Lakes Region Community College and community partners respond to regional marine technician shortage

Lakes Region Community College and community partners respond to regional marine technician shortage

October 26, 2017

Lakes Region Community College and community partners respond to regional marine technician shortage

Tis’ the season to winterize watercraft in New England, and your local marina is probably short staffed

Laconia, New Hampshire – With freezing temperatures on the horizon, New Hampshire’s boating community is preparing for a busy season getting recreational and professional watercraft ready for winter. But the technicians on the front lines of the job may be looking at late nights as industry and community partners work together to highlight the year-round occupation and its favorable job prospects for those looking for immediate work.

Lakes Region Community College (LRCC), along with several community partners, is leading the charge with its flexible certificate and associate degree programs in marine technology, which include training in marine engine repair and maintenance, diagnostic equipment and other technical skills needed in the bustling marine technology industry.

“We work closely with recreational marine equipment businesses across the state and across the country to make sure our graduates are among the most qualified marine technologists in the workforce,” said Jacob Marsh, LRCC’s marine technology program coordinator.

Graduates gain knowledge and specialized skills to winterize and maintain watercraft, which include high-end recreational watercraft and other marine engines that represent a significant investment on behalf of the boat’s owner. Along with mechanical skills, students learn the business, safety, and communication skills future employers say they want. Employed by boat dealerships, marinas, and repair shops, LRCC marine program graduates are met with a 100% job placement rate for those looking for full-time employment.

Marsh and his students hear about the needs of the industry firsthand through partnerships and internships with many dealerships, alumni, and organizations that contribute to LRCC’s program. Instructors for the program also work at local companies, bringing real-world experience to complement the foundations and lab work at LRCC.  Many students complete the certificate program in a year, or the associate degree program and internship in two, and get hired almost immediately.

“I have a list with eight local dealerships within 30 miles of campus that are looking for at least one marine technician,” said Marsh, who graduated from LRCC’s marine technology program 18 years ago, is connected to a family watercraft dealership, and owns a boat himself. “If you want to be in this field, now is the time to complete the training.”

For those in the industry, LRCC is known for its marine technology training programs, with prominent manufacturers of watercraft looking to the Granite State institution for training for their own employees. Wisconsin-based Mercury Marine, the largest manufacturer and distributor of outboard and sterndrive engines in the country, sends its technicians to LRCC for professional development and all of its service training. In turn, LRCC instructors get premium access to the newest equipment and training protocols from Mercury Marine and its 4,000+ dealerships in the U.S. And on the local level, LRCC answers the call as well.

“LRCC has the programs, technology, and expertise for training the workforce for the ‘GM of the boating world,’ but they also understand what local marine businesses in our state are looking for in future employees,” said Ed Crawford of Winnisquam Marine in Belmont. “The graduates are ready to go right out of school, and having a marine trades program here in New Hampshire has been instrumental to growing my business.”

Other local partners include the New Hampshire Marine Trades Association and its members, which helps recruit students, promote the program, donate equipment, and offer internships, Fay’s Boat Yard in Gilford, Irwin Marine in Laconia, Thurston’s Marina in Weir’s Beach, Green’s Marine in Hooksett, and others.

For more information about the opportunities available in marine technology or to learn more about LRCC’s marine technology certificate and associate degree programs, contact Jake Marsh at 603-366-5212 or jmarsh@ccsnh.edu.

How to winterize your boat

When the water is too cold (or solid) for your boat, here’s what is involved to preserve and protect your watercraft for the coming months.

  1. Drain and preserve craft’s cooling systems
  2. Stabilize fuel system
  3. Clean and preserve engine
  4. Clean and detail entire watercraft
  5. Shrink wrap boat with protective film that blocks UV rays, snow, and the elements or place in storage facility often times heated.

Professor Jake Marsh works with students on one of Mercury Marine's 150hp four-stroke training engines. LRCC has been working with mercury for 20 years in offering the highest level of marine engine training in the northeast. Hands on training is a must, in a field as technical as this. The students gain not only mechanical skills but computer and electrical as well. 

Professor Jake Marsh and alumni Bill Moriarty.

About LRCC

Lakes Region Community College is a fully accredited, comprehensive community college located in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire that serves over 1,200 students annually.  LRCC offers 28 associate degree programs including Nursing, Fire Technology, Business, Media Arts, Culinary Arts, Automotive, and Marine Technology, as well as short-term certificate programs.  LRCC is a part of the Community College System of New Hampshire. The seven community colleges in the system are committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors and embraces the "65 by 25 Initiative," which calls for 65% of NH citizens to have some form of postsecondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands. 

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