Marine Tech: Career Profile

Sep 14, 2019

Working as a marine tech requires little formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and training to see if this is the right career for you.

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A certificate or associate's degree is required to work as a marine technician, although some professionals enter this field through on-the-job training. Marine techs repair the electrical systems of boats and need up-to-date knowledge of boat technology to work in this field.

Essential Information

Marine technicians, called marine techs for short, are individuals who ensure that the operational systems of boats are functioning properly. Individuals may enter this growing profession through an educational program in marine mechanics and/or on-the-job training.

Required Education Certificate or associate degree in marine mechanics; on-the-job training provided with employment
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 6% for motorboat mechanics and service technicians*
Median Salary (2018) $40,180 for motorboat mechanics and service technicians*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Marine Technician Career Profile

Marine technicians, sometimes referred to as motorboat mechanics, design, assemble and repair the electrical systems of boats and other watercraft. O*Net Online indicates that these individuals may operate boats and take them for test runs to look for malfunctions. Their work requires up-to-date knowledge in the latest boat technology and repair tools. O*Net states that marine technicians may work on more than boats' electronic systems, such as propeller systems.

The work of marine technicians requires them to be attentive. They need to be adept at reading gauges, adjusting control systems and evaluating their own work. Skills like reasoning, critical thinking and dexterity help marine technicians perform these tasks.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that marine technicians often work for the motor vehicles dealers, repair and boat-building industries (www.bls.gov). They also work in the amusement and recreation industries, which include marinas. Other settings that marine technicians may work for include governmental organizations, equipment manufacturers and ship builders.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS reports that employment opportunities for motorboat mechanics and service technicians were expected to increase 6% from 2018-2028. The BLS also indicates that consolidation in the retail boat industry has hampered the number of job openings. Opportunities may be more ample in locations near large bodies of water. Individuals who are experienced in specific maintenance areas, such as hull repair, may have better job prospects. In May 2018, the median annual salary of a motorboat mechanic was $40,180, while those in the top ten percent earned more than $62,460.

Education Information

Prospective marine technicians may consider certificate or associate degree programs in marine mechanics offered through trade schools and community colleges. These programs typically consist of significant hands-on training in servicing and repair procedures. Students learn the major mechanisms of watercraft, including the electronics, fuel systems and stern drives. Some programs train students in the major watercraft models, such as Honda and Yamaha. The BLS indicates that many marine technicians still learn their skills on the job.

The job growth projected for marine techs from 2018-2028 is as fast as average when compared to all occupations. Those interested in pursuing a career as a marine tech can complete a certificate or associate's degree program, might consider moving to a location near a large body of water and may benefit from work experience in specialized areas of boat maintenance.

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