Alarming lack of boat mechanics and parts

surfnfish

Active Member
Had a very successful work run without college, able to retire at 56.
Times have changed, however, and the vast majority the young need a degree just to get an interview for anything above a service sector job these days. All 3 of my kids have functional degrees, making fine livings in their areas of study.
And whereas there is a growing need for highly skilled techs in the trades, the unions are very tough to get into because they prioritize job security of their older members, and too many of the tech schools are just inept.
Here in the Bend area, HVAC companies are hiring employees with little
core experience if they can demonstrate reasonable technical prowness.
My cable installer of two years ago was the HVAC tech who just did some warranty work on my furnace.
With that said, it's an enormous job market, and anyone with the drive and determination will find their way. Starts with turning off the damn video games and going out the front door.

MMI Marine Tech school puts out outboard wrenchers...wish a couple would move here to Bend.
 

Robert Engleheart

Robert
WFF Supporter
I worked construction out of HS which led me into the pipe trades. CDL at 18, pipe welding certs by 20. Guided for a dozen years. Operated equipment. Learned diesels and hydraulics. Was a service rep, and service manager for an equipment manufacturer. Went into sales. Now, a semi retired business owner at 55. Full life, never looked back. College ain't for everybody.

very true, I retired from the trades with a lifetime of great memories and a higher income than any of my siblings of which three hold masters or higher degrees. As the first of five generations not to get a college degree my father was disappointed but his words to me were true “... be the best you can at whatever you do and take pride in your work...”

...... It's about excellence in a field more than the chosen field for many. There is not much guidance on aptitude leading to a career. For example a kid who is handy on the farm with a head for numbers is guided to a career as an accountant instead of a precision ag degree (which has business classes)......

Those HS aptitude tests are a joke. A good friend was told he was best suited for work in a shovel factory; he became the “Duke” of the Chicago Board of Trade Currency Exchange and retired at 40 with 600 acres on a salmon/steelhead river in Oregon, growing pole lumber, Christmas trees and wine. Shovel factory my @$$.
 

Hookup340

New Member
Just discovering how the rec boating industry is lacking good engine mechanics, and how badly the parts pipeline has been interrupted..
The owner of the only full time boat shop in Bend recently retired, prospective buyers for his business had to pass because they could not find qualified boat mechanics or secure manufacturer supply parts agreements.
So towed my boat north to Culver Marine for a full engine diagnostic, parked for a month in que before they could get to it. When I picked it up yesterday, the owner/service manager said he was not accepting more work due to a now two month service que, had only received 25% of ordered parts in their last shipment, and would likely have to close shop when his aging mechanics retired because he can't find any.
So while towing my boat back home yesterday called the service manager at Stevens Marine in Tigard, asked them if they thought of filling the Bend area need. He said highly unlikely as they cannot find enough qualified mechanics for their current business, are having a terrible time getting parts, and continue to advertise nationally for qualified outboard mechanics with zero luck because whereas Stevens pays their mechanics $65 an hour, the larger markets like SoCal and Florida are paying OB mechanics $95 an hour.
Younger folks with a mechanical aptitude looking to make a good living could do worse than investing a year at MTTI.
And if currently have a good ob mechanic...be nice to him.
Well, Welcome to the Skilled Trades Shortage
Im a Refrigeration Steam Engineer,Retired now ,This shortage started 15 years, The Utilities saw it first Journeymen retired and no one to fill there shoes.The utilities always got there people from the military,That has slowed .And they did not want to fund Apprenticeships ,it cost to much money.
The same goes for Refrigeration Techs,Steam Engineers,Welders,Plumbers.
This is across the board all skilled trades . But Computer techs .How many do you want.
Sorry ,but you got me going
 

JayB

Active Member
Lack of mechanics, you say? Last May I was puttering around the sound with my girls and had a newish engine go into limp mode a couple of times due to an obvious overheat. Seemed to run fine for the 45 minutes it took to get back to the ramp, but I wanted to get the issue sorted out before I took the boat out again - especially with my kids along for the ride.

It was the pandemic and all, but it was going to take so many weeks just to get someone to look at the engine that I said to hell with it - even though it was clearly still under warranty - and bought a bootleg copy of the diagnostics software and one of the data-port-connector deals in addition to doing the obvious and buying the water pump kit and replacing that myself. Now its throwing a "failure to reach proper operating temperature" fault and suggesting that I replace the thermostat and "blow off assembly." Thankfully that's not anything that's terribly difficult or expensive to do.

The great irony here is that I was expecting to do less of this sort of thing after buying a new engine. I've heard "Evinrude" is Franco-Canadian for "should have gone with the Honda....."

20210503_102233.jpg
 
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Canuck from Kansas

WFF Supporter
In my late teens, after high school, I worked in the oil patch and in the high arctic for an oil supply company. We built tank farms. I was just a gopher, did the grinding, fence building, some tacking and cutting. The welders, pipe fitters, crane operators, etc, made a ton of money, had good pension plans and the smart ones who saved were set to retire in their 50's. I went back to school, spent a decade + paying back student loans and certainly did not retire in my 50's. There was also something to be said about being able to look back at the end of the day and think "I built that". Sitting at a computer all day, I sort of miss that.

cheers
 

Charles Sullivan

Active Member
It's easy to call the younger generation lazy or entitled. It's also lazy in it's own right.

I think that many young people really don't care to be in male dominated trades working with the tradesman that they have met. Part of it is that they don't feel that they fit in with the people in the field right now.

I have a very technical, super hard working daughter who could be an excellent electrician or carpenter etc. She generally loves to build and fix things. She has attempted to start her own lawn care business. (Spoiler alert: people won't hire an 11 year old girl). I can't see her working in those fields with the current demographic of those fields. There are few role models for her.

I worked some construction in college and work with builders every day. I can see why people would not want to work in the trades for social reasons.

Go Sox,
cds
 

JayB

Active Member
-It'd be interesting to see a Venn diagram with "Types of People" in one bubble, "Charles" in another with "sorts of people that Charles claims to enjoy socializing with" in the overlap. Guessing the area in the overlap wouldn't be particularly large relative to the size of the circles. Just teasing you - but there seems to be a consistent theme in your comments.

I've worked in settings where I'd suspect that less than half of the people I was working with finished high-school, ,and other's where I literally went weeks without interacting with anyone who wasn't a Phd, MD, or both. It seemed to me that a common theme of all of the workplaces I've been in is that they'll contain people that you don't particularly care for, but part of staying employed is figuring out how to get along with them well enough to get your job done.

At the end of the day, the Eloi have to figure out how to get along with the Morlocks and vice versa, since society needs both to function.

-I've always thought we'd do well to copy the best parts of the German/Continental model, which emphasizes hands-on instruction in the trades in K12 for the kids who aren't a good match for what the Universities have to offer for one reason or another. Doesn't seem like it would jive very well with American sensibilities unless they got rid of the strict-ish early tracking.
 

Canuck from Kansas

WFF Supporter
-I've always thought we'd do well to copy the best parts of the German/Continental model, which emphasizes hands-on instruction in the trades in K12 for the kids who aren't a good match for what the Universities have to offer for one reason or another. Doesn't seem like it would jive very well with American sensibilities unless they got rid of the strict-ish early tracking.

Heaven forbid we ever copy what another country does well ;):):(:eek:

cheers
 

surfnfish

Active Member
When I was managing high tech facilities around the globe, spent months of time in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland running projects. Got to know families, invited over for dinner, chat with the kids...so much more mature than the average kid here in the US,,,serious about their lives direction...anyhooo...their education systems far superior to ours. Non essential crap out of the curriculum, learn personal finance early, done with high school at the end of what would be a junior year here, then multiple paths to choose from.
The can choose college with an undergraduate degree a two year program vs our four years, all core studies, no fluff. Their equivalent masters programs a year vs our two. So college educated and good to go at 19 to 21 depending on route.
Or they can go the vocational route, with dozens of technical specialties to choose from. Average two years of specialized training and then elgible for work.
Our education system is designed to keep students in school, funding administration, teachers and staff, and above all else, contributing to their PERS.
 

Charles Sullivan

Active Member
-It'd be interesting to see a Venn diagram with "Types of People" in one bubble, "Charles" in another with "sorts of people that Charles claims to enjoy socializing with" in the overlap. Guessing the area in the overlap wouldn't be particularly large relative to the size of the circles. Just teasing you - but there seems to be a consistent theme in your comments.

I've worked in settings where I'd suspect that less than half of the people I was working with finished high-school, ,and other's where I literally went weeks without interacting with anyone who wasn't a Phd, MD, or both. It seemed to me that a common theme of all of the workplaces I've been in is that they'll contain people that you don't particularly care for, but part of staying employed is figuring out how to get along with them well enough to get your job done.

At the end of the day, the Eloi have to figure out how to get along with the Morlocks and vice versa, since society needs both to function.

-I've always thought we'd do well to copy the best parts of the German/Continental model, which emphasizes hands-on instruction in the trades in K12 for the kids who aren't a good match for what the Universities have to offer for one reason or another. Doesn't seem like it would jive very well with American sensibilities unless they got rid of the strict-ish early tracking.
You'd likely be very surprised at the employment diversity of my social circle. Of my best friends there is a logger, a card dealer and a sanitarian, all male. Private Uni, public uni, no degree. Those would be the inner circle at least.

The trades, and construction in particular are pretty darned male dominated. Here is a pretty good snapshot:


To think that the continuation of the male dominance in this area has nothing to do with the culture male dominated professions tends to bring would be crazy. It is not the only reason that it stays this way but it factors in. Everyone pounding on "the kids being lazy" is pretty overly simple and in my opinion not very thoughtful. It's been said forever by every generation.

As an example, It's hard to see where my 1/2 asian female kid would take to a profession (construction) with 10% woman and 2% asian. I do think seeing people like you doing things opens those possibilities up in your mind. Heck, my wife is the only woman in her family who does not work in a hospital. People tend to do what they see people like them doing.

There is a sort of inertia about it. An object in motion tends to stay in motion etc. In the case of the trades, I think that there are a lot of white males who don't go into the trades now that may have historically. I think that we see the white males dropping out but fail to see why the jobs aren't attracting from a bigger pool. In the end, they have had a hard time diversifying the potential pool. That may be the bigger problem.

Go Sox,
cds
 

SilverFly

Active Member
Not sure why skilled technical jobs aren't the sought after careers they once were. The same shortage is hitting us in the semiconductor industry. With the backlog of automotive and every other imaginable kind of microchip, we've been running "balls to the wall" (if you get that reference, you might be an old timer) for some time now. We're so desperate to fill several technician slots right now my employer temporarily dropped the 42 STEM credit requirement for internal candidates. And that was a fairly recent lowering of the bar from an AA with 1 year technical experience. That may still apply to external applicants.

So if anyone in SWW knows a sharp young man or woman with some technical education that's looking to get into an interesting career with excellent income potential, please let me know! Boredom is never a problem in a semiconductor fab. We deal with robotics, optics, lasers, high-vacuum, cryogenics, pneumatics, electronics, software, chemical systems, metrology, instrumentation, statistical process control, defect review (product "CSI"), etc... There's simply too much for anyone person to be an expert in everything, so we all seem to find our niche. Twenty years in my most recent area and I'm still learning new things.
 

Hookup340

New Member
You'd likely be very surprised at the employment diversity of my social circle. Of my best friends there is a logger, a card dealer and a sanitarian, all male. Private Uni, public uni, no degree. Those would be the inner circle at least.

The trades, and construction in particular are pretty darned male dominated. Here is a pretty good snapshot:


To think that the continuation of the male dominance in this area has nothing to do with the culture male dominated professions tends to bring would be crazy. It is not the only reason that it stays this way but it factors in. Everyone pounding on "the kids being lazy" is pretty overly simple and in my opinion not very thoughtful. It's been said forever by every generation.

As an example, It's hard to see where my 1/2 asian female kid would take to a profession (construction) with 10% woman and 2% asian. I do think seeing people like you doing things opens those possibilities up in your mind. Heck, my wife is the only woman in her family who does not work in a hospital. People tend to do what they see people like them doing.

There is a sort of inertia about it. An object in motion tends to stay in motion etc. In the case of the trades, I think that there are a lot of white males who don't go into the trades now that may have historically. I think that we see the white males dropping out but fail to see why the jobs aren't attracting from a bigger pool. In the end, they have had a hard time diversifying the potential pool. That may be the bigger problem.

Go Sox,
cds
Hello
I taught a Boiler Class at lake Washington tech college foe 10 years ,a re licenseing for existing engineers. Very few young ,most all had in the trade for many years ,and the complaint was common.
No One Coming Up behind them.They get offered more money to stay,Most said No Thanks.
I have been doing this for over 30 years.
I was the same left after 32 years ,a year later I got a call, WE can not find people with a 1 st or 2ed license. Would come back for a year.
So after 35 years and 67,I walked and cancelled most pf my licenses.
Other Things I would rather do at 70 like fish restore cars
 

KillerDave

Have camera, will travel...
You guys realize you're complaining about the generation you raised, right?

Not pointing fingers here, I'm 57 and don't have the answers. I am curious how all those "your car warranty is about to expire" foot solders got recruited though. They seem like a pretty determined bunch ;)

BTW, I fixed my OB kicker from watching YouTube vids because the folks at Stevens couldn't get to it.
 

Jim Travers

Active Member
What we got is a overchargin' problem!!! These guys are overchargin'!!! I'm lookin to get work done cheap I ain't payin full price!! These guys are overchargin!!
 

JayB

Active Member
You'd likely be very surprised at the employment diversity of my social circle. Of my best friends there is a logger, a card dealer and a sanitarian, all male. Private Uni, public uni, no degree. Those would be the inner circle at least.

The trades, and construction in particular are pretty darned male dominated. Here is a pretty good snapshot:


To think that the continuation of the male dominance in this area has nothing to do with the culture male dominated professions tends to bring would be crazy. It is not the only reason that it stays this way but it factors in. Everyone pounding on "the kids being lazy" is pretty overly simple and in my opinion not very thoughtful. It's been said forever by every generation.

As an example, It's hard to see where my 1/2 asian female kid would take to a profession (construction) with 10% woman and 2% asian. I do think seeing people like you doing things opens those possibilities up in your mind. Heck, my wife is the only woman in her family who does not work in a hospital. People tend to do what they see people like them doing.

There is a sort of inertia about it. An object in motion tends to stay in motion etc. In the case of the trades, I think that there are a lot of white males who don't go into the trades now that may have historically. I think that we see the white males dropping out but fail to see why the jobs aren't attracting from a bigger pool. In the end, they have had a hard time diversifying the potential pool. That may be the bigger problem.

Go Sox,
cds

-AFAIK the "men are interested in things, women are interested in people" is one of the most persistent and well established cross-cultural norms that anyone has documented, and I believe it's even been fairly well documented in non-human primates. AFAIKx2 the things/people dichotomy driving career preferences actually increases as the degree of prosperity and equality between the sexes increases, largely because women have the luxury of choosing fields that they actually want to work in as opposed to doing what they have to do to make money, so they are less likely enter stem fields.

Of course, there's more variation within the sexes than between the sexes, blah, blah, blah, blah - but I don't think the evidence supports the view that an aversion to working with men - especially the universally reviled white (boogey) man - is the primary factor limiting female interest in highly mechanical fields like the trades.

-There's also the fact that working in the trades has higher physical risks. There's abundant evidence that men are more milling to accept physical risks in exchange for higher pay. There's also the fact that the work schedule can be inconsistent and require long-hours + overtime, they may require significant travel, they're more likely to be physically uncomfortable/dirty/taxing, etc. There's abundant evidence demonstrating that women tend to prefer jobs that offer flexibility, work-life balance, rely on skills that don't rapidly become obsolete so that they can exit and re-enter a given career after having kids.

-I'm not sure there's any literature documenting this or not - but anecdotally there's an impression that the trades offer higher up-front pay, but stall out relatively quickly relative to career tracks requiring a college degree. There's probably a significant number of people who are willing to forego higher early-career pay in exchange for the possibility of greater mid-late career advancement. Ditto for the impression that work in the trades tends to be more boom-bust. My impression is that people are willing to work for lower pay that's reliable/steady than higher pay with a greater potential for disruption. Managing consistent expenses with dramatic yearly variations in income is tough.

-I'm sure that there's some legitimacy to the narrative that you're laying out - my brother in law is a lineman (has a college degree but makes outstanding money, likes working outside, and hates sitting at a desk) and he's run into his fair-share of characters who are no picnic to work with - but I think there's much more to the story.

-At the end of the day, there's no such thing as a permanent labor shortage in a market economy where wages can adjust with supply and demand. Either wages rise to a level sufficient to induce the number of people necessary to generate the supply of X necessary to meet demand, X gets produced somewhere else, or someone develops a substitute for X that does the job. If wages stay high enough for long enough, there'll be plenty of people willing to do them.
 

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