BIOS bids promising Forrest Williams farewell as he pursues his education
Pilot and diver Forrest Williams Jr is taking his love of boats to the next level thanks to the skills he picked up from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.
His seven-year journey started with a chance reference from a CedarBridge Academy teacher, Forrest recalled.
“One of my science teachers put my name forward for the Waterstart programme for students,” the 22-year-old said.
“I liked being out on the water and learning about science and the ocean, and I enjoyed furthering my education when it came to diving.”
That internship in the summer of 2006 took Forrest on his first open water Scuba diving course, and allowed an investigation of Bermuda’s seagrass beds.
And the atmosphere and camaraderie at BIOS kept Forrest coming back summer after summer.
In 2010, he got accepted into the Bermuda Programme, where local students pitch in alongside BIOS staff.
That experience “sealed the deal”, he said.
“I spent the summer learning how to pilot boats with the dive safety officer, Alex Chequer. I was helping out with diver training and working as a deck hand.”
His enthusiasm for the internship got Forrest hired in 2011 as a relief captain and deck hand.
“After I got my pilot’s licence with Marine & Ports, that really gave me the boost forward. Also, helping teaching the children and helping out with science projects — after I got the job full-time it really took off.”
Also a Lance Corporal in the Bermuda Regiment, Forrest is helping to train fellow soldiers in open water diving — which will come in handy if the Regiment branches out into more of a maritime role.
Later this year, however, he will set off for the Landing School in Arundel, Maine, on a scholarship to obtain his associate’s degree.
“My first year will be on wooden boat building, and my second year will cover marine systems,” Forrest explained. “I want to come back and work at BIOS and build up a few more years’ experience out in the field.
“And then, eventually, I may want to start up a business of my own. I haven’t quite decided how it’s going to go; I’ve got to see how the industry is in Bermuda.”
He will be sorely missed at BIOS in the meantime.
Current dive safety officer Alex (Dready) Hunter told
The Royal Gazette: “It’s with mixed emotions that I say goodbye to Forrest as he embarks on the next stage of his career. He has been my right-hand man since I started full-time at BIOS. He’s been invaluable to me.
Mr Hunter added: “Having said that, I am extremely excited for him.
“He fully deserves this opportunity and it speaks volumes that he not only earned a place at the Landing School but also a full scholarship. I wish him the best of luck, and would have him come back to work alongside me any day.”
Useful websites: www.bios.edu, www.landingschool.edu.
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