Career Profile: Marine Engine Technician (French version available)
Some people like working with engines, taking them apart to see how they work and then putting them back together. These machines come in many different types, including marine engines. Working with these engines can be a rewarding career for people who enjoy mechanical work. If that describes you, why not consider becoming a marine engine technician?
Engines have many connected parts that help the machine to work properly but that can also break or wear out. They need people to inspect, service, and repair them. Marine engines might be slightly different from other engines, but they have the same basic structure. Learning to build and repair other engines can help people deal with the types of issues they might face in working with marine engines.
Normally, marine engine technicians need at least a high school education with courses in topics like mathematics and English. For trade certification, people need a three- or four-year apprenticeship, or five years of work experience with some courses in machine repair or millwright work. In some parts of Canada, official certification is necessary. For that designation, people should be able to work with gasoline and diesel engines, electrical systems, steering systems, and other aspects of engine maintenance.
Since marine engines are for boats and ships, most of the work in this trade is close to the water on the east and west coasts of the country. Cargo ships and other large boats can provide work for many people in this trade. However, some work might be available near lakes and rivers, where people ride small boats for pleasure. Being willing to work with other types of engines can help provide a steady income, especially in winter when lakes and rivers are frozen and only the large ships can sail.
Attention to detail is an important quality for marine engine technicians. Making even small mistakes can cause an engine to break down, and technicians need to be careful. Good eyesight with or without glasses and steady hands can help people avoid making errors, and curiosity about machines can make the job interesting. Since machines can change over the years, marine engine technicians should be sure to keep up with the latest developments.
Like with most trades, people who work as marine engine mechanics can increase their pay and level of responsibility as they develop their skills. Wages usually begin at $15 per hour or $31,000 per year and can rise to $37 per hour or $81,000 per year with experience. People can specialize in a certain type of marine engine or work more generally with whatever is available. Choosing to specialize is easier for mechanics who work with mechanics who can take over other tasks, but it can be possible even for people who work alone.
The work of a marine engine technician can be tiring and sometimes stressful, especially if a job needs to be finished quickly. Sometimes, clients have tight deadlines and mechanics have to get the work done before the ship has to leave the harbour. However, it can also be a very good job for people who enjoy working with their hands and solving problems. If this career sounds good, you can already start to prepare for a career as a marine engine mechanic through your schooling or work experience.
Boating Industry in Canada. “Careers.” https://boatingindustry.ca/careers.
Georgian College. “Inspect, service and repair marine engines as a marine mechanic.” https://www.georgiancollege.ca/academics/programs/mechanical-techniques-marine-engine-mechanic/.
Job Bank. “Marine Engine Mechanic in Canada.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/requirements/17112/ca
Payscale Canada. “Marine Mechanic: Hourly Rate.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Marine_Mechanic/Hourly_Rate.