Years ago, when people would tell me that I have the best job in the world, I would say something snarky like, “Yeah, it’s really great—until you face a blank screen and a tight deadline.” Now, I just smile, nod and politely agree.
That’s because the truth is, like my fellow offshoreonly.com columnist and speedonthewater.com co-publisher Jason Johnson, I really do have the best job in the world. The writing and deadline part ceased to be intimidating long ago. As for subject matter, I’m not sure it gets any better—from products to people—than the high-performance boating world.
So it’s only natural that people from various walks of life would want to work in that world, and while Johnson’s gig and mine are few and far between (and took half a lifetime of work in crappy publishing jobs to reach) there are other ways to find or advance in a career in the marine industry, and maybe even get into the go-fast powerboating segment.
Here’s one of them: In August, Mercury Marine announced that it will offer additional programming for marine technicians as part of its Mercury University Accelerated Outboard Certification program.
According to a press release from the Fond du Lac, Wis., marine engine and accessories company, the program allows “a select group of new technicians” to become Mercury certified in only three weeks. What’s more, the program has become part of Mercury University’s permanent offerings.
Yes, that means you first need to be employed or find employment as a technician at a Mercury Marine dealership. And why wouldn’t you? No one said getting into the marine industry would be easy—but it’s certainly possible, especially given the current demand for marine techs .
“Our dealers have been asking for a program that reduces the time it takes for a new technician to become certified,” said Rob Schrage, Mercury Marine director of field service development and operations, in the release. “In this program we are able to offer world-class training in a short period of time without compromising the integrity of our industry leading certification process. Due to the positive response we received from the dealers, we are excited to continue offering this program.”
To take part in the accelerated program, technicians must be employed by a Mercury dealership and be recommended by the dealership in conjunction with a Mercury Marine field service representative. Each session is limited to 14 technicians.
According to the release, technicians usually take courses as their schedules and workload allow, and that could take years depending on how much time a technician has to devote to training. In the Accelerated Outboard Certification Program, technicians attend one week of intense instructor-led online training through Mercury University’s Distance Learning and two weeks of in-class hands-on training at a Mercury University training facility in either Suwanee, Ga., or Dallas, Texas.
Mercury University will be running a fall program in October 2018 and a spring program in April of 2019.
For current—and future—Mercury Marine dealership technicians, the program offers a chance for rapid career advancement. Of course, it will require some commitment and sweat equity. But for those currently involved in the industry as well as those who aspire to be, it’s an opportunity to make a move.
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.