Boat Mechanic: Career Profile

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a boat mechanic. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and required skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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Boat mechanics repair boat engines and perform general maintenance. They may work on different types of boats, such as marine vessels and antique boats. Many boat mechanics gain experience through vocational training.

Essential Information

Boat mechanics repair and replace engines and mechanical parts on marine vessels. Students interested in general mechanics may become a boat mechanic in as little as one year by completing a program through a vocational school.

Required Education Postsecondary training
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 4% (small engine mechanics)*
Median Salary (2015) $38,280 (motorboat mechanics and service technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Profile for a Boat Mechanic

Boat mechanics perform maintenance, installation and repair work on marine vessels, particularly on their mechanical components. They may also work on antique boats for historical organizations. Boat mechanics are often employed in areas along coastlines, by rivers or near lake regions. Job duties typically include disassembling and reassembling mechanical engines, monitoring performance of motors and conducting operational tests. Boat mechanics may also replace gears, pistons, plugs and other parts, adjust and mount propellers, repair steering and throttle components and document tests and work conducted.

Education Requirements

Most boat mechanics attend a technical training program to learn the skills they need to gain employment. Some of these skills may be acquired during high school through vocational and science courses. According to O*Net OnLine (www.onetonline.org), most boat mechanics have completed some postsecondary coursework. Aspiring boat mechanics might consider taking courses that cover fuel and engine systems, electrical systems, steering systems and hydraulics. Other topics of interest include transmissions, auxiliary systems and the welding and repair of parts.

Salary Information

In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual wage for motorboat mechanics and service technicians is $38,280 (www.bls.gov). The lowest ten percent of boat mechanics earned less than $22,820 and the highest ten percent earned more than $58,730. The highest-paying industry for boat mechanics was miscellaneous durable goods merchant wholesalers; the average annual salary for these boat mechanics was $54,810 in 2015.

Career Outlook

The BLS reported that job openings for boat mechanics were expected to increase by 3% between 2014 and 2024, with strong competition for employment. This increase was slower than the national average. The BLS also noted that job opportunities would be best for individuals who have completed formal training in mechanical repair through a community college or technical school.

Boat mechanics can gain the skills required to repair a variety of boat engines. In addition to repairing engines, their work involves performance monitoring and replacement of parts. Vocational schools and postsecondary training are great ways to get started in this field.

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    Tom P Haney Technical Center
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