On Air: How Much Help Does the Marine Industry Need Right Now?
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - News

Dave White, New York Sea Grant, Recreation and Tourism Specialist, P: 315-312- 3042, E: dgw9@cornell.edu

Geneva, NY, April 20, 2022 - Dave White, the Recreation and Tourism Specialist with New York Sea Grant, makes an appearance on Finger Lakes Radio for another boating discussion, this one including some answers to the question "How much help does the marine industry need right now?"

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You can listen to White's full conversation on Finger Lakes Radio ...

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Full Transcript: 

Speaker1: [00:00:09] And welcome back to Finger Lakes Radio this morning. It's 8:36 and a lot of people decided not to work anymore after the pandemic hit and might be looking for jobs, something maybe a little bit different. Here [00:00:30] to tell us about something that you may not have thought about is Dave White, who is part of the New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism Group. Dave. Good morning. How are you, sir?

Speaker2: [00:00:41] I am very well. Paul, good morning. Great to chat with you.

Speaker1: [00:00:44] And what we're talking about specifically here are job opportunities within the marine industry. How much help does the marine industry need right now?

Speaker2: [00:00:54] They are like every other industry and I love that you use the word industry because I think a lot of folks, when they drive by [00:01:00] a marina or a boat launch ramp, they don't put that in context that the Marine business of sales service, waterfront marinas is a large industry in the Finger Lakes area, without a doubt. And they, like all other industries, are just screaming, please, please apply. Please consider us when you're thinking about your next job opportunity and when you think about the Finger Lakes, we are water rich. So when we talk about boat sales, boat service, managing boats in the water dock, hands [00:01:30] being at the waterfront location, they are like all the other industries and just are begging folks to say, Hey, consider us and come on down and become part of this industry.

Speaker1: [00:01:41] We're talking with Dave White from the New York Sea Grant here on Flx morning. So how much of a dent did COVID put into the marine industry?

Speaker2: [00:01:53] The opposite end, because when you think about what COVID when COVID occurred, everybody was we need [00:02:00] to be outside. We need to social distance. And there was no better way to do that than being on a boat. So boating in 2020, 2021, continuing into 2022 has had a huge bubble, if you will, and growth in the industry, both in both sales people wanting to be on the water, it was significant in like many other industries, I mean, boats are motorized vehicles. If you get one with a motor, they're suffering some of the same things, supply [00:02:30] chain. So, you know, there was a point in time in 2020 where you couldn't either buy a boat or even some of the equipment to go on a boat. So and, you know, like other industries, people were coming in and out of it. People had to start working from home. So right now, there are just tremendous job opportunities if you want to be in boat sales, the service end of it. And, you know, and I think the service end of it but you got to think, you know, it's very competitive to the auto industry or again at the marina on the waterfront.

Speaker1: [00:02:59] Absolutely. [00:03:00] And I was really shocked when I saw this stat that recreational boating and fishing on a national level is credited with over 4 million jobs.

Speaker2: [00:03:11] Absolutely, and you know, I've gone on record and especially you don't hear in the Finger Lakes, you know, if you're listening to us and one of the things I have to share with folks is this is a true business. And a lot of you don't know that your age. But at my age, with a lot of gray hair, you know, back in the day, it was the mom and pop business. And you're going to work there six months, then go [00:03:30] on unemployment or whatever you might do. These are year round, well paying, well benefited jobs because these are true businesses. That that's the first thing people have to think about. And those listening to us right now, I would almost guarantee within ten miles of your house or wherever the nearest Marine facility is to you, you could probably walk in there today and say, I'm interested. I have some great skill set I think I could bring to the table. And if you don't walk out with a job from that business, they would probably recommend one down the street that you may be able [00:04:00] to get a job at to come into this industry. So it's that open and it's just a wonderful opportunity for folks that want to become part of the Marine community.

Speaker1: [00:04:08] Well, let's break and break open some of the headline categories that we're talking about within sales and marketing. There's actually quite a bit that's going on, and it doesn't just involve being on a sales floor and taking care of customers when they come in.

Speaker2: [00:04:25] It it really doesn't and you have to really begin to think about a [00:04:30] marine dealer if you're a boat supply sales service is no different than an auto store. I mean, in reality, they're just selling boats versus cars. So they're looking for the same kind of folks that can be looking at that market opportunity, as well as being on the floor for sales, the marina side as well. It's a waterfront facility and many of our facilities are full service to, doing sales, service, docking, launching. And again, they need all of those things. So students coming out of high school or a BOCES with a [00:05:00] program in the tech, in the technologies, be it auto tech, hydraulics, electric engineering, any one of those two year degrees, business management, marketing, sales, service, all of those really are what the industry is looking for and provide great opportunity. And like I say, these are year round jobs. They are well-paying because they have to be competitive and what a better place to work than being around boats and being around the waterfront.

Speaker1: [00:05:26] And let's break over in the service category as well, because there [00:05:30] are so many different skill sets involved in being a part of that segment of the industry.

Speaker2: [00:05:37] There really is. I mean, I have an inboard outboard engine on my boat. The out drive is a Volvo Penta out drive. The engine is a Chevy BLOCK engine. Most engines and an inboard engine are an auto based block engine. And any dealer that you would then go to work for, for service, which then send you for the skills either Mobil, Penta, Mercury, Murr, Cruiser, any one of the industries, [00:06:00] Yamaha, you know, you could name them, they'll then give you those skills. But then when you put it on the boat, you've got hydraulics, you know, you've got electronics. I mean, so some of the boats we see in the Finger Lakes have more electronics than cars have in them. So it's a very high tech field and a lot of those cases and they're really looking for those folks that want to come in and be a part of that. And I think it provides great opportunity as well as challenge for new students coming out to really roll their sleeves up and take some of those new technologies that they're learning and really [00:06:30] implement them when it comes to the boat market.

Speaker1: [00:06:32] And the reason I wanted to bring that up, Dave, is to address to people that might be thinking, well, I don't really have the skills to work on a boat. Actually there are a lot of skill sets that can be applied cross-platform. If you were working as an auto mechanic or an equipment mechanic or an electrician or things of that nature, you have skills that can be applied to this field.

Speaker2: [00:06:54] Absolutely and the skills that you don't have, you bring the interest in those skill sets. [00:07:00] They're going to help you work with it but absolutely. And that's why both BOCES centers, and I'm a BOCES graduate myself. I know the quality programs that our local BOCES programs have in all of those things that you just talked about, auto tech, auto service, you know, two year college degree. I'm a two year college grad as well. And I understand the great opportunity that those students would bring to bear. And, you know, they're going to come into an on water facility. And one of the first things you're going to do is get OSHA trained to operate, possibly a forklift. They're going to be operating a negative forklift, lifting boats [00:07:30] from 30 feet in the air down into the water, 30 foot in length. They're going to start operating a 100 ton travel lift to move the boats around the boatyard. So the skill set they bring in is just tremendous. And that's where a lot of our local marine industries would look at it and go, Please come on down and I'll even jump one more. I was at one of the Finger Lakes marinas last week and the owner was saying, I'm screaming for help, including in my restaurant and in my pool. I need lifeguards at my pool because they have a pool [00:08:00] on site. I need folks to work in my restaurant. They have a restaurant on site. So when you drive by these facilities, you need to realize they are holistic facilities in some cases providing all of these great opportunities. So even if you're looking at working in the restaurant business, what a great place to work in a restaurant right on the waterfront, in the Finger Lakes.

Speaker1: [00:08:17] And to broaden things out here a little bit, if you enjoy traveling a little bit, there are a number of places that do cruises, either on the lakes here or even branching out to [00:08:30] the cruise lines that are looking for people that fit the exact type of skill sets that we've been talking about.

Speaker2: [00:08:36] Absolutely and any one of the lakes in the Finger Lakes has the small cruise boats. But also we're seeing now a lot of rental rental boats have become very big in the Finger Lakes area, as well as up into the Lake Ontario area. Chartered boats for tour as well is a real opportunity. And right now there are two new cruise line industries that are going to be opening up in the next two years [00:09:00] on the Great Lakes for week-long cruises that are going to be looking for staff on board cruise ships. So, you know, you're really beginning to when you look out at the water and you see what's occurring on there, you're absolutely correct. It just it really begins to open your eyes as to what the opportunities are, depending on what your perspective is. You know, if you're an entertainer, we're going to start having cruise boats, seven day cruises on the Great Lakes, going from Lake Ontario up to Lake Michigan. They're going to be looking for entertainers. They're going to be [00:09:30] looking for restaurant people. They're going to be looking for on the water people. They're going to be looking for marine engineers. It just really broadens it out that we often don't think about all of those great jobs and all of those things that are involved in the Marine trade industry.

Speaker1: [00:09:43] Now, obviously, Dave, some of these jobs provide on the job training, but maybe if you're thinking about changing careers and you want to go get some education prior to jumping into the job field, what would you recommend as some good outlets?

Speaker2: [00:09:57] Again, you go back to our great local two [00:10:00] year colleges, Finger Lakes, community colleges, Cayuga Community College, Onondaga. You know, the various community colleges have some great retraining programs, one year certificate programs, and a lot of these and many of them have the the lab space and the working environment to get some of those skill sets. Also, almost all of our BOCES programs throughout the Finger Lakes are providing those retraining programs in heavy equipment, operation, auto service technologies. So for folks that are saying, [00:10:30] you know, I'd like to get into this, maybe it's a second career, maybe it's time for me to change, you know, check with them. But also, there's nobody friendlier than the Marine business folks because courtesy and hospitality is business one when it comes to dealing with boaters. So if you have an interest, stop down, stop down to down in Penn Yan, to Morgan Marine, you know, go over to see Bernie at Flx Marine and Union Springs. Check in with those folks in Gwinn and say, I'm really interested in maybe becoming a [00:11:00] part of the marine industry family. What would you suggest? What's the opportunity? What would you like to see if I was to apply here? You know, there's just great folks and just stop down, you know, say hi and say that you're interested, take your resume with you like you would to other, other possible employers. So the opportunity is there. And there are just some great folks in the Finger Lakes as part of our Boating Industry Association here in central New York  that would really welcome folks in.

Speaker1: [00:11:27] And there's a great resource not only for the information [00:11:30] we're talking about, but a lot of other things. Dave, The New York Sea Grant website, great place.

Speaker2: [00:11:35] Thank you. Thank you. And it's a great place to start. Also, there are several marine trades associations in the region, the Boating Industry Association, the Rochester Marine Trade Association. You can check their websites because they'll be putting postings on for their business operations or, you know, your favorite employment search engine, because a lot of folks are putting them on there. You know, and, you know, you always got to see, you know, the other exciting part. You know, somebody [00:12:00] could work six months in New York and six months in Florida. So, you know, it's also there's other opportunities out there that people can be thinking about because there are several new national companies that now have businesses throughout the Northeast and the Southeast that they'll move their staff from the north to the south depending on the weather.

Speaker1: [00:12:17] And that website, by the way, is nyseagrant.org. That's nyseagrant.org. Definitely worth checking out. Dave, thank [00:12:30] you so much for the information and hopefully we'll have stirred some people out of the woodwork here and our local marine industry will find themselves having some new applicants and possibly some new folks to work with.

Speaker2: [00:12:41] They would absolutely love that and they would welcome you to their business and welcome you to the the boating family, as they say. So great. Thanks for having me, Paul. I appreciate it.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly.

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