Boat Repair Training Programs and Requirements

Essential Information

Opportunities for boat repair training are available to those interested in operating a boat repair business or for those who simply want to be able to repair their own recreational ship.

While marine technology programs are the most common boat repair training programs, individuals can also enter the field by completing fiberglass technician, boat reconstruction, small engine mechanics and marine composite-repair programs. Certified boat repair programs are designed to comply with U.S. Coast Guard specifications, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

Boat repair training programs can include 1-day courses or formal education programs lasting more than a year.

Marine Repair Technical Diploma

Lasting 1-2 years in duration, marine repair programs provide instruction in outboard engines, fuel systems, diesel engines, inboard engine propulsion systems, and hull design. Students learn to troubleshoot, diagnose, repair, and maintain various boat components, including motors, transmissions, and stemdrive engines. The curriculum often includes opportunities for off-site training at local dealerships or marinas.

Boat Building Diploma

Boat building programs provide students with a basic understanding of boat design and construction. Course topics discuss materials and techniques for fiberglass boat building and repair. Students also learn to inspect boats for needed repairs, plan repairs, and estimate costs. Boat building programs prepare individuals for jobs at boat manufacturers and boat maintenance and repair yards.

Popular Career Options

Formal training programs usually provide boat repair technicians with the appropriate combination of skills and hands-on experience needed to gain entry-level positions in the industry. A variety of positions, including apprentice mechanics, parts associates and marine fleet technicians are available to those who have completed formal training, but have little on-the-job experience. Technicians with several years of experience can find advanced positions as dealership technicians, shop supervisors and service managers.

Continuing Education

The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) currently provides certifications for mid-to-high-level experienced technicians. The ABYC Technician Certification Program offers eight courses and their corresponding certification exams in areas such as diesel engines, marine electrical systems, marine corrosion, and composite boat building.

In addition to single certifications, the ABYC offers a Master Certified Technician credential to those who have successfully passed three out of the eight exams. The ABYC requires recertification every five years in order to insure that certified technicians are equipped with the latest industry knowledge and skills.

Workshops and seminars provide opportunities for boat repair technicians to brush-up on repair techniques and skills as well as familiarize themselves with the growing complexities of engines and electrical components.

Large scale conferences and conventions, offered each year by industry organizations, bring together leading industry professionals to provide educational seminars, networking opportunities, and product demos. Panel discussions also cover emerging issues and trends in the industry, such as ethanol fuel options for marine engines and profitable labor rates.

Employers often send repair technicians to specialized courses offered by boat manufacturers. These short courses last approximately two weeks and certify mechanics to perform warranty work. Mechanics also learn how to service new models.

Entry into the field of boat repair can be gained through a variety of options, all of which help build an individual's skills. Once employed, boat repair technicians can further enhance their abilities through certifications and workshops.

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