By Kulana Hall
Jamariues (JJ) Simanton started the summer determined to have new experiences. In the past, a typical summer for him would have been hanging out with friends, practicing basketball and football, or spending time in the weight room. “If I wasn’t at the Port, I’d probably be working at Safeway,” says JJ. He may have also found himself continuing to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, which is where he first heard about the Port of Seattle’s internship program.
While interning at Shilshole Bay Marina, JJ often finds his day taking place near the docks overlooking the Puget Sound. Sometimes he is checking on the boats to make sure they are all in their correct stalls. Other times, he is inspecting vessels that are having complications and reporting his results back to his supervisor. When boat owners want to access their vessels, they need to use keys, which they must obtain at the front desk, to get passed the mighty metal doors that stand between them and the dock. After using the keys, they leave them in the lockbox that is built into the door, to be gathered the next day by JJ.
Working on the water allows JJ to get up close and personal with a variety of sea life. Whether it is crabs that seem to weave in and around one another in slow motion or schools of fun-sized fishes swimming playfully through the algae and kelp, and the occasional seal the will swim up too close for comfort, showing off their seemingly polished heads. There is always something new to see.
Not all his responsibilities take place on the docks though. Sometimes he will find himself working with customers, helping them find something or answering any questions they might have. Other times, he will organize paperwork or sweep the leaves off the sidewalks out front. There was one time when one of the boats docked at Shilshole Bay Marina started to sink. He and another intern had to help drain it by putting a tube in the boat to transfer the water that had seeped onboard and siphon it back into the Puget Sound. He and the other intern would go down to the dock and check on it throughout the day to make sure that it was no longer sinking.
JJ has been going to Garfield High School for the past two years and intends to graduate in June 2020. His post-high school plans are to go to college, and though he’s not sure where at this point, he has a few ideas of what majors he may want to pursue that align with his current interest. Everything from astronomy to paleontology to marine biology. Jamariues started the summer determined to have new experiences and because of his internship with the Port, he was able to do just that.