This is a question that comes up very frequently when I am around other maritime partners. It seems like a simple question, so why is it so hard to answer? Well, I think it is a question worth investigating. First, maritime work is hard and I do not think our youth today are taught to work hard as we were when we were young. Today, young people think working at a computer is hard work. Second, when we were young, trade work was an acceptable alternative to a career. Today, most trades are not. When we were young, a manufacturing job was a good job. Today, all of those jobs have gone overseas. And last but not least, working an eight-hour day is the norm for most people, and that is what they think is hard work.
So where does this take us? Well, I throw this out to all of you who read this blog. Young people today do not believe they have to work like we did. They are taught skills in computers and other technologies but not hard work. They have to be drug tested. In the passenger boat industry they need first aid, CPR, and other training proficiencies. Many need a TWIC card, which requires a background check. Marine work requires responsibility, decision-making skills, troubleshooting skills, and much more. Physically, marine work is challenging, with long hours and a commitment of time to learn the tricks of the trade. Kids today want their leisure time, cell phones, and Facebook. Kids today are NOT interested in the same kinds of things we were when we were kids and that seems to be the big issue for the future. I am sure of one thing, this is not the entire list of reasons kids are not entering the marine industry.