Boat Technicians: Job Outlook & Career Info

Boat technicians work with the engines, motors and electrical systems on craft like powerboats. Keep reading to learn more about what boat technicians do. Find out what kind of education and training requirements apply and what the career prospects are for this job.

Career Definition for Boat Technicians

Boat technicians may have several duties, including performing routine services, repairing outboard motors, performing internal engine services, checking electrical systems, and installing electronic equipment. They also discuss maintenance plans, keep records of inspections, and discuss possible equipment malfunctions. Boat technicians also may act as sales representatives or supervise other workers.

Education Associate's degree or certificate in marine repair or marine technologies, or a specialty certification
Job Skills Manual dexterity, mechanical skills, and customer service skills
Median Salary (2017) $38,960 (all motorboat mechanics and service technicians)
Job Growth (2016-2026) -1% (all motorboat mechanics and service technicians)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

While it's not required, most employers prefer to hire boat technicians who have completed a diploma or degree program at a technical school or community college. A diploma or degree typically takes one to two years to complete. Topics of study in a marine repair or marine technologies program may include outboard motors, inboard engines, boat hulls and accessories, welding, and electrical system repair and installation. Certification in a specialty area, or for a specific brand or system, is also available. For example, the American Boat and Yacht Council offers several certification programs and classes for boat technicians in areas like marine corrosion, marine systems and electrical systems.

Skills Required

Boat technicians must have strong communication skills, allowing them to explain mechanical issues or maintenance to customers. They also must be knowledgeable about boats and equipment and be able to demonstrate their safe operation. Boat technicians must also possess manual dexterity to disassemble and reassemble engine parts and accessories. The ability to establish a good rapport with customers also is beneficial.

Economic Outlook

Boat technicians fall into the classification of small engine repair mechanics, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Motorboat mechanics and service technicians can expect a 1% decline in job growth from 2016-2026 according to the BLS. In May 2017, the median annual wage for motorboat mechanics and service technicians was $38,960.

Alternate Career Options

Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technician

These heavy mechanics keep specialized vehicles - like those used in construction, mining, rail transportation, and farming - in good working order. In addition to engine work, they take care of related mechanical and electronics systems. These mechanics usually work on-site. They can earn a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree in heavy equipment mechanics or diesel technology, which are usually preferred; employers may also accept a high school diploma as the minimum education requirement. Jobs in this field are expected to increase 8% from 2016-2026, with a median salary of $49,440 in 2017, per the BLS.

Diesel Service Technician

Diesel mechanics are responsible for maintenance and repair services on the diesel engines and related parts of buses, trucks, and other vehicles that have diesel engines. On-the-job training is common, although diesel mechanics can also earn a certificate or associate's degree in diesel mechanics. Industry certification is available from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. The BLS reports that the number of jobs for diesel service technicians is expected to grow 9% from 2016-2026, as fast as the average. The BLS also reports that the median pay for diesel mechanics was $46,360 in 2017.


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