On Air: Marine Industry Job Opportunities
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - News

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

Watertown, NY, April 21, 2022 - "This is the time we really think about all those changes from winter to spring and then we're going to quickly go from spring to summer," says Dave White, New York Sea Grant's Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist, during a recent boating segment on WTNY 790 AM Watertown. "We've got to be planning for it. And you know, one of the things that we have kicked around and talked about is the opportunity for folks to get a job in the marine industry."

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Full Transcript: 

Speaker1: [00:00:00] One, two, three. Splish Splash. I was taking a bath.

[00:00:05] All about a Saturday night, rub tub splashing in the tub, relaxing into thinking everything was all right.

Speaker2: [00:00:14] Good morning.

Speaker1: [00:00:15] Good morning.

Speaker2: [00:00:16] Happy Thursday. All right. A little splish splash. And this morning, a splish splash. A jump that seemed appropriate. Well, how was I? It was a party, splish, splash. And in my studio with me is the one [00:00:30] and only New York Sea Grant, Coastal Recreation and tourism specialist fit that on a business card, Dave White Good morning.

Speaker1: [00:00:37] Good morning. I like that splish splash. We go from the national anthem to splish bathroom. We're all sitting here first for singing the national anthem and then we're switching and splashing.

Speaker2: [00:00:44] Well, you know, we got to keep and keep you on your toes in here.

Speaker1: [00:00:47] I'm loving it. I'm loving it. It's just it's great. It's always good to be with you guys.

Speaker2: [00:00:50] Yes, absolutely. We got to keep it keep it entertaining. So good morning. Welcome back to the studio.

Speaker1: [00:00:55] Always good to be here, especially on a great day. I didn't drive through any snow.

Speaker2: [00:00:58] Oh, my goodness.

Speaker1: [00:00:59] Grass. The trees are [00:01:00] budding. And could it be any better?

Speaker2: [00:01:01] I mean, do you have any pull with like the weather kind of thing? Because, you know, what we just went through that was that was a little BS. If I'm allowed to say.

Speaker1: [00:01:09] I'm going to get my bad snow by saying this. But it's Mother Nature and I live with three women and I work with three women in my place in life, and I do not have any pull whatsoever with any of that. So let's be serious.

Speaker2: [00:01:23] Yeah, well, she just, you know, she had a mood swing. And it's hard it's hard to think that we're talking about, you know, the the [00:01:30] anything coastal or waterways at this time when literally the snow is still melting outside. But good weather is coming.

Speaker1: [00:01:37] Good weather is coming. It's sprinter and this is the time we really think about all those changes from winter to spring and then we're going to quickly go from spring to summer. So it is the time to be thinking about it because we've got to be planning for it. And you know, one of the things that we have kicked around and talked about is the opportunity for folks to get a job in the marine industry.

Speaker2: [00:01:56] Oh okay.

Speaker1: [00:01:58] You know, it's one of those things that a lot of folks [00:02:00] don't think about, right. You know, and I love it when we refer to them as the marine trade industry, you know, and as folks drive by the local marina boat launch, ramp, sales, boat service, all those things, they are screaming, screaming, screaming as loud as anyone for folks to join them in the industry who wants to get employed. And there are just a great number of full time, well-paying, good benefit jobs in the industry that they're screaming for.

Speaker2: [00:02:27] So there, you know, you think a lot of people looking [00:02:30] for for employment right now and everybody, of course, it seems like most businesses are you see help wanted signs everywhere. But like you said, you don't really think about the marine industry. So what are some positions that that people could potentially see a need for?

Speaker1: [00:02:45] Yeah, and it really goes back to a mindset in a lot of folks will drive by and think, oh, that's just a six month business. These are year round businesses with year round employees. So it has to be a mind change for a lot of us to be thinking about that as well. You know, let's look at some of the [00:03:00] basics. You know, you think about boat sales, you're selling a product. So folks that have, you know, they've come out of high school with focus on business or they're coming out of one of our great BOCES centers to our tech centers with some of the technical knowledge two your college folks that are looking to get into, you know, who’d like to sell cars or maybe our boats are the same thing you're in. You're selling a great product, right? You know, and the nice thing I like about it is if people are buying a boat, they're in a really good mood.

Speaker2: [00:03:27] Yeah, usually.

Speaker1: [00:03:28] Usually, usually they are. So, you know, it's [00:03:30] a it's an exciting opportunity. So you can think boat sales, boat service, you know, again, our BOCE centers up here in the North Country just, you know, are putting out great folks that have auto, tech, electronics, hydrology, all those skills that you would need in the marine industry. They're getting right here in the north country from our community colleges.

Speaker2: Right.

Speaker1: [00:03:48] From our BOCE Centers, from our high school programs, to be able to walk in the door and really provide some of those key skills on the service side. And then when you get to the waterfront, if you're on a waterfront, Marina, I [00:04:00] I mean, many of these are full service marinas that are on the water and they need folks out on the docks, gas attendants. So, you know, people that are thinking summer job, high school, college and then working into full time, it is a great place to work. It is a great place to be. And, you know, the nice thing I like to say, unless somebody boat's broken down, they're usually pretty happy to be there..

Speaker2: [00:04:20] Yeah. So, you know.

Speaker1: [00:04:21] It's a happy place to be, you know, in the North Country with a great water resources that we have.

Speaker2: [00:04:26] Right. We like to joke around here that the river folk are a different kind of [00:04:30] of people, but I think that's just because they're happy they figured it out.

Speaker1: [00:04:34] Oh, I like that. I like that. A lot of times when people say river folk are different, that's not the direction they know.

Speaker2: [00:04:38] No, I think it's just because they're happy. They've got it figured out, you know?

Speaker1: [00:04:41] And we all can be river and lake folk. Sure. I mean, you know, and even, you know, selling kayaks, canoes to folks, getting them out there on the water. So it is really a great opportunity. And, you know, as I've been chatting with folks about this to raise awareness about the opportunity with all our good friends up here in the Boating Industry Association that are working on the waterfront, [00:05:00] whether you're coming into it a canoe kayak or you're working with some of our great folks up here on some nice runabouts, some nice cabin cruiser, sailboats. It's just a great opportunity to be working in this industry. And if a lot of folks just take that moment to sit back for a minute and think, you know, do I have a skill set for that? I think there's a lot of people are going to say, well, yeah, I really do have that kind of skill set that they would be looking for. And, you know, because of where we live, I would say people listening to us within ten miles of your house, [00:05:30] there is probably a marine service dealer, boat sales, service, arena, waterfront, whatever it might be that if you walked into them today and say, Hey, I'm really thinking about this as is a career choice in a direction.

Speaker1: [00:05:41] Number one, they're going to be really glad to see you. Take your resume, have a chat with them. My guess is if they say I don't have anything for you today, but hey, my neighbor down the street does. Hey, why don't you go over to Clayton Marina? Hey, why don't you go over to Henderson Harbor Marina, they might have something for you. So, you know, we think about all these areas, you know, and many of them also have swimming [00:06:00] pools. So they need lifeguards for the summer. Right. They have restaurants. They need all the folks that would work in a restaurant. So, you know, when you think of the breadth and depth of the industry and we are talking good paying, year round, solid jobs for sure right here in the north country to take advantage of it and be a part of.

Speaker2: [00:06:16] So this is I mean, this is from entry level right up to skilled. This is at any stage that you may be at in life, there is potentially something there for you.

Speaker1: [00:06:25] Absolutely. And if you're bringing that base skill in, they're going to then work with you depending on the facility you're at [00:06:30] to get additional training. You know, maybe in Mercury, Marine, Yamaha, Marine, you know, they're going to get you OSHA training to run a forklift that you're now carrying a 30 foot boat from a dry stack storage into the water. You're running a multi ton lift to move boats around the yard and they're going to get you all that training that you need to be a part of that they'll send you off to school if you need additional training.

Speaker1: [00:06:53] But you know, I'm a product of BOCES and two year college as well as four year. So I know [00:07:00] the kind of skill sets those folks come out with and they are so needed right now in the marine industry. It's just a great opportunity that I think a lot of folks just haven't thought about because they always think it's just seasonal and you know, the season is busy, but the season now is four season.

Speaker2: [00:07:16]  Well and I feel like correct me if I'm wrong because I'm not as invested in it as you are, but I feel like the marine industry is is kind of one of those fields where you can come in with a skill set and an education. But [00:07:30] it kind of is one of those where experience bodes just as well as you grow in the marine industry. Like experience is going to come in and play a huge factor as well when you're dealing with on the water type thing.

Speaker1: [00:07:42] Absolutely. You know, the experience you bring some of the the credentialing that you have coming in or.

Speaker2: [00:07:47] What you learn even in that industry.

Speaker1: [00:07:49] Oh, absolutely. What you learn while you're there. But also, this is a great if someone's looking to second career opportunity. Sure. Because a lot of folks, especially, again, are BOCES, [00:08:00] community colleges are running those evening classes, some of the technical programs. So, you know, if you're thinking about that second career or I'm looking to change, this is a great opportunity to be thinking about. And they will. And, you know, the other reason that they're going to do good wages, good benefits is they want to keep you, because if they do that training and get you that experience, they're going to want to keep you at their facility with them. Right. You're going to be doing boat shows. You're going to be doing on the water events. You know, you're going to be doing, you know, in in shop service, you know, in floor [00:08:30] sales, you know, depending on the aspect that you want to look at. And, you know, you think about most inboard outboard engines. Most people don't realize the inboard part of an inboard outboard engine is are automotive based.

Speaker2: [00:08:40] Right? Right, exactly.

Speaker1: [00:08:42] So, you know, just mechanical. It's another one of those things. And, you know, to moms and dads, I also say it and I've said it in my entire career, having worked in a BOCES as well is, you know, these kind of jobs are what are out there for the kids. And it's an area that you need to be thinking about a little differently because sure not the mom and [00:09:00] pop, right, that a lot of us grew up thinking about. These are solid business and solid industries that are year round, full time and are really looking for especially local folks to come in because they can bring the the local you know, if they've got a boater coming in, hey, where should I go? What's a good place for lunch or for dinner? Right. Because this is also hospitality 101 they're the front door to many people coming into the area. If they're coming through Lake Ontario or the Saint Lawrence River, you know, there may be a transient boater, [00:09:30] you know. So having that local knowledge also is just absolutely key about, hey, this is a great restaurant. You know, my sister works down there. Tell her I sent you. I mean, those kind of things mean so much to people.

Speaker2: [00:09:40] Well, and that's to me, that's and I've said that before on the show, it's such a huge asset to not only that we have such beautiful resources here to take advantage of, but to know where to go. And something that I've talked about with Fort Drum and the outside communities hooking up with a local not literally hooking [00:10:00] up, but you know what I mean?

Speaker1: [00:10:02] Introducing Brian just raised his eyes like I did mine. Okay. Yeah, we're going to pass on that one.

Speaker2: [00:10:07] No, not literally. You know, introducing yourself into the local community to find out where to go, to enjoy the resources that we do have here that not everybody may know about.

Speaker1: [00:10:17] Absolutely. And that's when they find out, hey, the restaurant's open year round. I can come back up here in the off season, quote unquote, and take advantage of these great opportunities we have in the shoulder season. I mean, to me, boating is really ice out [00:10:30] to ice on. It's really changed that opportunity and so getting folks out on the waterfront that are working with these folks that can provide them with that information, you know, and again, it's an industry that a lot of folks haven't thought about that, you know, you want to stay in the north country. I love it up here. It's a part of who I am. You know, as you were talking earlier about what are people going to remember, you know, 20, 30 years from now?

Speaker2: [00:10:51] You got that?

Speaker1: [00:10:52] Did you know what they're going to remember? They're going to remember being on Lake Ontario or the Saint Lawrence River or the Black River.

Speaker2: [00:10:57] The good things.

Speaker1: [00:10:57] The good things. And if they don't have a memory yet, [00:11:00] here's a great way to find some.

Speaker2: [00:11:01] There you go.

Speaker1: [00:11:01] And be part of making those memories with folks. So absolutely. It's a great opportunity. It's something that I encourage folks to think about and feel free. Just, you know, stop in one of the businesses. They're going to say, you know, glad you're here. What can we do to work together, you know. And if not that business, there's probably another one down the street that would be really interested in having folks come by.

Speaker2: [00:11:22] So now, you know, we saw a kind of an uptick in interest in water activity and boating because of the [00:11:30] pandemic. Really, there wasn't really a whole lot you could do other than be outside. And so, you know, the water afforded a great opportunity to do that. Do you think that that will be consistent again this year? Do you think we'll still see a lot of that activity going on or as things start to kind of open up, we'll start to go back to normal?

Speaker1: [00:11:47] I you know, I'm hoping it's a new normal for folks because I think getting people in our part of the world out on the water is just a wonderful thing. I mean, we have water resources here that no one else has, right? You cannot find a place like the Black River or the St [00:12:00] Lawrence River and absolutely. You know, and I'm a fan, as you well know. So, you know, I think that we're going to continue to see it stay, at least at that level, for several years. You know, will it level off a little bit? Absolutely. But I think a lot of folks that got into boating, got in and said, wow, I've been missing out, you know, what a great opportunity. Or they've come back to it. They maybe grew up with it up here and they've come back into it and paddle sports has become huge, as we all know. And to me, paddle sports is that real entry into it. And whether they move ever move beyond it, you know, being able [00:12:30] to throw the kayak canoe paddle board in the back of your car. And you know, as you've heard me say before, I mean, you can get an inflatable kayak or paddle board and it'll fit in the front trunk of a Volkswagen. And I just changed myself by saying that. Brian Yeah. Does JJ know what I'm talking about? Brian Or do we have to educate her about the front she might seem to love, but there we go.

Speaker2: [00:12:49] I do. I do know what you're talking about, actually. You know.

Speaker1: [00:12:51] You could drive a Volkswagen and put a paddle board or kayak in the front trunk, which gives you access to all of our water resources. So those kind of newer technologies [00:13:00] have really opened up our waterways to everybody. And, you know, again, the industry that's there to support it because somebody's got to be out there helping you understand kayaking and paddle boarding and canoeing. So it's all a part of it regardless of where people are coming into it. But the folks that are on the front line with the jobs are helping those folks get into it. It's going to continue to grow, at least for a couple of years. But I see where we're at now really staying for a long time because I think people are really enjoying resources that they've become renewed with.

Speaker2: [00:13:28] Well, you know, I'm a huge kayaker. [00:13:30] I love the water here, so I'm super excited to hear you say that. And like you said, it's just it's a beautiful area. It really is. And so I am a I'm a water lover for life up here. But no. So anybody interested in getting into this industry, where where are some of the places they could maybe find more information or potential job leads if they're not comfortable stopping in, maybe somewhere? Yeah.

Speaker1: [00:13:50] You know, you can use your your usual search engine of whichever job board that you'd like to go on. Many of them are posted there, but also the Boating Industry Association, [00:14:00] which represents many of the facilities in the North Country as well. You can go on their website, you can do a search as to where are some of the facilities, what different parts of the area, you know, local job listings right here in the north country. They're taking advantage of those. And for a lot of cases, it may be a drop by because there may be a facility near you that you're thinking, boy, it might be really nice to stop in and see my friends over at French Creek or, you know, at Sierra Yachts or some of the other great facilities we have right here. And just say, you know, I've [00:14:30] heard about jobs in this industry and I'm thinking about it. They would really welcome you in the door. And, you know, I really encourage folks to be thinking about that. But you can use what is it Indeed or sure and LinkedIn and all those great things that I know nothing about, you know.

Speaker2: [00:14:46] Your word of mouth kind of guy I hear about.

Speaker1: [00:14:49] But, you know, so use your favorite your favorite search engine to to find what might be out there for you.

Speaker2: [00:14:53] Perfect. So lots of opportunities. The weather is keep our fingers crossed getting nicer.

Speaker1: [00:14:58] Well. It's getting nicer. [00:15:00] But as soon as you have ice out there, they’re putting boats in. And so our Marine boatyards in the north country have been busy for the last few weeks with the nice weather we've had. I mean, because if you've got a yard, you've got 100 boats and everybody wants them in at the first great sunny day. Sure they do. So they've been busy working. And that's what a lot of folks don't realize is this is this is not your Memorial Day to Labor Day boating season anymore. No, no. This is this is year round.

Speaker2: [00:15:25] Boats and motorcycles. You see them all those first few nice days.

Speaker1: [00:15:28] Oh you’ve got to get out there. [00:15:30]. You've got to get out there. I mean, I was touring the Southern Shore about three weeks ago, and let's see, as I was touring the Southern Shore, Fairhaven Bay, they were launching boats, Port Bay was iced in and Sodus Bay, the ice was going out so within an hour I saw three different ones, but they were putting boats in on wherever they could.

Speaker2: [00:15:49] Wherever they could.

Speaker1: [00:15:50] That was St Patrick's Day.

Speaker2: [00:15:52] Wow. Yeah. They just can't wait.

Speaker1: [00:15:53] The boats were in the water they were getting out there because it was a beautiful, gorgeous day and the boat was ready to go so.

Speaker2: [00:15:57] Well, like you said, there's still plenty of opportunities for year round [00:16:00] employment as well in the industry. So.

Speaker1: [00:16:01] Absolutely.

Speaker2: [00:16:02] Absolutely. Well, David, appreciate you coming in. Thank you for the information, as always. Looking forward to the beautiful weather and getting back out on the water myself personally. But yeah, if you're looking for maybe a different kind of industry to get into, if you're a water lover or not, you might have the skill set and for some opportunities there to spread your wings and expand a little bit. So. Dave White with The New York Sea Grant, thanks again for coming in.

Speaker1: [00:16:24] Always great to be with you. Have a great day.

Speaker2: [00:16:25] 7:53 50 degrees. You're listening to 790 WTNYA NY.

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.

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