A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

The future of the boating work force

Check out today’s newsletter story on Broward Community College’s Marine Technology Center of Excellence.

Given today’s distressed economy it is refreshing to know some people can still donate to causes that will help the marine industry.  Nearly a half million in cash and equipment has already been raised for the program, and at least another $2 million is needed to finish the building in Florida that will educate students, preparing them for work in the industry.

Students in BCC’s program earn an associate of science degree and will graduate with the skills needed to excel in the various careers available to them in the marine industry.

BCC’s program would not have been possible without support from industry companies, trade associations and other groups and individuals committed to growing boating, despite the challenges the industry faces.

The Florida program is a good beginning.

Are more such programs needed? What are the chances of a nation-wide push for similar programs at community colleges throughout the United States?

Beth Rosenberg
Staff writer


6 comments on “The future of the boating work force

  1. Gordy McKelvey

    Kudos to BCC. South Florida can really benefit from a program of that scope and so can the graduates. South Florida is blessed with good boating weather 24/7/365. A person who wants a career in the marine service sector can be sucessful in South Florida and make a good living.

    In Nashville Tennessee the boating season runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Most of the boats that break over Labor Day weekend stay broken until two weeks before Memorial Day. Having spent the better part of my marine business career in the Nashville area I know how hard it is to get boats into the shops for off season service. It’s frustrating to say the least. I also know how hard it is to make a decent living as a boat mechanic. The dealers and the boatyards just can’t afford to pay full time wages for part time work. I feel that it would be extremely difficult to attract serious candidates to enroll in community college programs as well as getting the community colleges to spend the money to put the marine education programs in place, simply because in this part of the country the boat business is so seasonal.

    I also realize there going to be “pockets” around the country where this type of program will work but not on a large scale. Graduates of any program want to feel like ther’re jobs available when they graduate. I just dont see it in the marine sector on a nationwide basis. Good luck!

  2. Tom Norris

    There are many programs being developed with community colleges. One of the best appears to be the one that the Mass Marine Trades Association spearheaded.

    I would like to offer some words of caution however. While I am in favor of advanced education, a college degree brings with it a different set of expectations regarding salary, working conditions, and career progression. Unless marina owners and managers understand this and the impact it will have on their operations, the industry will have a difficult time in retaining this newly trained workforce.

  3. Prof Conrad Kreuter

    Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn New York, has a similar program, An AAS degree in Marine Technology with a Marine Technician endorsement. Our program has been running for the last four years with many of our graduates employeed in industry during their first and second year into the program.

  4. Richard Maguire

    As someone that served a boat building apprentice back in the early 80s in the UK I can strongly endorse a boat building programe in trade – colleges. Its the only way to produce a quality work force with the knowledge needed these days in a highly technical field. A company that takes on labor from the streets is only passing the information and knowlege of boat building in small amounts. Taking people thru a four year apprenticeship produces loyality to the company and stable work force.

  5. steve

    I have been in the marine industry for 34 years 18 of which I have owned my own dealership. I have never earned a decent wage, have struggled to keep my dealership alive for the last six years. And I say anyone who wants a career in the marine industry should have their head examined. The problem is not educating the work force but the customers who want it yesterday for free, along with the boat manufactures who won’t support their dealers. Why would anyone pay good money for an education that can’t provide them with a decent wage?

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