Hartford Boat Show organizers said the economic impact and workforce opportunities of the business of recreational boating in Connecticut will be highlighted during the Feb. 8-11 show at the Connecticut Convention Center.
The show, which will have 125 exhibitors and more than 400 watercraft, will feature an expanded Boating in Connecticut Workforce program, including an interactive job opportunities display, educational presentations and scholarship awards.
Job seekers will be able to see career opportunities, many from show exhibitors, at the interactive job center. Candidates will be able to apply for jobs at the display. Their information will be immediately forwarded to potential employers.
"There are a number of misconceptions about working in boating, ranging from the impression that the business is just seasonal or that working in boating isn't a 'real' job, or that one must be a boater to be in this business," Kathleen Burns, executive director of the Connecticut Marine Trades Association, said in a statement.
The CMTA, which produces the show, said working in the marine trades offers a real and viable career path from companies that invest in training and teamwork development and offer solid, living wages, benefits and retirement.
Although Burns said "work on the water is better," she reminds job seekers that boating experience is not necessarily a requirement.
"The most important qualities are desire to work, to provide customer service, to learn and to want to be a team player,” she said. “And a little bit of passion to perform doesn't hurt, either."
The CMTA said the state’s recreational boating industry has an annual impact of more than $1.3 billion. Annual retail sales of new boats, engines, accessories and services account for $157.7 million and support 537 businesses across the state, most classified as small businesses. Many are generational or family-owned.
The CMTA also said the state's marine industry supports a workforce of more than 7,300 people whose lives depend on people buying, storing, servicing and caring for boats throughout the year.
"Our membership of over 330 companies is reflective of the types of small businesses servicing recreational boaters on our lakes, rivers and shoreline,” Burns said. “We represent a vast array of marine trades employers, including marinas, boatyards, boat dealers, yacht brokers, service technicians, electronics experts, welders, canvas creators, financial and insurance companies."