A 2-year associate degree program in watercraft repair can actually go by several names, including an associate degree in boat technology, boat repair, or small vessel fabrication and repair. Each of these programs has the same goal: to prepare individuals for entry-level positions in the fields of boat repair, maintenance and construction.
The majority of 2-year watercraft repair degree programs focus primarily on providing students with hands-on instruction. These programs may have physical fitness requirements for entrants, since students must be physically able to climb aboard boats and lift heavy tools. Other prerequisites include a high school diploma or GED.
Associate Degree in Watercraft Repair
Enrolled students learn the basics of marine woodworking, marine painting systems, joinery, and mold construction. They also learn how to repair and maintain the interior systems of boats, including electrical systems, plumbing systems, navigational systems, and propulsion systems. Most degree programs in watercraft repair and fabrication are entirely vocational in nature, and include both classroom lectures and practical experiences that prepare students to enter directly into a career. Some examples of such courses include:
- Introduction to boat technology
- Hand tools and machinery
- Blueprint reading
- Marine electrical systems
- Watercraft joinery
- Boat hauling
Popular Career Options
Several different types of companies in the marine technology industry might employ graduates of a degree program in watercraft repair, such as boat manufacturers, independent boat repair shops, or marinas. Some positions that might be available include:
- Crew chief
- Assistant to crew chief
- Boat repair technician
- Marina manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In May of 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average annual salary of $39,500 for motorboat mechanics and service technicians. From 2014-2024, the BLS predicted slower-than-average job growth of 3% for motorboat mechanics and technicians.
Certification is not required, but it is recommended for boat mechanics and technicians. The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) offers certification for watercraft technicians. The certification is available for mid- to high-level technicians who have some professional experience in the boat repair field.
Training in watercraft repair at the associate's degree level prepares graduates for work in marinas, boat repair shops and with boat manufacturers. More experienced watercraft repair technicians can also pursue voluntary industry certifications.