Many Galveston and Gulf Coast residents know ARAMCO Outside Blinds for decades of providing high quality adjustable louver aluminum outside blinds. What they may not realize is that ARAMCO has also helped provide hundreds of mariners, students and researchers at Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) with invaluable experience.
In 1974, ARAMCO founder Earl Milan built in the ARAMCO factory a 47-foot all-aluminum sport fisher boat. In 1993, that vessel was donated to the TAMUG fleet for education, training and research.
The vessel, christened the “Earl L. Milan,” is an integral part of TAMUG’s fleet and currently in desperate need of updates. ARAMCO is assisting in fundraising efforts for its restoration and also helping raise much-needed funds for Waterfront Operations.
TAMUG’s Waterfront Operations department uses a staff of full-time professional mariners and part-time student employees to manage the day-to-day operations of the university’s vessels while keeping costs down and provide experiential learning. This dedicated team is also looking to the future of TAMUG’s waterborne operations.
Two years ago, Texas A&M in Galveston instituted a plan to fulfill the school’s motto of “the ocean is our classroom” and created the capability for the classroom on the waves. Since then, these floating classrooms have carried over 14,000 people with 50 percent being on the Earl L. Milan itself.
But faced with record enrollment and an aging fleet in need of continuous upkeep, Waterfront Operations is looking toward an endowment as a long-term funding solution. Donated funds earmarked for a Waterfront Operations endowment are a legacy gift that will help serve students and the community while keeping students’ costs down.
“Although not a direct part of the university’s academic curriculum, Waterfront Operations is one of the only programs that every student interacts with,” said Captain Allan Post.
“One of our largest areas of growth is the small vessel sea service program with the Texas Maritime Academy,” says Captain Post. This program provides cadets with the small boat handling experience needed to obtain their Third Officer License from the United States Coast Guard.
Waterfront Operations is also a vital part of water experiences for the community. One outreach program the department supports is Sea Camp, a week-long exploration of marine and estuarine environments for campers ages 10 to 18. This summer, the Earl Milan carried more than 1,500 campers.
To get involved in the future of this great program, give Waterfront Operations a call at 409-740-4490.