HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Two new programs at Horry Georgetown Technical College will greatly benefit the Grand Strand’s recreational industry, officials said.

The boat-building technology and outboard marine technology programs being offered this fall will provide the next generation of boat and motor experts. The boat-building program is available to students on the school’s Georgetown campus, while the marine technology program will be offered on both the Conway and Georgetown campuses. 

“It covers all aspects of boat building, not just boat building, but also repair,” said Brandon Haselden, the assistant vice president of academic affairs and dean of advanced manufacturing and engineering at HGTC. “So it covers everything from molds and plugs to quality control, gel-coat finishes, materials.”

The boat-building technology program is the first of its kind in South Carolina, and HGTC is the only two-year college in the state with an outboard marine technology program. Officials said the school recognizes the need for boat experts as the Grand Strand continues to grow.

In 2022, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, there were nearly 400,000 boats registered in the state. Nearly 35,000 of those were in Horry and Georgetown counties. That means there’s a big demand for maintenance experts.

The need has just grown to the point where [the] industry doesn’t have enough qualified technicians to keep up with service demands and repair demands,” Haselden said. “They’re needing more and more technicians because more people are buying boats. We’re surrounded by water where we live. It’s just a demand that we’re trying to keep up with.”

* * *

Taylor Maresca is the weekend morning anchor and morning reporter at News13. She joined the team in June 2022 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Taylor is from Houston. Follow Taylor on Twitter and read more of her work here.