Become a Certified Marine Mechanic: Certification and Career Roadmap

Mar 05, 2020

Learn how to become a certified marine mechanic. Explore the job description and education requirements, and find out how to start a career as a certified marine mechanic.

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  • 0:00 Marine Mechanics
  • 0:59 Step 1: Education
  • 1:54 Step 2: Experience
  • 2:14 Step 3: Certification
  • 3:00 Step 4: Maintain Certification
  • 3:24 Step 5: Master Technician

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Marine Mechanics

Degree Level Postsecondary vocational or technical training preferred
Degree Field Marine mechanics
Training and Experience On-the-job training common; 1-2 years experience for some positions
Certification Voluntary
Key Skills Critical-thinking, mechanical, coordination, and troubleshooting skills; dexterity; keen sense of sight and hearing
Mean Salary (2018) $42,330 (for all motorboat mechanics and service technicians)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; O*NET OnLine, Online Job Postings

Marine mechanics, also called motorboat mechanics or marine technicians, service and repair inboard and outboard motors. They can work on watercraft engines powered by gas or diesel, including private and commercial fishing boats, cabin cruisers and yachts. Marine mechanics might work outdoors, where weather conditions may be less than optimal, or indoors in noisy repair shops. They typically work full-time during regular business hours. However, some jobs may be seasonal.

Marine mechanics must have excellent critical-thinking, mechanical and troubleshooting skills. They should also be coordinated, manually dexterous and have a keen sense of sight and hearing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), motorboat mechanics and service technicians in general earned an average annual salary of $42,330 as of May 2018.

Step 1: Education

Aspiring marine mechanics can begin by taking postsecondary vocational or technical classes in motorboat maintenance and repair. Formal coursework makes job candidates more desirable to potential employers because they require less on-the-job training. Many motorboat manufacturing or distribution companies offer courses for their own products. These courses rarely take more than two weeks to complete and can help a marine mechanic become eligible to perform maintenance on products covered by manufacturers' warranties.

Here's a success tip for you: polish communication and interpersonal skills. Marine mechanics usually interact with customers and service departments regarding highly technical information. As such, it's important for them to gain the oral and people skills necessary to communicate this information effectively to non-technical customers and staff members.

Step 2: Experience

Some employers require 1-2 years of experience, which can provide marine mechanics with knowledge and training that might not be available in a classroom. Additionally, certification courses cater to different levels of, or have prerequisite, work experience. So be sure to investigate requirements prior to registering for certification courses.

Step 3: Certification

The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) offers a variety of certification courses, many of which pertain directly to marine mechanics. For example, mechanics can become certified in marine corrosion, marine systems, diesel engine and support systems and/or gasoline engine and support systems. Certifications in refrigeration and air conditioning and electrical are also available. Each course includes 2-4 days of seminars followed by the certification exam. Marine mechanics can also earn manufacturer-specific certifications, such as the Certified Technician in Mercury Marine product lines available through Mercury University. These certifications are important for marine mechanics that want to advance in the field.

Step 4: Maintain Certification

All certifications from the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) for marine mechanics remain current for five years. The recertification exam can be taken online. To renew their Certified Technician in Mercury Marine credentials, mechanics must take a minimum of two additional courses within two years following initial certification.

Step 5: Master Technician

Marine mechanics who have completed at least three certification courses may qualify for the American Boat and Yacht Council's Master Technician designation, which demonstrates professional dedication and expertise to potential employers. Additionally, mechanics who have maintained Mercury Marine certification in a product line for at least four years in a row can sit for the Master Technician exam.

Remember, marine mechanics with enough education and work experience can become certified through the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) or in the use of Mercury Marine products. As of May 2018, motorboat mechanics and service technicians overall earned an average yearly salary of $42,330.

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