Dec 3, 2020

Paul BatesPaul Bates, a Quadrant Alumnus, talks about his journey to becoming a marine service technician

Are you curious about the many boat-minded individuals who seek out MST training with Quadrant Marine? What sorts of intriguing paths might they take after their apprenticeships and training with us are complete? I sat down with one of our alumni, Paul Bates, at his Bates Marine wood shop in downtown Victoria to find out exactly that!

Paul Bates’ passion for boats and woodworking started long before he began training with Quadrant Marine. Growing up in Ontario and spending time at tiny Lake Sunova, he was busy making and fixing boats from a very young age. Paul credits his mom, a college trades teacher, with developing his woodworking skills. “She would bring me into her work and teach me how to use all types of wood work machines and tools”, he says. Paul’s interest in woodwork and restoration gained momentum with the opportunity to take a co-op class at a local airport where he assisted in an 8000-hour restoration of an oak, fabric, and aluminum WW2 Stearman biplane.

Paul at WorkAfter high school, Paul moved out west to work with his cousin’s charter boat business on the mainland. Being in charge of the entire fleet’s off-season haul-outs only fueled his desire to work on boats, and he decided to make it a professional goal. He began his apprenticeship with Jesperson Boat Builders, enrolled as a student with Quadrant Marine, and spent the next several years learning and training to be a marine service technician. His main passion was learning the craft of building and fixing wood boats, and he also eagerly acquired other branches of the MST trade such as painting and fiber glassing.

He has some advice for anyone considering marine service technician training: “Keep it broad,” Paul says, “diversification is key.” This comprehensive approach is something he encourages any potential MST student to keep in mind, as broad competency makes technicians more valuable. “Be open to all trades, not just your own area. Knowing more than just your own system is huge in the long run.” He gives the example of a marine plumber who needs to drill through fiber glass to install plumbing systems, who then also knows how to fix and finish the fibre glass: “You don’t want to have to call someone else in to finish the job,” he says.

Final Touches Before LaunchAfter finishing his apprenticeship and training, Paul struck out on his own and has been working for himself ever since. He started Bates Marine over four years ago, offering many services including (but not limited to) custom interior and exterior woodwork for wood and fibreglass boats, systems repair and installation, paint and gelcoat application, as well as electric boat conversions and design. Paul is now busy with the day-to-day tasks of running of his business. On a typical morning, you’ll find him “calling customers, organizing tools and materials, and then going to do the project.” Afternoons are for answering calls and more organization. “Every day I write down what I’ve done; I log materials, hours, etc,” Paul says. “You’ve got to be organized or you lose time and money”.

The pride that Paul takes in his job is clear. His commitment to retain what he says the “traditional practices [of wooden boat construction] and integrate them into new concepts which inspire others to keep up the old beauty with a new touch” is helping keep the spirit of wooden boat building alive in this modern world.

If you are curious about marine service technician training with Quadrant Marine Institution, please get in touch with us for more information. Quadrant Marine Institute 

For more from Paul Bates, check out his website at: Home

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