SEATTLE -- Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon are all big Seattle employers, but a different industry desperately needs workers. The maritime industry is actively looking to hire more men and women.

There's a lot of jobs available in the maritime industry in the Puget Sound region. We employee nearly a quarter million people either related directly or indirectly to maritime industry, said Chris Peterson, Crowley Marine Services Vice President.

He says the tide is changing. Companies are seeing a wave of workers retire and need to fill a big gap.

Peterson's company and others are hiring for positions across the board from deckhands, mechanics to captains.

The opportunity is definitely there, we're hurting. I need someone to take my place. I m getting ready to retire, someone's got to take my place, said Dennis Miniken, a tugboat captain for Crowley Marine Services in Seattle.

Peterson says it's not just on tugboats. But ferries, cruise ships, fishing and cargo vessels are also hiring. Companies are in critical need of engineers. This job requires special training and certification.

Entry level deckhands can make around $50,000 a year. Engineers are paid $70,000 and higher. Captains make well over $100,000 dollars. Employees admit there are challenges, like being away from home for long stretches.

Also, new regulations mean workers need more training and certifications to work on a vessel. Some resources for seafair classes are Seattle Maritime Academy, run by the Seattle Community College District, Compass Courses in Edmonds and Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle.