquatic Biology for transfer to a four-year institution, or an AS degree in Marine Environmental Technology to enter a marine-related industry immediately, CFK can make it happen.

Marine Engineering, Management and Seamanship

During the program the student will learn about vessels from the wheel to the keel. The student will assist in building a vessel, provide it with propulsion, power distribution systems, auxiliary systems, and general navigation equipment. The last and final phase of the training will see the student learning to operate the craft as both Captain and Crew. All phases of marine servicing instruction follow manufacturer and industry standards.

James E. Lockwood Jr. School of Diving

The James E. Lockwood Jr. School of Diving is one of the largest facilities dedicated to diving science and technology education. With a 40-foot deep dive training lagoon and a living coral reef just five miles away, the term “classroom” takes on an entirely new meaning. Our goal is to have our students apply diving in other academic disciplines.

Engineering Technology/Renewable Energy

Engineering Technology is a growing field that involves a combination of math, science, design and communications skills to create and repair various devices and structures. An associate degree in Engineering Technology provides a versatile foundation from which students can pursue a variety of careers.

Career Planning

The College of the Florida Keys has many partners within the maritime workforce. Click below to learn more about maritime employment opportunities!