Marine Technician

views updated

Marine Technician

Education and Training None

Salary Average—$32,000 to $40,000 per year

Employment Outlook Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Marine technicians inspect, maintain, and repair boats of all kinds. Using diagnostic equipment, they test and repair boat engines, hulls, propellers, rigging, masts, sails, and navigational equipment. They also install and test sanitation and refrigeration systems, cabinetry, electrical systems, steering gear, and accessories.

To efficiently inspect and repair boats, technicians must first remove them from the water using winches and tracks and set them up on blocks. Supervisors and technicians inspect the boats and decide on the type of work that needs to be done and estimate how long the repairs should take.

When repairing damaged hulls, technicians remove barnacles and loose paint using scrapers, power washers, and sandblasting equipment. They then replace any damaged or decayed sections of wood or fiberglass, sand the repairs smooth, and repaint.

Education and Training Requirements

Many employers prefer to hire applicants with high school diplomas or the equivalent, although they are not required. High school shop courses can be helpful. An increasing number of technicians get two years of training at vocational or technical schools. Useful courses include blueprint reading, machine repair, woodworking, and fiberglass repair.

Most new workers get on-the-job training from experienced technicians. Many employers send their technicians to short training courses offered by boat and engine manufacturers and distributors.

Getting the Job

Job seekers can apply directly to marinas and boat sales and service yards. School placement offices, newspaper classified ads, and Internet job sites may offer employment leads.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advancement possibilities are limited. In large marinas and boatyards, technicians can become supervisors. Some experienced technicians open their own sales and service yards.

The employment outlook for marine technicians is good through 2014. As people have more leisure time, sales of boats are expected to increase. However, boat design is becoming more advanced, so those with the best training and experience may find the most job opportunities.

Working Conditions

The largest boatyards and marinas, which may employ up to ten marine technicians, are found in coastal areas. Smaller marinas, employing fewer people, are found near lakes and water-recreation facilities.

The number of hours marine technicians work varies. In spring and summer, technicians may be required to work more than forty hours per week, including some weekend work. In the winter most of the work is routine maintenance, and some technicians may be laid off.

The shops and indoor areas where marine technicians work can be noisy and dirty. Technicians must take safety measures when working with fiberglass, resins, and other chemicals. Although technicians use machinery for many tasks, heavy lifting is often required.

Where to Go for More Information

Association of Marine Technicians
513 River Estates Pkwy.
Canton, GA 30114-9419
(800) 467-0982

National Marine Electronics Association
7 Riggs Ave.
Severna, MD 21146
(410) 975-9425

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries vary, depending on skill, experience, and location. Average salaries for marine technicians range from $32,000 to $40,000 per year. Benefits may include paid holidays and vacations and health and retirement plans.