Yacht Designer: Employment & Career Information

Yacht designers work with engineers, marketers and directly with clients to make custom leisure watercrafts, including both powerboats and sailboats. To learn more about the degree requirements, skill sets, career outlook and salaries for professionals employed in this highly specialized field, read on!

Career Definition for a Yacht Designer

Yacht designers are an integral part of the conceptual and manufacturing process for leisure sail and motor yachts. As designers of a luxury good, they use their creative and industrial design abilities to make products that are both attractive and desirable to their clients. Some of their activities may include creating drawings and virtual models, developing prototypes, evaluating design practicality and finalizing manufacturing specifications. Yacht designers frequently work as freelance consultants and for private design companies.

Education Bachelor's or graduate degree required
Job Skills Sense of design and aesthetics, problem solving, people skills
Median Salary (2015)* $67,130 for industrial designers, $93,110 for naval engineers
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% for industrial designers, 9% for naval engineers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Yacht designers typically have bachelor's or postgraduate degrees in commercial and industrial design, architecture or marine engineering. Relevant coursework may include topics in computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), manufacturing, materials and sketching. To become more familiar with the cost estimates of the production process, some industrial or yacht designers pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Skills Required

Yacht designers must have a sense of aesthetics, function and design. Analytical and problem-solving abilities are also essential. The Industrial Designers Society of America emphasizes that keen business and people skills aid in the success of designing and selling yachts as luxury goods.

Employment and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for industrial designers in general will increase by just 2% nationwide between 2014 and 2024, a slower than average rate in comparison to all other occupations. During the same 10-year period, marine engineers and naval architects will see a 9%, or faster than average, growth in employment nationwide.

The annual income for yacht designers depends on their position and training background. For example, marine engineers and naval architects earned a median salary of $93,110 as of May 2015, while commercial and industrial designers earned a median salary of $67,130 in that same month.

Alternate Career Options

Check out these other potential careers in industrial engineering:


Drafters use their experience with CADD software to transform architectural and engineering designs into technical diagrams and drawings. Certificate and associate degree programs in drafting can be found at community colleges and technical schools, and are usually required to obtain a position in the field. According to the BLS, drafters will experience a 3% drop in employment prospects through 2024, although the number of potential job openings will differ by design specialty. As of May 2015, drafters were paid a median annual wage of $52,720.

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers find ways for employees and machines to function more efficiently, as well as improve the flow of information and materials used in the production process. Educational requirements typically include a bachelor's degree in general, industrial, manufacturing or mechanical engineering; completion of a program in engineering technology may also suffice. The BLS reports that job openings for industrial engineers will increase by just 1% nationwide through 2024, or slower than average in comparison to all other occupations. Industrial engineers who were employed in their field in May 2015 earned a median annual wage of $83,470.

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