Captain’s Chair: Don’t forget about our future March 18, 2015

As we go about our business in the marine industry, it can be easy to forget about the younger generation who will one day be joining us. But it’s important to remember that the younger generation is the future of our industry.

One way to help steer them in the right direction is by getting involved with events such as the Plywood Regatta. Now in its 19th year, the Plywood Regatta ( gives students mentored by industry professionals the chance to build their own boats and race them against each other. This year’s event will be on Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12, at the Dania Beach Pier.

There are several ways you can get involved. We need mentors for each of the teams, volunteers the weekend of the event and sponsors. Sponsorships support the Plywood Regatta Scholarship Fund, which provides financial support to deserving and qualified Plywood Regatta participants for advanced education toward recreational marine industry careers.

Also on February 19, MIASF board member Colleen Deverteuil gave a marine industry career presentation at Stranahan High School job fair for juniors and seniors. The presentation included a look at various managerial, technical and service jobs including naval architects, engineers, sales, electricians, welders, carpenters, machinists, crew, marina staff, fishing, diving, charters and many more. Events like this are a great way to educate students about the variety of career options that may be available to them in the marine industry.

And we’re looking into creating an ABS-certified welding program at our local colleges that will produce skilled welders who will be qualified for real-world jobs in the marine industry after they graduate. As recent articles in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes confirm, there is a lack of skilled trades workers, and the need for skilled workers to fill growing positions is a local and national challenge.

The marine industry offers careers with competitive salaries and benefits, and the local colleges have the ability to train the needed skilled workforce required for them. So marrying these two sectors should be a natural course of action.

According to MIASF member yards, welder’s salaries range from $17-25 per hour, and a certified welder with fabrication or machining skills or a shop foreman can earn even more.
MIASF is working with our local schools to develop a curriculum and better programming to resolve our local problem. Hopefully it will become a program that other schools can use as a model to train skilled workers and prepare them for the workforce.

Our area also already offers its own marine research triangle, or International Marine Hub, comparable to the Research Triangle in Durham, N.C. and Silicon Valley, Calif. The trifecta of Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center, Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science is unparalleled anywhere else in this country and offers students interested in marine science a one-of-a-kind opportunity.

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Marine Industries Association of South Florida. 221 SW 3rd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. Phone: 954.524.2733