Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Working Hard: Florida Youths Pursue Careers In The Marine Industry

May 1, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 



Imagine a job that allows you to work on the water, follow your dreams, and earn a respectable salary while you’re at it.

More young men and women throughout Florida are finding that working as a marine mechanic may be the road to a fulfilling career and financial stability. The industry is booming in South Florida. Miami-Dade and Broward County have both shown steady growth in yacht sails in recent years, which leads directly to more jobs. Those with skills can earn $35,000 right out of high school and developing those skills can lead to a six-figure income.

A growing interest in the field was unmistakable during an event held in April in Dania Beach. More than 300 marine mechanic students gathered for the 19th Annual Plywood Regatta in which middle, high school, and college students compete to build and race plywood boats. The two-day event, sponsored by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, seeks to encourage and inspire young people who are interested in the field.

“I love boating and fixing boat engines,” says Rene Mesa, a student in the marine mechanics program at McFatter Technical Center who attended the event. “I would love to spend my life repairing boat and yacht engines. And that’s what I plan to do.”

David Sellepack, an engineering teacher at Riviera Beach Maritime Academy, agrees that marine mechanics offers many opportunities for young people. A group of his students participated in the Plywood Regatta, which was held on Whiskey Creek in John Lloyd State Park.Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 4.47.00 PM

“We are teaching young people about naval architecture, engineering, boat building, fiberglass, air-conditioning, and electronics,” says Sellepack. “There are a lot of jobs in the marine industry.”

Students that participated in the event showed tremendous initiative. Teams lined up along the beach as they worked together to assemble the make-shift boats. There was a buzz of camaraderie among the students, and mentors and parents cheered from the sidelines.

Terry Jones, a marine service technology teacher at South Broward High School, believes young people who are willing to work hard will be successful in the marine service industry. He looked on as a large group of his students competed in the Plywood Regatta. His program offers training that can lead directly to jobs in some cases.

“The students in this program love to take things apart and work with their hands,” he says. “They just love to fix boat engines. There are a lot of high-paying jobs young people can do if they are willing to get their hands dirty.”

For more information about the event and the Marine Industries Association of South Florida visit www.miasf.org/event/19th-annual-plywood-regatta.

webPlus_web_green1Additional photos and more from participating students.

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