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Recreational Boat Mechanic Job Description

Read on to learn about the duties of a recreational boat mechanic. See what kind of education and training are required for employment. Get the details about career prospects and earning potential to see if this career field is right for you.

Career Definition for a Recreational Boat Mechanic

Recreational boat mechanics inspect and repair the mechanical and electrical systems of pleasure boats, including power boats, sail boats, and yachts. They may work at boat dealerships or marinas or be self-employed. Recreational boat mechanics repair all marine vehicle components, including propellers, marine plumbing, and navigation systems. Recreational boat mechanics use both power and hand tools to service the more than 30 types of pleasure boats recognized by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Education Apprenticeships and training programs available
Job Skills Mechanical skills, diagnostics, strong communication
Median Salary (2017)* $38,960 (for motorboat mechanics)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* -1% (for motorboat mechanics)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Apprenticeships are common for recreational boat mechanics, but completion of formal training programs in watercraft repair are preferred. These programs take up to two years to complete and often include training in manufacturer-specific repairs. Other classes for aspiring recreational boat mechanics include engine propulsion systems and vessel power transmission.

Required Skill

Recreational boat mechanics must possess mechanical aptitude. The must be able to diagnose problems and make repairs quickly and reliably. They also must have strong communication skills because they often work directly with customers.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted little job opportunities for boat mechanics. The BLS projected a 1% decrease from 2016-2026 and stated that there were 23,400 motorboat mechanics jobs in 2016. In May 2017, the BLS published the median annual salary for motorboat mechanics and service technicians as $38,960. They often work overtime in the summer and less than full-time in the winter. Additionally, the BLS stated that in 2016, about 12% of all small engine mechanics were self-employed.

Alternate Career Options

You might look into these other choices for careers in engine and vehicular repair:

Diesel Service Technician and Mechanic

This kind of mechanic specializes in working on vehicles with diesel engines, like buses and trucks. Primary duties include performing maintenance work, like checking fluid levels and oil changes, and diagnosing mechanical problems, then repairing or replacing parts as needed. Candidates who have completed postsecondary training in diesel engine repair are often preferred by employers, although it's possible to get a job with a high school diploma; on-the-job training is typical in both paths to employment. Possession of a commercial driver's license may also be required. Diesel mechanics can earn industry certification through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. According to the BLS, jobs for diesel mechanics are expected to increase 9% from 2016-2026; the median pay for this occupation was $46,360 in 2017.

Automotive Service Technician and Mechanic

This kind of mechanic keeps cars and light trucks running well. They perform maintenance and service tasks on mechanical parts and electronics. Auto mechanics fix engines, transmissions, and fluid leaks; they change the oil, rotate the tires, and fix the air conditioner. A high school diploma is the minimum education requirement; postsecondary training and associate's degree programs in automotive service technology are also available and could improve job prospects. Auto mechanics who work with refrigerants must hold special licensing from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Industry certifications are also available from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. The number of jobs in this field is predicted to increase 6% from 2016-2026, per the BLS; auto mechanics earned median pay of $39,550 in 2017.


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