Students of an associate's degree program in boat repair and maintenance learn to maintain, troubleshoot, install and repair marine electrical and mechanical systems through formal lectures, lab work, hands-on training aboard seafaring vessels, and possibly an internship. Individuals must typically hold either a high school diploma or a GED for admission. There are two boat repair and maintenance fields of study, which include marine systems and marine technology.
Associate's Degree in Boat Repair and Maintenance
Programs typically consist of courses that focus on understanding, maintaining and repairing mechanical equipment, electronic devices and electrical systems. Some programs may offer internship opportunities where students can work aboard ships and in shipyards. Graduates may be employed as marine technicians and can earn voluntary certifications to validate their skills.
Programs may offer course topics like:
- Marine electricity and electronics
- Diesel engines
- Inboard drive and propulsion service
- Preventative maintenance
- Outboard engine overhaul
- Marine plumbing, refrigeration and air-conditioning
Popular Career Options
Graduates may find entry-level employment as marine systems technicians, and can specialize in particular types of services. Specialization is typically determined by the type of environment within which technicians find employment. Career options may be found in areas like:
- Marina operations
- Vessel manufacturing
- Engine repair
- Commercial support services
- Marine electronics installation
Workers in the boat repair and maintenance field are categorized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as small engine mechanics. An employment growth of 4% was projected for motorboat mechanics and service technicians from 2014 to 2024. These technicians had a median salary of $38,280 in 2015, per the BLS.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Individuals who are interested in advancing in the field of marine service and repair can become proficient in specialized services as they gain experience. Experienced workers may wish to open up their own repair shops. Some associate's degree programs may prepare students to earn certification through various organizations such as the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).
Obtaining an associate's degree in boat repair and maintenance may lead to a career as a marine systems technician, which is a career field growing slower than the national average. In addition, students may elect to pursue certification through the ABYC or NEMA.