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How to Become a Marine Mechanic: Job Description, Salary & More

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How to Become a Marine Mechanic: Job Description, Salary & More

Boats transport people, power water-based industries, are essential for tourism and recreation, and are viewed by many as one of the coolest forms of transportation around. Marine mechanics keep these impressive vehicles working and get to enjoy time by the water as they do so.

If working in an environment surrounded by boats and water sounds like your dream job, read on to learn the answer to what is a marine mechanic. Get information on a marine mechanic job description, marine mechanic salary and how to become a marine mechanic.

What Is a Marine Mechanic?

A marine mechanic—also called a marine technician—is a professional who inspects, maintains and repairs watercraft like sport fishing boats, sailboats and motorboats. Marine mechanics work on all types of boats and may work at marinas and for service yards, independent repair shops and yacht centers. Marine mechanics may also work in the military.

Marine mechanics are also employed by businesses that provide boats used for water recreation and scenic and sightseeing transportation. The career also offers lots of ways to merge multiple interests, like a love of entertainment or nature.

Marine mechanics work on all types of marine engines, including inboard motors and outboard motors. They may also fix problems related to hydraulic systems and boat steering.

Marine mechanics use tracks and winches to remove a boat from the water and set it on blocks. They use tools like pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, compression gauges, voltmeters, ammeters and pneumatic tools.

Marine Mechanic Job Description

Every day as a marine mechanic brings new types of work and challenges, depending on the vehicle that’s being repaired and the issue that is being fixed. Generally, marine mechanic job duties include:

  • Examining and troubleshooting boats to determine the types of needed repairs and how long they will take
  • Testing and repairing boat engines, electrical systems, navigational equipment, hulls, propellers, masts, rigging and sails
  • Evaluating and installing refrigeration and sanitation systems, steering gear, electrical systems, cabinetry and electrical systems
  • Conducting intake and plumbing repairs and electrical air-conditioning maintenance
  • Communicating with clients and completing repair documents and service records

Most of our grads start out working as entry-level technicians or in other entry-level roles. As with any industry, over time, you may be able to advance in your career with hard work. Here are some of the many entry-level and advanced marine mechanic jobs you may be able to pursue:77

  • Boat rigger, who equips boats with systems related to operations and safety
  • Dealership technician, who works for a specific boat manufacturer
  • Gelcoat and fiberglass technician, who repairs fiberglass and gelcoat
  • Marine electrician, who installs and repairs marine electrical systems
  • Marine refrigeration and air-conditioning technician, who repairs and rebuilds commercial and domestic refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment
  • Marine service manager, who manages marine technicians
  • Rig shop manager, who oversees rig shop operations

Other marine technicians become entrepreneurs and open their own boat-focused businesses. Whether you want to move up the ranks in marine leadership, become your own boss or work on boats all day, marine mechanic training provides opportunities.

Like most types of motor technicians, a marine mechanic must have excellent hand-eye coordination and be capable of working in a physically demanding job. Marine mechanics must also be effective communicators, since they need to be able to talk with clients and collaborate with co-workers.

Another essential marine mechanic trait is the ability to problem-solve. Marine mechanics are constantly encountering new challenges that require an analytical approach to identify problems and decide on the best solutions.

Marine mechanics must also be detail-oriented, since they need to understand how precise problems affect the complex machines they work on. An eye for detail is also important to ensure safety and high-quality work.

How to Become a Marine Mechanic

For those new to the marine technician world, the Marine Technician Specialist program at Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI) prepares aspiring marine mechanics for working professionally.1 The 51-week program7 includes inboard, outboard and sterndrive training on five marine brands, so graduates get a comprehensive marine technician education to prepare them for professional work. Students learn courses related to diesel, electrical systems, engines, fuel and lubrication systems, lower units and outdrives, rigging, and service operations.

Each manufacturer-specific course lasts three weeks so students can get in-depth training and learn the technical specificities of each brand, including:

While some marine mechanics have started their careers with on-the-job training, many marine mechanics today seek formal training. This can help them strengthen their résumés when they’re applying for jobs and show employers they’re ready to work with less on-the-job training needed.

Marine Mechanic Salary & Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for motorboat mechanics and service technicians in the United States was $48,280 in May 2022.31 This means half of marine technicians earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

As people continue to use boats for recreation and our country relies on them for the transportation of goods, the demand for skilled marine technicians should remain.

Get Marine Mechanic Training at MMI

If you have a passion for water and want to spend your working life near it, a career as a marine mechanic could be for you. MMI programs start every six weeks in Orlando, Florida, so you can go after your dreams.

Learn more about MMI online. Call 1-800-834-7308 to talk with an MMI representative or request marine technician education information online.

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