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7 Traits of a Successful Marine Technician

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Marine technicians, commonly referred to as marine mechanics, repair mechanical and electrical components of ship and boat engines. They typically work in repair shops, seaports, docks and marinas and repair watercraft of all shapes and sizes, from sport fishing boats to container ships.

A career as a marine technician can be an exciting path for those who dream of a life on the water, enjoy working with their hands and have strong analytical and problem solving skills. As with any career, it requires a specific set of skills and training.

If you’re thinking about becoming a marine technician, it’s important to know what it takes to succeed in the field. Read along as we share seven common traits shared by marine technicians, which can help you in deciding if this is the right career path for you.

A Love for the Water

Marine technicians spend a majority of their days on or by the water, making this an ideal career for those who love boating and the great outdoors. Many technicians work in repair shops while others work outside in docks or marinas, right where the action takes place!

Repairing equipment and working on engines is just one aspect of the job of a technician, however. Many techs spend a large amount of their time conducting routine maintenance and testing the boats they work on to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Successful marine technicians will tell you that a love for the water is essential to succeeding in this career. Many techs who choose this path have loved boats from a young age and have worked in the industry for years, like MMI instructor Billy Crosby.

Billy has been working in and around boats for the last 27 years, and while he loves boating, he says, “It’s even more fun to know how to work on them when, at the end of the day, something goes wrong.” His passion for both the recreational and technical side of the industry are what drives his career.

Diagnostic Skills

When a customer brings in their boat in for a repair, marine technicians are the first to identify the problem—whether it’s a motorboat in need of a new propeller or a recreational yacht that needs an engine repair. Relying on their technical expertise, technicians will diagnose the problem, develop a solution and execute the repair safely and effectively.

Diagnostic skills are often acquired through hands-on experience, trial and error and formal training. This is why many marine technicians complete a specialized training program, such as UTI’s Marine Technician Specialist Training Program, offered at Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI) in Orlando, Florida.

This program offers a combination of hands-on experience and technical knowledge to prepare students for careers as entry-level technicians in boat yards, marinas, marine dealers and more.

Students have the opportunity to complete specialized training created in conjunction with leading brands, including:

An Eye for Detail

Being detail-oriented is critical to the success of a marine technician. The types of boats they repair are often very complex, which requires great precision and an understanding of how all of the moving parts must work together.

It’s important for marine mechanics to be careful and responsible in their work to prevent equipment damage and maintain a safe environment for both customers and their fellow technicians.

Having an eye for detail often comes with being committed to excellence. Technicians who care about their work and the safety and happiness of their customers often go the extra mile to ensure every little detail is in place. They understand the importance of their role and don’t take their responsibilities lightly.

Versatility

Marine mechanics work on boats of all shapes and sizes, which means they must possess a wide array of knowledge. Each day presents new challenges, and technicians never know what kind of watercraft will come their way in need of repair. This variety is what draws many people to the career.

Technicians must know how to maintain and repair inboard and outboard engines, sterndrives, diesel engines and vessels. Additionally, many manufacturers look for techs who are familiar with their specific technologies. Being versatile and having the ability to work on various types of boats from different manufacturers can give you a competitive edge and open doors to exciting opportunities for advancement within the industry.

Initiative

On the job, it’s important for marine mechanics to be self-starters. The types of repairs these technicians complete don’t always come with a user manual, which requires the ability to take initiative and rise to any challenge.

Marine technicians are often responsible for carrying out services beginning to end, from the diagnosing phase to the delivery of the final product to the customer. For this reason, it’s important for technicians to take ownership of their work and ensure they stay on track throughout the process.

Whether technicians are working on a repair independently or alongside other technicians, it’s important for them to take initiative and use their knowledge, skills and experience to get the job done right.

Interpersonal Communication

Becoming a marine mechanic requires both mechanical skills and interpersonal skills. While mechanics spend a good majority of their time working on watercraft, it’s also their job to communicate directly with customers.

Marine mechanics maintain open communication with their customers throughout the repair process. Upon diagnosing the boat, they must explain the problem and repair needs to the customer. This often includes timeline and pricing information.

Throughout the process, mechanics are responsible for keeping the customer in the loop by informing them how the repair is going. Upon final delivery, mechanics will explain the repair to the customer as well as any necessary follow-ups.

They must be available to answer questions and put their customers at ease if they feel confused or overwhelmed. If the customer is upset or has a difficult personality, they must do their very best to work with them and provide them with great service.

Overall, mechanics who have great interpersonal skills are able to build trusting relationships with their customers that results in referrals and recurring business.

Hardworking

Being a marine technician takes hard work. This isn’t an easy job, but it can be incredibly rewarding for those who have a passion for the industry. Those trained in the field can advance to different roles throughout their career, which may require coming in early and staying late to gain as much experience as possible. Putting in the hard work now can lead to exciting opportunities later!

Train to Become a Marine Technician

Does becoming a marine technician sound like the right choice for you? Marine Mechanics Institute can provide you with the training, hands-on experience and industry connections you need to accomplish your career goals. To learn more, visit our Marine Technician Specialist Training program page and request more information today.

Want to Learn More About the Marine Technology Program?

If you're interested in learning how you can register for the Marine Technology program Just click the link below or call (800) 834-7308 to speak with one of our friendly Admissions Representatives.