The boating industry, a sector often perceived as traditional and resistant to change, is undergoing a significant transformation. At the heart of this change is the youth, bringing fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a drive to make boating more accessible and sustainable. Megan Piggott , a prominent figure in the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, sheds light on this evolution and the pivotal role of the younger generation.
“There are many ways they could go about this… putting yourself out there and going out to those businesses. If you’re a student, finding an internship with one of the Marine businesses where you can learn on the job.”
Megan emphasizes the importance of sharing stories, especially those of individuals who stumbled upon the marine industry by chance and have since made significant contributions. These narratives serve as a beacon, illustrating that the boating world is open to anyone with passion and dedication.
One of the standout initiatives is the yacht service technician apprenticeship program, launched in partnership with Atlantic Technical College. This two-year program equips apprentices with a diverse skill set, from welding to shipyard safety, ensuring they become well-rounded professionals in the industry.
“We really are a way to bring everyone together… promote our industry and what it does because… we’re a 12.5 billion dollar industry.” Megan highlights the economic impact of the boating industry, emphasizing its significance in South Florida.
The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, owned by the Marine Industries Association, stands as a testament to the industry’s growth and potential. As the largest in-water boat show globally, it attracts a diverse audience, from seasoned professionals to newcomers eager to dip their toes in the maritime world.
Megan’s advice for those looking to venture into the boating industry is clear: “Find a mentor. I think that’s the best way to get involved is to find that marine industry mentor and professional you look up to and can learn from.” This mentorship, combined with hands-on experience, provides a solid foundation for anyone looking to make waves in the industry.
Community engagement remains at the forefront of the association’s efforts. From organizing the Waterway cleanup, Broward County’s largest environmental event, to collaborating with schools and introducing students to the marine world, the association is committed to fostering a sense of community and ensuring the industry’s sustainable growth.
“The more you can start building those relationships with people who are already in the marine industry, the better.”Megan’s words resonate with the essence of the boating industry – it’s not just about boats and the open sea; it’s about the people, the community, and the shared passion for maritime adventures.
The future of the boating industry is bright, with the youth steering the ship towards uncharted waters. With figures like Megan Piggott leading the way and initiatives that prioritize education, community engagement, and sustainability, the industry is set to ride the waves of change and innovation.
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