A marine mechanic is responsible for the maintenance and repair of aquatic vehicles including motorboats and boats. They are essential in keeping an aquatic vehicle afloat, offering a large job market with many career advancement opportunities.
As a marine mechanic, you will be expected to work on watercrafts, interact directly with clients, take care of routine maintenance, test engines for issues, replace any defective parts and keep everything that you have done well documented. It is a skilled trade position that requires hand-eye coordination, attention to detail and problem solving. If you are interested in pursuing a career in marine mechanics, it is important to learn about the educational and certification options that can help you obtain a position and further advance in your career. A career in marine mechanics offers a variety of benefits such as the ability to work on aquatic vehicles, a faster post-education and a high paying salary. To learn more about marine mechanic careers, review the information that has been provided within the sections below.
A Life in the Day of a Marine Mechanic
As a marine mechanic, you would be expected to work on watercraft engines aboard private fishing boats, commercial fishing boats, cabin cruisers and yachts. Therefore, much of your work will be performed outside and you may be expected to work in less than ideal weather conditions. While most marine mechanics work throughout the entire year, some jobs are seasonal. It is also worth knowing that marine mechanics are also often referred to titles such as marine technician and motorboat mechanic. According to an estimate made by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2015, marine mechanics earn an average salary of $39,500 annually.
Qualifications That Make for a Good Marine Mechanic
There are a variety of qualities that can make you a great marine mechanic. These are qualities that you should either possess or be willing to learn if you would like to advance in your career as a marine mechanic. These qualities include:
- Excellent customer service skills, as you will generally be expected to interact directly with clients.
- An exceptional attention to detail.
- Good hand-eye coordination.
- Problem solving skills.
Fortunately, if you do not currently possess these skills, you can develop and hone them until they are satisfactory. Before you will be eligible to pursue a career as a marine mechanic, you will first need to earn your high school diploma or GED equivalent.
Furthering Your Education
After earning your high school diploma or GED, it is important to consider attending classes in motorboat maintenance and repair. While you can sometimes find entry-level positions that can lead you towards a career in marine mechanics without furthering your education, formal coursework will make you stand out as a potential job candidate. Employers prefer post education as they will need to provide less on the job training as opposed to someone who lacks that education. Formal coursework can be taken at a postsecondary vocational school or technical class. Fortunately, these courses often take less than two weeks to complete and can help to become eligible to perform maintenance upon products that are covered by manufacturers’ warranties.
The Requirement of Experience
There are varieties of marine mechanic positions that will require that you have between one to two years of experience. This can be a difficult obstacle to overcome when first aspiring to become a marine mechanic, but there are entry-level positions. Pay attention to the requirements that each employer has in regards to work experience within the industry. As mentioned previously, you can further your odds of getting your foot in the door by attending classes that will teach you about motorboat repair and maintenance. Some employers will even waive their experience requirement in exchange for additional education within your background.
There are a variety of certification courses that are offered by the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) that can further your career as a marine mechanic. In fact, there are several types of marine mechanics that will require certification while others are recommended in order to better prepare you for your first role as a marine mechanic. These certifications can better your chances at landing a job in the industry quickly. Each course includes between two to four days of seminars followed by an exam on the covered coursework material. Available certifications include, but are not limited to:
- Marine corrosion.
- Marine systems.
- Diesel engines.
- Support systems.
- Gasoline engines.
Additionally, marine mechanics can seek to earn manufacturer specific certifications that can lead to more specific job titles such as a certified technician in mercury marine. These certifications are a crucial part of advancing further into any marine mechanics field.
Once you have obtained a certification through the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), it will be valid for five years. You will need to renew your certification prior to its expiration. Fortunately, the recertification exam can be taken online, allowing you to recertify from the comfort of your own home. However, depending on the certification that you received, you may be required to first complete additional courses within two years of your initial certification.
Becoming a Master Marine Technician
If you have completed at least three certification courses, you may qualify to become a master marine mechanic through the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC). This master’s certification will demonstrate your professional dedication to your field and expertise potential to prospective employers. It is also worth knowing that marine mechanics that have maintained a Mercury Marine certification for that product line for a minimum of four consecutive years can also take the master technician exam.
The Bottom Line
While it is not always easy to enter into a marine mechanics career initially, once you have your foot in the door, it can be a very rewarding career – especially for any individuals who enjoy being out on the water and working directly with clients. It is a position that is heavily influenced by customer service and it is a trade that requires far less education in comparison to other skilled trades. By obtaining certifications, work experience and participating in additional educational courses – you can become a master marine mechanic rather quickly. Additional certifications and education will often also improve salaries and open up additional opportunities within the field to help you advance your career.