If you're interested in boats and how to fix them, then a boat maintenance technician is a career worth considering. You'll need at least a certificate or associate's degree in marine technology as well as extensive on-the-job training before you're ready to take the tiller yourself.
Boat maintenance technicians are required to repair and install the mechanical and electrical equipment found on marine vessels. Those who have a passion for mechanics and the water may enjoy a career as a boat maintenance technician. Students can use postsecondary education or on-the-job training to get into the career. Postsecondary training programs generally last a year or two and prepare graduates for work in marinas and other boating environments.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate's degree in marine technology; on-the-job training also common|
|Other Requirements||American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) offers optional certifications for boat maintenance and technology|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||5.1% (motorboat mechanics and service technicians)|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$38,280 annually (motorboat mechanics and service technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Profile of Boat Maintenance Technicians
A boat maintenance technician performs complex maintenance, installations and repairs on mechanical components of various types of marine vessels. They might, for example, work on motors, bilge pumps, propellers or plumbing. This may entail inspecting machinery and troubleshooting for issues. They then adjust parts or replace components altogether to bring the boat to a safe and functioning condition. Since many components are difficult to transfer, boat maintenance technicians often perform repairs and installations on-site at marinas or docks.
Boat Maintenance Technician Training Requirements
Many boat technicians are trained for this career on the job; however, employers often prefer to hire technicians who have completed formal training. Certificate and associate's degree programs in marine technology prepare students for careers in boat maintenance. Courses may include fuel systems, inboard engines, outboard engine maintenance, electricity and installation processes. Some programs incorporate externships into their curricula.
The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) offers certification programs in various areas of boat maintenance and technology (www.abycinc.org). These programs require candidates pass a comprehensive examination in one of several different areas, including refrigeration and air conditioning, composite boat building, gasoline engines and diesel engines. Candidates have the option of taking a classroom course offered by the ABYC prior to taking their exams, though this is not required, and students can study for exams on their own. Those who pass three certification examinations receive a Master Technician certificate from the ABYC.
Boat Maintenance Technician Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected employment growth of 5.1% between 2014 and 2024 for motorboat mechanics and service technicians (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for motorboat mechanics and maintenance technicians was $38,280 as of May 2015. The highest-paying jobs were in miscellaneous durable goods merchant wholesalers--an industry which offered a mean annual wage of $54,810.
Potential motorboat mechanics and service technicians face a slow-growing employment trend through 2024. However, an associate's degree, certification, and on-the-job training may provide some individuals with a competitive edge when they're looking for employment.