Just around lunch time opening day at the Miami Boat Show, I headed over to the BRP Evinrude booth. I wanted to check in with Nando Zucchi to see what was happening. The 400+sf booth was standing room only. There must be a huge announcement (I thought) for this much press to hang out.

John Adey, American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) President, began the announcements. He told us the ABYC Foundation realized they need to attract young people to the area of recreational marine products division. “It’s time they can look at the boating industry and make a career out of it,” he says. “Be able to feed their families, have productive lives and truly enjoy a hands-on technical education for the future.”

Ed Sherman, ABYC VP of Education, had a vision for creating a curriculum for high schools. Plus, two-year vocational schools. This included text books and instructor resources. “Today it’s a reality,” says Adey. “We have eight schools using that curriculum. Sixteen two-year technical colleges are using the ABYC structure to be able to certify individuals to go out and do the good work that this industry absolutely 100% needs.”

Tracy Crocker, President BRP Marine, talked about the partnership formed with ABYC and National Marine Distributors Association (NMDA). The commitment to train and certify technicians. Plus, their donation of $2 million. “We are committed over the next several years to expand the footprint all across North America,” says Crocker. “And, we’re going to continue to make boating safe, fun, and a big part of our industry for many years to come.”

Other concerns regarding the program were about tech teams. How will they transport engines to the school? And get necessary engine stands or tools? “NMDA is proud to be a part of this program,” says Nancy Cueroni, Executive Director of NMDA. “We have made a substantial financial commitment to the ABYC Foundation. These donations will be a one-for-one batch so that everybody has some skin in the game.”

Jeff Walsall, Engineering Manager of Evinrude closed the program talking about his experiences coming up through the industry starting as a technician. The cool projects he’s worked on. Tested and approved. “We developed the first water emissions testing equipment,” he said. “Quantified greenhouse gas emissions from boats. Brought next generation biofuel bio butanol to the market and worked with regulators around the world to develop engines that made the most stringent standards around.”

In closing, Walsall announced students will be using the entire Evinrude training curriculum. This includes both the fundamentals and professional level. Envinrude’s 3.4-liter V6 E-Tec G2 direct fuel-injection engines. Train-the-trainer programs in the United States and Canada. For more information go to ABYCFoundation.org.