Marine Industry High School Pilot Project Kickoff

Pilot Project Brett Ramsey

Apr 24, 2023
Brett Ramsey speaking to students at Athens District High School

A major point of discussion in the marine industry recently is the issue facing the shortage of the younger demographic in professional roles. There’s a strong need for this issue to be addressed but the question is, where to start?

Wendy and Brett Ramsey have been working in the marine industry for years. They’ve both had key roles at Pirate Cove Marina and RBK Distribution.

About a year ago, they started working on an impactful pilot project that has recently launched this spring. The whole idea around this initiative is to bring more young people into the marine industry. “The initiative all started because I wanted to use co-op money to send people to school,” said Wendy Ramsey. “And then I got frustrated.”

When the covid-19 pandemic emerged, the Ramsey’s faced barrier after barrier trying to use their funds to help individuals go to school due to all the restrictions. After facing so much uncertainty, they took matters into their own hands.  

The Ramsey’s are starting this initiative in four Eastern Ontario high schools. Most students this age are unaware of the opportunities that exist in the marine industry and it’s important for them to be informed. In Ontario by grade 10, students require a general idea of what they want to do when they graduate. The grade 11 and 12 courses that they choose have a big impact.

Not only do the Ramsey’s want to address the need for marine technicians, but also the need for service providers, marketing roles, sales personnel and more. “Any way to bring people into the industry, as long as they land in it,” says Brett Ramsey.

Pilot Project Brett Ramsey

The students were able to observe demonstrations from old marine parts that were brought in for the interactive presentation

April 17th was the kickoff to their pilot project. Athens District High School was the first visit where Brett gave an interactive presentation to students from grades 9, 10, 11 and 12. It was fantastic, and they received lots of questions from the older students while the younger students sat and listened to the session.

They brought in some beat up props, a lower unit gear case and a power head. That way the students were able to see demonstrations and do some hands-on learning to observe the working parts and valves moving.

They did a Q&A with the students near the end of the session and learned that some of them are already doing co-op placements in welding, heavy equipment and in the electrical industry. There are also students that are already on their way to an apprenticeship in welding, carpentry, diesel mechanics and large equipment. But there was no mention of anyone pursuing the marine industry.

It’s extremely important to let these students know that co-op is available in the marine sector as well. As the Ramsey’s take this project to more schools, it’s their goal to entice the students about the marine lifestyle and to convert them over to the marine business.

Following the in-school presentations, the next part of the pilot project will be when the boating season kicks off. The Ramsey’s have been working with Boating Ontario to help interested students get involved with marinas, dealerships or other marine businesses nearby. Through field trips, co-ops and employment positions for the upcoming season, they’re working to get students introduced to these businesses in person.

Athens District Highschool“This spring is the just the pilot. It’ll guide us on what do we need to do to refine it, to make it broader, to make it better,” says Brett Ramsey. The goal is to get this project in high schools across all of Ontario within the next school year starting in September.

The second part and more long-term aspect to this initiative, is to incorporate a Level 1 Marine Technician course in different areas. Making the Level 1 course more accessible to individuals across the province and country is very important so that it’s not limited to one location.  

The Ramsey’s have been working closely with the Ministry of Labour and marine companies such as Mercury and Yamaha to help develop the next stage of this project.

We will be closely following this initiative and will provide updates as the project progresses.

You can read more about Wendy’s career path HERE and Brett’s career path HERE.

Related Articles

Canada’s Marine Retailers Band Together to Form New Canadian Marine Retailers Association


The provincial marine associations from across the country, collectively representing over 80,000 jobs and $9.2B in national annual economic impact, announced the formation of a new national association whose mandate will be to represent the interests of recreational boating including recreational boat retailing and brokering, boat and engine & trailer sales, accessories, slip rentals, service, storage, fuel sales and more. Headquartered in Penetanguishene, Ontario, the newly formed Canadian Marine Retailers Association (CMRA) will focus on national issues facing the sector.

“The formation of a national voice to address the many aspects of our sector that affect the jobs and lives of Canadians from coast to coast is something many of our provincial associations have been calling for, for years,” says Brett Ramsey, President of Boating Ontario. “This is a positive step to ensuring issues facing our sector are represented to decisionmakers in the federal government.” READ MORE

Need to Catch up on News This Week?

Every Tuesday we publish a fresh Digest with informative articles pertaining to the Canadian boating and marine industry. Stay up to date with the latest products, research and industry developments.

Missed an Issue of Boating Industry Canada News Week? If you’re looking for a specific issue, or simply want to catch up on previous issues, check out our Boating Industry Canada News Week Archives.

Not signed up for News Week? Subscribe here.

Just Launched

No posts

Five Impressive Features of the New Marex 440 Cruiser

The Marex 440 Cruiser is a beacon of innovation, representing the newest generation of cruisers embellished with modern design lines and groundbreaking innovations. Spanning a length of 13.70 metres and flaunting a maximum beam of 4.27 metres, this elegant vessel is destined to become the jewel of the Marex brand. Here, we explore five key aspects of the Marex 440 that redefine the cruising experience.

1. Diverse Modifications: The Marex 440 is available in two distinctive modifications: the 440 Gourmet Cruiser, boasting a vast U-shaped kitchen layout, and the 440 Scandinavia Version, featuring an additional enclosed salon for dining. These modifications are meticulously designed to offer a versatile cruising experience, whether you prefer an expansive kitchen or an additional dining space, catering to diverse preferences and lifestyle needs. READ MORE

Stainless steel outlet covers built for harsh weather

Hubbell-Marine Stainless steel outlet covers
Hubbell-Marine Stainless steel outlet covers

Stainless steel combines long-lasting corrosion resistance with an attractive, classic appearance to enhance any deck. That’s why Hubbell Marine uses it in its premium Stainless Steel Flip Covers to protect electrical terminals from impacts, weather, even curious children and pets.

Both styles of Hubbell Marine Stainless Steel Flip Covers, and associated hinge pins, springs and mounting hardware, are built from heavy-duty polished 316 stainless steel. The easy-to-clean covers are enhanced by durable elastomer base gaskets and EVA back gaskets for weatherproof reliability. READ MORE