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Jobs Involving Boats

Jan 18, 2020

Many career fields can involve working with boats. Whether you're interested in designing and constructing boats, operating vessels or working on boats to perform other tasks, you can continue reading to learn about different careers that involve working with boats.

Career Options for Jobs Involving Boats

Boats include pleasure vessels that people operate for enjoyment; they may use them to go waterskiing or to explore waterways. Boats can also include large vessels that operate on oceans, and they may also be used to perform work duties. Whatever the boat's purpose, professionals in a number of career fields are involved in working with boats as a regular part of their duties.

Job Title Median Salary* (2018) Job Growth* (2018-2028)
Captains, Mates and Pilots of Water Vessels $69,180 -2% (Decline)
Motorboat Mechanics and Service Technicians $40,180 6%
Ship Engineers $71,130 -3% (Decline)
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects $92,560 9%
Fiberglass Laminators and Fabricators $34,500 1%
Fishing Workers $28,530 (2017) (Fishing and Hunting Workers) -2% (Fishing and Hunting Workers)
Navy or Coast Guard Officers Varies By Experience and Time Served Not Available

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs Involving Boats

Captains, Mates and Pilots of Water Vessels

Ship captains determine the route that their ship will follow and monitor things like wind conditions when charting their course or making course adjustments. They also need to be familiar with potential dangers that need to be avoided. They direct the mates, who may be responsible for steering the vessel or working with other equipment. Captains also navigate vessels. All of these professionals work on vessels that they are responsible for commanding or operating. Some postsecondary training is common for ship captains, and water vessel pilots need to be licensed by the Coast Guard.

Motorboat Mechanics and Service Technicians

On-the-job training is one way for motorboat mechanics and service technicians to learn their trade, although they may also attend some courses; job prospects may be better for those who complete formal postsecondary training. Motorboat mechanics and service technicians repair motors and may also perform maintenance; in addition to working with motors they may also repair things like the boat's steering system, which would involve being on the boat and potentially operating it to identify issues before conducting repairs.

Ship Engineers

Ship engineers are responsible for ensuring that a vessel's engineering systems operate properly. They also maintain and repair other systems, such as refrigeration units. Depending on the size of the ship, they may work alone, or as part of a team of engineers. They may need to have credentials from the Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration; a bachelor's degree may also be required or preferred.

Marine Engineers and Naval Architects

Marine engineers and naval architects are involved in the design and development of vessels. Marine engineers focus on the equipment needed to operate the vessel's systems, while naval architects work on the vessel design. Marine engineers and naval architects need to understand how vessels are intended to operate, must oversee the construction process and test the vessel or its equipment to ensure everything operates properly. A bachelor's degree is required to pursue these vocations.

Fiberglass Laminators and Fabricators

Although postsecondary training isn't required to work in this field, there are some fiberglass laminators and fabricators that opt to pursue postsecondary training programs. Fiberglass laminators and fabricators can make molds of fiberglass or work with fiberglass pieces that have already been cut. They layer fiberglass as needed to construct a boat's deck. Their work is vital to the production of boats.

Fishing Workers

Fishing workers catch fish. They use equipment that helps them locate fish, and they also work with nets, traps and other equipment designed to help them secure their catch. Part of their job involves operating boats so that they can place nets and lines where needed, or to go out and check their traps. While they can learn once employed, some employers prefer those who've completed a postsecondary program that includes courses about operating and repairing boats.

Navy or Coast Guard Officers

Navy officers serve in the military. They perform various tasks on naval vessels related to the command, navigation or operation of the vessel. Those who work for the Coast Guard are involved in marine security; they may be involved in enforcing maritime laws or they may undertake operations to prevent illegal activities such as illegal fishing or using boats to smuggle drugs or people.

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