Marine Watercraft Repair and Maintenance

Marine watercraft repair and maintenance workers are trained on the job or through formal education to work on complex watercraft engines and systems. If you're interested in becoming a marine watercraft technician, read on to learn more about education options and career paths in the field.

Inside Marine Watercraft Repair and Maintenance

Watercraft engines are being built with increasing complexity, and repairs require highly qualified technicians with good technical skills. Marine watercraft repair and maintenance programs teach individuals how to work with boats, jet-skis and other watercraft. Students learn how to recognize and repair problems that may adversely affect watercraft function and safety.

Education Information

Hands-on training is a major component of marine watercraft repair programs, although many employers prefer applicants with some formal training. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more marine equipment mechanics are completing formal postsecondary training programs (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported it can take anywhere from a few months to three years of on-the-job training, schooling or a combination of both to become a fully qualified motorboat repair and maintenance technician. Most formal training programs lead to an associate's degree, certificate or diploma.

Training programs are offered through community colleges, vocational schools and postsecondary trade schools. Students learn how to repair various components of marine watercraft, including inboard engines, propulsion systems, electrical systems, structural components and mechanical systems. Most programs incorporate hands-on training through shop courses or cooperative work programs. You can learn more about marine technician training programs via the links below.

Distance Learning Options

Due to the hands-on nature of marine watercraft repair and maintenance training, online programs are rare. However, individuals may find online certificate programs in marine technology. Standalone courses designed for marine mechanics are also available online. Here are links to articles with more information.

Career Options

Individuals with the requisite training in marine watercraft repair and maintenance may qualify for entry-level repair and maintenance jobs in the marine industry. Marine watercraft repair and maintenance technicians may work for boat and motor dealerships, boat repair shops, charter companies or be self-employed. Job titles in this field include marine watercraft technician, boat and motor rigger, marine mechanic or shop assistant. With experience, these technicians may become managers of marine watercraft repair shops or supply stores. Review the links below for more information about relevant employment options.

Certification Information

Certification is offered through professional organizations such as the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC). The ABYC Certified Technician credential is awarded to experienced professionals who complete eight courses and pass a national certifying exam, and the ABYC Master Technician is available to those with less work experience who pass at least three courses (www.abycinc.org).

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS anticipated slower-than-average job growth for motorboat mechanics and service technicians, at 5 percent, between 2012 and 2022. The BLS expected those with formal training to have better job prospects overall. As of May 2013, the median annual salary of motorboat mechanics and service technicians was $36,090.

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