MRAA conducting workforce assessment survey

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas has launched a workforce assessment survey as part of an overarching initiative intended to identify, define and ultimately address the workforce related issues facing today’s marine businesses.

“When it comes to the technician shortage in our industry, we have plenty of anecdotal examples to share,” explains MRAA Vice President Liz Walz. “But we need to get a firmer grasp on the extent of the challenges marine retailers are facing and what’s driving them, so we can focus our programs and benefits on the most effective solutions. Today, there is little data to define this problem, and the survey will help us change that.”

The MRAA’s workforce assessment survey contains 31 questions and was modeled after a similar questionnaire distributed in 2015 by the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association in conjunction with other marine industry groups. The MRAA’s survey, however, specifically targets marine retailers, many of whom have struggled to find and retain quality employees, particularly on the technical side of the business.

A primary purpose of the workforce assessment survey will be to give MRAA the data needed to address the shortage of skilled marine technicians. Responses will provide MRAA with a clearer picture of how many dealerships need technicians, as well as other positions, and what strategies they’re currently employing to fill those openings.

“Prior to the recession, the lack of qualified technicians had become a widespread problem,” Walz said. “But with 35 percent of the dealer body forced to close their doors during the downturn, the urgency to develop solutions faded until recently. Now that boat sales have been growing at a consistent rate, we find ourselves facing the same problem again, this time nearing a crisis level.”

The survey, available at, will take less than five minutes to complete. Participants will be asked questions about their company workforce, including whether they have open positions, plans to grow their staff and more.

“We’re asking for the industry’s help in completing this survey,” Walz explains, “so we can provide the businesses that serve our great industry with the tools and resources they need to develop a strong workforce, capable of serving current and prospective boaters at the highest level.”

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