Career Profile: Marine Engine Technician
Do you like boats, ships, or watercraft systems? Do you like being by the water? If so, a career as a Marine Engine Technician may interest you.
What Do You Do?
As a highly-skilled mechanic, your day can be filled with many challenges like inspecting, diagnosing, and repairing marine and watercraft systems including gasoline and diesel engines, fuel management systems, engine electrical systems, marine electrical, electronic and navigation systems, steering and hydraulic systems, and drives and propulsion systems. Testing is also an important part of the job to ensure the system’s effective use and safe operation.
School and On the Job Training
You’ll get training through an apprentice training program that consists of 4280 hours (or 90% of your training) of on-the-job training and 720 hours of in-school training. For your on-the-job training, you’ll receive practical training from an experienced worker or a trainer. Industry recognized skills and competencies you need to develop are specified in an apprenticeship training standard. As you develop these skills, your sponsor or trainer signs off the relevant sections of your training standard to indicate that you met the training objectives. During your in-school training, you’ll receive three levels of theoretical training. Depending on your sponsor or trainer, you can receive your in-school training fulltime, one day per week, part-time, or through an alternative method such as online or correspondence.
Skills and What You Should Know
To be successful, you should have extensive knowledge of motorboat engines or be a very quick learner. Being adaptable is a great asset as well because you’ll have to be able to work on land and at sea. Strong problems solving skills are a must to diagnose and fix problems with complex electrical and mechanical systems.
To prepare for this interesting career, you need a secondary school diploma or equivalent with a strong understanding of math, physics, and English. The math and physics will not only help you with problem solving but also with performing highly mechanical functions like using and maintaining measuring devices including micrometers, calipers, gauges, straight edges, and dial indicators. Good writing skills are a must to excel at documenting work activities and writing operational reports.
Another skill that shouldn’t be overlooked is excellent customer service skills. You’ll need to provide honest feedback regarding vehicle condition, explain repairs and costs, write statements of work performed, and resolve complaints in a timely, effective manner.
Financial Outlook and Employment
Marine Engine Technician jobs are often advertised as Marine Mechanic or Marine Diesel Mechanic. The average salary in Canada is $58,500 per year or $30 per hour. An entry level worker starts at an average of $32,565 per year, and highly experienced workers can make up to $99,450 per year.
Employers include marine dealers, marine engine manufacturers, and independent repair shops. Work tends to be seasonal with the summer being the busiest season. You can increase year-round employability by seeking employment in winter recreational businesses as a ski lift mechanic or snowmobile engine technician.
If you’re mechanically inclined, love to problem solve, and enjoy working with people, a career as a Marine Engine Technician may be a step in the right direction.
Giselle Mazurat received her designation as a Certified Resume Strategist from the Career Professionals of Canada. She also writes technical and business content for government and private companies.