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Marine engineering technician Shipbuilding technician

Marine engineering technicians design, build, service and repair boats and ships. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £16,000 to £35,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 38 per week

1. Entry requirements

You could:

  • take a college course in marine construction, systems engineering and maintenance, or fabrication and welding engineering technology
  • get into this job through an apprenticeship
  • train as an engineering technician with the Merchant Navy or Royal Navy

You'll need IT skills and a knowledge of computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM).

The Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology (IMarEST) and British Marine have more information on becoming a marine engineering technician.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to find practical solutions to problems
  • the ability to understand technical plans and drawings
  • diving skills, for some jobs
  • IT skills
  • the ability to lead a team 

3. What you'll do

You’ll design, build, service and repair boats and ships. You might also perform maintenance on offshore platforms, drilling machinery and equipment.

You’ll use a range of engineering skills, like welding, mechanical and electrical maintenance, and electronic equipment installation. 

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • fault-finding and repairing electronic, hydraulic and mechanical equipment on boats and ships
  • helping to design and develop new marine equipment
  • providing engineering support on board a dive support vessel
  • refurbishing older craft with new navigation and communications systems
  • using underwater craft like remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to inspect undersea pipelines
  • supervising a team of craftspeople in a ship or boatyard
  • maintaining weapons systems, radar and sonar on board Royal Navy warships

You’ll usually work as part of a technical team, under the direction of a marine engineer.

4. Salary

Starter: £16,000 to £22,000

Experienced: £23,000 to £30,000

Highly Experienced: £35,000 or more

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work around 38 hours a week, but overtime is common during busier periods.

Your workplace could range from an office, shipyard or port, to working at sea (possibly underwater), installing and servicing equipment in all weather conditions.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into a supervisory role or engineering project management work. 

You could specialise in a particular area, like boat design, specialist equipment sales and support or marine insurance. 

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Last updated: 21 March 2017