Back in 2006 when Forrest Williams first arrived at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) as a Waterstart student, he wasn’t sure where the experience would take him. “My science teacher in school referred me to the program…I guess she thought I was a good student,” recalls Forrest.
During that summer, Forrest took his first open water SCUBA diving course and conducted a field study on sea grass. Over the next three years Forrest returned to the Waterstart program each summer, eager to learn more about ocean science and enhance his diving skills.
In 2010, he was accepted into the Bermuda Program at BIOS, which provides a unique opportunity for Bermudian students to broaden their knowledge of marine and atmospheric sciences while learning about the daily operations of an active research station. As an intern under Alex Chequer, the BIOS Dive Safety Officer (DSO) at that time, Forrest learned how to pilot boats, work as a deckhand, and train as a scientific diver. According to Forrest, this experience “sealed the deal” for him in terms of cementing his interest in pursuing a career in a marine-related field.
Recognizing his enthusiasm, BIOS hired Forrest in March 2011 as a relief captain and deck hand – a position from which he would later be promoted to boat pilot and dive instructor. “I really like interacting with the BIOS staff, helping teach the scientific diving class, and being able to work on the boats,” says Forrest of his current position.
This fall, BIOS will bid a fond farewell to Forrest as he sets forth on the newest chapter in his education: pursuing an Associate’s of Applied Science Degree in Marine Industry Technology from the Landing School in Arundel, Maine (U.S.) on a full scholarship. He is planning on studying for a concentration in boat building and marine systems. “I definitely want to come back to work at BIOS,” says Forrest. “Maybe with this degree I’ll be able to return to Bermuda and start my own business.”
“It’s with mixed emotions that I say good bye 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, and has been invaluable to me,” says Alex “Dready” Hunter, BIOS’s Dive Safety Officer (DSO). “As you might imagine, he will be sorely missed. 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.”