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Marine Mechanic: Career Profile

Working as a marine mechanic requires little formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and training of a marine mechanic to see if this is the right career for you.

Marine mechanic s work on a variety of aquatic vessels, making repairs and ensuring that they're running properly. Most marine mechanics have completed formal training in small engine repair, but some learn on the job.

Essential Information

Marine mechanics, often called motorboat mechanics, can restore electrical and motorized equipment on boat engines. The education required to become a marine mechanic typically includes either the completion of a formal training program or on-the-job training. Marine mechanics are expected to see job opportunities grow at a slower pace than most careers.

Required Education Certificate, diploma or associate's degree in small engine repair; some positions allow for on-the-job training with employment
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% for motorboat mechanics and service technicians*
Median Salary (2015) $38,280 for motorboat mechanics and service technicians*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties and Information

Marine mechanics may work on large boats, such as commercial fishing boats, or on smaller personal craft. Work is often carried out at marinas or docks. Areas with the highest concentration of marine mechanics in relation to population include cities near large ports or other bodies of water.

Individuals in this line of work must typically have good technical skills and manual dexterity. Tasks can require mechanics to be in good physical condition, and problem-solving skills are commonly necessary. Common job duties include:

  • Plumbing and intake repair
  • Steering device assembly
  • Propeller replacement
  • Engine and fuel systems
  • Transmission disassembly
  • Performance documentation
  • Mechanical cleaning and flushing
  • Hydraulic monitoring
  • Electrical and AC system maintenance

Educational Requirements

Due to the increasing intricacy of motorboats, individuals with formal training are preferred by many employers. However, because such specialized training programs are limited, marine mechanics can also learn on-the-job or in related fields. High school courses in science and vocational studies can be helpful.

As of 2012, 64% of motorboat mechanics had some college experience, according to O*NET Online (www.onetonline.org). Relevant programs can be completed in two years or less, with some requiring just a 1-year commitment. Common training combines technical education with some class-based learning. Typical courses include:

  • Engine and fuel systems
  • Steering mechanics
  • Electrical and auxiliary systems
  • Transmission repair
  • Welding
  • Hydraulics and related parts

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roughly 1,100 new marine mechanic jobs will be created from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The career is expected to experience a slower-than-average growth of 3% during that span. Fewer opportunities in boating retail are expected to be offset by the need for mechanics who can repair sophisticated boat engines.

The retail motor vehicle industry is the largest employer of marine mechanics. In 2015, motorboat mechanics made a median wage of $18.41 per hour, or $38,280 annually, according to the BLS. It was estimated that those in the top 10% of wage earners made $58,730, while the bottom 10% in earnings made $22,820 annually.

Marine mechanics repair and maintain boat engines. Many complete 1- or 2-year technical training programs that combine classroom and hands-on learning, and others get their training on the job. Job growth for marine mechanics is expected to be slower than average over the next few years, and the median salary in 2015 was about $38,000.

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