updated 4/6/2011 11:18:10 AM ET 2011-04-06T15:18:10

HOUSTON, April 6, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hundreds of area high school maritime students and Sea Scouts are expected at a Maritime Youth Expo on Saturday, April 9, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., at Sylvan Beach in La Porte. The youth will have the opportunity to view a variety of exhibits – from man overboard demonstrations to U.S. Coast Guard helicopter operations to real-time firefighting. Career path information associated with the maritime industry and military service will also be available.

The event is being hosted by the Port of Houston Authority in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, Houston Pilots Association, Economic Alliance Houston Port Region, San Jacinto College, Texas Department of Parks & Wildlife, Texas Southern University and the West Gulf Maritime Association.

Among other planned activities are a safety on the beach exhibit, including information on CPR/911; line heaving training; boat/vessel examinations and training; U.S. Coast Guard helicopter hoist rescue and landing; and displays of U.S. Coast Guard RB-S patrol boat and damage control tank. In addition, students may take part in the beer goggle experience, wearing a series of goggles that simulate degrees of intoxication.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department; U.S. Coast Guard recruiters and Port of Houston Authority will have booths at the event.

Participants include students enrolled in maritime academies at Jack Yates, Stephen F. Austin and La Porte high schools and in maritime programs in other local Independent School Districts, as well as youth from Sea Scout Ship 1926, Sea Scout Ship 77–S.S.S. Raggety, Sea Scout Ship 17–S.S.S. Gilded Lady, Sea Scout Ship 31–S.S.S. Perla Negra and Sea Scout Ship 306 (Houston Gateway Academy). Lunch will be provided for participants.

The Port of Houston Authority collaborated with Houston ISD on the Port of Houston Maritime Academy, which debuted in fall 2009 at Stephen F. Austin and Jack Yates high schools and now has nearly 400 students enrolled. Maritime programs are also being offered by La Porte ISD, Pasadena ISD, Galena Park ISD and Houston Gateway Academy. At the university level, the Port Authority partners with Texas Southern University on an academic degree program in Maritime Transportation Management and Security.

The maritime industry offers many opportunities for fulfilling and well-paying careers, including such jobs as U.S. Coast Guard officer, U.S. Customs & Border Patrol officer, vessel pilot, engineer, harbor tugboat operator or inland push boat operator.

About the Port of Houston Authority

The Port of Houston Authority owns and operates the public facilities located along the Port of Houston, the 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities designed for handling general cargo, containers, grain and other dry bulk materials, project and heavy lift cargo, and other types of cargo. Each year, there are more than 7,700 vessel calls at the port, which ranks first in the U.S. in foreign waterborne tonnage and second in overall total tonnage. The port authority plays a vital role in ensuring navigational safety along the Houston Ship Channel, which has been instrumental in Houston's development as a center of international trade. The Barbours Cut Container Terminal and Central Maintenance Facility are the first of any U.S. port facilities to develop and implement an innovative Environmental Management System that meets the rigorous standards of ISO 14001. The second recertification of those facilities in 2009 included an extension for the state-of-the-art Bayport Container Terminal. The port authority is the first port authority in the world to receive ISO 28000:2007 certification for its port police and the perimeter security operations at both the Barbours Cut and Bayport Terminals. Additionally, the port is an approved delivery point for Coffee "C" futures contracts traded on the New York Board of Trade's Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange. For more information, please visit www.portofhouston.com

To access the port's Web site photo gallery, please visit http://www.portofhouston.com/publicrelations/publicrelations.html and click the link for Port Authority Photo Gallery.

The Maritime Youth Expo Logos are available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=9452 .

CONTACT: Lisa Ashley, Director, Corporate Communications
         Office: (713) 670-2644
         Cell: (832) 247-8179
         E-mail: lashley@poha.com

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