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Marine Repair Career Information and Education Requirements

Sep 25, 2019

Training in marine repair typically covers how to repair the mechanical and electrical systems of watercraft. Find out about the requirements of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for marine repair graduates.

Motorboat mechanics and service technicians work in the field of marine repair. They can learn this trade through on-the-job training, although those who complete certification may have more job prospects. The American Boat and Yacht Council and manufacturers or marine engines offer vocational courses, and it's also an option to complete small engine repair training.

Essential Information

Careers in marine repair may involve inboard and outboard motors, plumbing, steering, propulsion systems and body maintenance. Vocational training programs, product-specific education classes and certification in various areas of marine repair are recommended to those interested in having a career in this field. Certification is available on different systems.

Career Motorboat Mechanic
Required Education Postsecondary education or on-the-job training
Other Requirements Voluntary certification
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6%
Mean Salary (2018)* $42,330 per year*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Marine Repair Technicians

Marine repair technicians are trained to diagnose and fix damaged or worn parts on both commercial and private marine vessels. Repairs can be electrical, mechanical or cosmetic. They are responsible for knowing the design and function of various manufacturer brands and products. Marine repair technicians also must be able to work on marine vessels both on location and in a mechanic's shop.

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), motorboat mechanics earned a median annual wage of approximately $40,180 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov). Those employed in deep sea, coastal and Great Lakes transportation industries earned as much as $47,220 annually, while mechanics working for inland water transportation brought home as much as $47,920. Additionally, in some areas of the country, such as Connecticut, marine mechanics earned as much as $49,720 on average. In 2018, the BLS predicted above average employment growth, through 2028, for motorboat mechanics and service technicians.

Education Requirements

Educational options for those interested in marine repair careers include vocational classes in small engine repair, which involves inboard and outboard marine motors. Additionally, marine engine manufacturers and distributors often offer courses on their own products that allow mechanics to perform repairs without voiding the product warranty.

Certification Options

Marine repair technicians can earn a variety of certifications from the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) that will enhance their career credentials. Options include:

  • Composite boat builder certification
  • Diesel engine and support systems certification
  • Gasoline engine and support systems certification
  • Electrical certification
  • Marine corrosion certification
  • Refrigeration and A/C certification
  • Marine systems certification

Candidates can take certification exams after attending a 2-4 day seminar or after studying on their own. Completion of at least three certification exams earns a marine repair technician the ABYC Master Technician certification. All ABYC certifications last for five years, and those who want to remain certified must take and pass a recertification exam.

Marine repair technicians and motorboat mechanics may be responsible for maintaining a vessel's engine and conducting any repairs necessary. They can learn on-the-job or through vocational school classes, and professional certification is available. While some of their work may be done in a shop, they may be required to perform some maintenance and repairs at the boat's location.

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