Marine Service Manager Course™

ABBRA’s MSM Course will be held in Newport, Rhode Island on February 18th-22nd 2024!

MSM Virtual Course-November 2024

REGISTRATION-Opening Soon! Stay tuned!

ABBRA’s Marine Service Managers (MSM) Course will be held virtually in November 2024. During the four week course, participants gain new insights on issues and challenges common throughout the boat repair and boat building industry from their peers and seasoned instructors.

This is the only course designed specifically for Marine Service Managers working at boat and service yards, dealerships, and marinas. Completion is the first step in the Certification for Marine Service Managers process. Both the course and the certification have been offered by ABBRA since 2003.

Dates: Wednesdays & Thursdays in November & December, 2024 (Specific Dates Below)

Time: 1:00 pm-4:00 pm ET

  • Wednesday, November 6th- Opening Reception/Course Overview
  • Thursday, November 7th- Course content begins.
  • Wednesday, November 13th- Course content continues.
  • Thursday, November 14th- Course content continues.
  • Wednesday, November 20th-Course content continues.
  • Thursday, November 21st-Course content continues.
  • Wednesday, December 4th- Course content continues.
  • Thursday, December 5th- Course concludes-Virtual Marina Tours, CMSM Application Process


  • ABBRA Members: TBD
  • Non-Members: TBD
  • Students: will be invoiced upon course confirmation
  • Schedule is subject to change

What’s Included

  • Tuition for the length of the course
  • All course materials
  • Participation in a Virtual Boatyard Study Tour

These critical topics will be covered in the class and participants will have the opportunity to interact with the instructors and each other as they work through the program.

  • Professional Development/Time Management – Tim Shields, Hinckley Yachts
  • Human Resources and Team Building – Michelle Alexandrowicz, ENGAGE
  • Safety, Health, and Emergency Response – Kellie Crete, Gowrie Group
  • Financial Management – John Fitzgerald, Saunders Yachtworks
  • Maritime Law – Dennis Nixon, The University of Rhode Island
  • Business Development & Service Recovery – Nate Oberg, Starkweather & Shepley

In addition to the lectures and interactive discussions, attendees will participate in a boatyard study tour, where they will apply their newly gained insights to identifying problems, advising on improvements and proposing corrective measures and modifications based on their observations.

Course Descriptions

Personal Development and Time Management for Boatyard Managers

Participants will become familiar with the soft skills that are critical to running a successful operation. The module covers self-motivation, team building, communication skills, planning, decision making, problem-solving and time management.

Human Resource Management in the Marine Industry

This module will address potential HR issues, valuing differences, and take a closer look at building productive teams and other factors that result in providing the quality product your customer deserves.

Leadership in Boatyard Health, Safety, and Emergency Response

Environmental, health & safety regulations have become even more important than in recent years for businesses engaged in boat building, refit, repair, and service. While regulations are a good starting point for a successful program, paperwork, training, accountability and basic site safety will ensure that you are inspection-ready. During this portion of the course, we will give you the tools necessary to properly and effectively manage your environmental, health and safety programs.

Understanding General Maritime Law Concepts for the Boatyard Operator

Legal considerations and the anticipation of legal entanglements are an everyday part of marine service operations, and the competencies gained in this area will affect a service facility’s bottom line. The course will focus on how the service manager can direct operations to minimize the potential for legal conflicts in the context of work quality, safety, and profitability. We will identify steps to rectify situations that can lead to expensive losses.

Financial Management, Profits, and Job Estimating

Estimating is often considered the most difficult part of a service manager’s job. This module will address the difference between an estimate and a quote, appropriate use of time and materials, fixed prices and how to handle change orders. From initial work order to final payment, this session will cover the phases of managing a work order, seeing to its successful completion, on time, and reflecting quality workmanship at a fair price.

Business Development & Service Recovery

The Marine Service Manager role is very much a relationship role.  This portion of the course comes in two parts discussing creation and maintenance of these relationships.  The first part of the course will help in bringing in the clientele that is right for your facility, building relationships with other industry professionals, and ultimately creating a streamline of business.  The second part will discuss when problems arise in the course of storage, maintenance, or refits, and the best ways to regain the trust and confidence of the customer.

Marine Service Manager™ Course, Certified Marine Service Manager Program™, Certified Marine Service Manager™ and CMSM™ are trademarks of The American Boat Builders & Repairers Association.


ABBRA MSM course attendees receive a discounted group rate.

Certified MSMs

See the roster of those who have completed the ABBRA MSM Course.