Marine mechanics are experts who work on the electrical and mechanical systems of boats and ships. Docks, marinas, and seaports are common places for them to work. Marine mechanics work on a wide range of boats, from little runabouts to large container ships sailing across the ocean.
According to the University of Maine, marine mechanics are responsible for performing repairs on marine engines using hand and power equipment as well as technical manuals. These experts must also check and test engine equipment on a regular basis in order to spot problems. Small boats’ portable outboard engines, inboard-outboard engines on somewhat larger boats, and huge vessels’ highly powerful diesel engines are among the motors they maintain.
Marine mechanics can repair items like gears and spark plugs, as well as fix issues with boat steering systems and propellers. Marine mechanics also buy supplies, tools, and components for their equipment. According to O*Next, they may also be required to use metalworking equipment to make necessary engine replacement parts such as bolts or valves. These professionals often provide reports highlighting the necessity for boat repairs.
Marine mechanics must have a high level of attention to detail. To avoid injuries and equipment damage, they must be responsible and cautious in their job. Marine mechanics must also be analytical and problem solvers. They should also be physically healthy and have high manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination. These individuals must be self-motivated, organized, and capable of training new mechanics, in addition to having strong repair skills. Marine mechanics must also have excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication abilities.
Marine mechanics must be able to stand for lengthy periods of time. Marine mechanics must be able to tolerate high levels of noise and be at ease kneeling, stooping, and working in confined and uncomfortable situations. They should also expect to twist and bend their bodies often and be willing to work outside in a variety of weather conditions. They may work in the recreation industry, boatyards, and boat-building companies, or they can work for themselves.
Aspiring marine mechanics can enroll in two-year associate degree programs or shorter certificate programs. These programs are offered in technical/vocational schools as well as community colleges. High school students should focus on topics like auto mechanics, small-engine repair, math, and science to prepare for these programs and the marine mechanic career. Many marine mechanics learn on the job or via training programs offered by boat companies. Marine mechanics must also enroll in continuing education programs to keep current in the area of motorboat technology, which is becoming more complex.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for motorboat mechanics and service technicians in 2020 was $21.87, with an average annual salary of $45,490. According to the BLS, the average hourly income for diesel mechanics in 2020 was $24.13, with an annual salary of $50,200.