Well, here we are on the cusp of Labor Day weekend. Alas, for many sailors around the country this means the end of the sailing season. Not so here in Northern California; in fact some of the best sailing of the year is about to begin. The Delta will cool off a bit and with this, the air conditioner that pumps 20+ knots of breeze down the middle of the Bay will begin to moderate.  The waning daylight may not allow us to be on the water until 8:00 pm or later, but this truly is my favorite time of year.

For us at KKMI, summer has zoomed by. Our spring was quite busy and both of the yards never seemed to slow down, as it typically does in the summer. The consequence of which has been an increase in turn-around time for a few projects in the yards and for some, getting an appointment to haul out has been delayed. One of the reasons why we’ve been so busy stems from a “problem” that many US companies are dealing with due to our improved economy: the lack of qualified workers.

The dynamic of an insufficient number of craftspersons within the marine industry is one that you should be aware of as a boat owner for the reasons noted above. In addition, for the sport to retain its participants over the long term who depend on the services KKMI provides, we need the necessary staff to keep things running as they should. Failure to do so could eventually become the difference between those who continue to enjoy this great outdoors activity and those who may choose to look for alternatives.

This concern is then further exacerbated by the lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area and the higher costs of living here. Clearly, this is something which most of us have very little control over. What I can say is that KKMI has been aware of this situation for many years. What can also be said, is there are a limited number of resources to replenish the demand, particularly on a local level. So, what does KKMI see as the solutions?

The first step we took many years ago was to make sure we did everything possible to retain those who joined KKMI and became part of our team. We set out with the goal to create a work atmosphere that allows our team members to grow, both occupationally and financially. Certainly, key to this goal was to provide a comprehensive compensation and benefits package for each team member, but we’ve also gone well beyond this.

For example, we built The Boathouse, a classroom at our Pt. Richmond facility that we use for teaching and developing a broad spectrum of maritime skills. We have forged a collaborative relationship with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) who conducts their training for anyone within the marine industry at The Boathouse, even for employees that work in other Northern California boatyards. Understanding that many boatyard jobs can be physically demanding and include numerous occupational hazards, we conduct our Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) training at The Boathouse (we do this separately at our Sausalito location as well). The Boathouse is also made available to many maritime oriented groups, such as North America Marine Surveyors Association.

In addition, our team receives a broad spectrum of specialized training that is product-specific, whether conducted on-site and or held off-site by the manufacturers we represent. Our team members have recently received certification from companies such as Yanmar, Harken, International Paint (Awlgrip) and PropSpeed, to name a few.

While all the above has no doubt contributed to the success of our company, we are looking to you, our clients, to help us continue to attract the very best. If you refer someone to join KKMI and we hire them, as a thank you we will haul AND paint the bottom of your boat for FREE…the whole shebang at no cost to you! All you need to do is send the person’s name and contact information to hr@kkmi.com. Talk about a win-win!

Here’s a short video about working with KKMI:

Looking forward to seeing you on the water.

Paul Kaplan and the KKMI Family.