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Sun Sentinel profiles MPT's expansion plans.

6:47 p.m. EDT, July 31, 2014 

Maritime Professional Training is expanding its Fort Lauderdale campus to train more people in the commercial maritime and yachting industries.

A general contractor for the 25,000-square-foot expansion at 1915 S. Andrews Ave. is expected to be decided Friday, a spokesman said this week.

Construction on the facility should begin in September and take about four months, said Capt. Ted Morley, MPT's chief operations officer and director of training.

The $5 million expansion will effectively double the school's size and will include more classrooms and maritime simulation technology, Morley said. The project is in final permitting stages with the city.

Founded in 1983, the private training school offers certification courses to people pursuing careers as commercial seamen and yachting professionals.

"If it floats and has professional crew on it, we train them," Morley said. "We train about 10,000 people per year, and we're looking to increase that by 25 percent."

Students come from all over the world and typically stay from a week to six months for classes. Prices for courses, many of which are designed for continuing education, range from $100 up to $20,000.

The expansion will bring its total training space to about 61,000 square feet, which includes a simulation center off State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale.

The school's expansion also will benefit the local economy as many of its students and their families stay in hotels, Morley said. "It's going to bring dollars to South Florida."

Also in the works for MPT is a new small-boat deployment training partnership with Dania Beach-based Nautical Ventures Group.

MPT is leasing space at Nautical Ventures to conduct the hands-on course, designed to teach mariners how to safely launch small boats such as tenders from bigger boats or yachts.

Construction of a waterside davit and crane mechanism to launch the small boats will also begin in September at an investment of about $500,000, Morley said.

"Our commitment to the marine industry will be further augmented by aligning ourselves with these [training] professionals," Nautical Ventures CEO Roger Moore said. "Together we serve to train and enhance the safety of our marine community."

Nautical Ventures plans to add introductory and intermediate boating courses at its Dania site, Moore said. "These safety courses will provide the seamanship knowledge needed to get them on the water in both an enjoyable and responsible manner.", 954-356-4209 or Twitter@TheSatchreport.