If you like getting your hands dirty and your feet wet, a marine mechanics
program may be right for you.
Most programs combine classroom study with on-the-job training.
Typically 10 months to two years long, these programs provide students
with the skills and knowledge required to install, repair and maintain mechanical
components of boats and other watercraft.
Graduates also have the skills to find work in related fields such as heavy
equipment repair, aircraft maintenance, motorcycle and lawn and garden equipment
To get into a marine mechanics program, a high school diploma is recommended.
But a Grade 10 education and successful completion of a high school equivalency
program or entrance exam may be acceptable at some schools.
Unlike automotive mechanics, marine mechanics do not need to complete
an apprenticeship and become licensed.
Employers will often send mechanics and trainees to special training courses
offered by manufacturers or distributors. These courses, which are usually
a week to two weeks long, upgrade skills and provide information on repairing
new models. They are usually required for those who perform warranty work
for manufacturers or insurance companies.
Marine mechanics can find themselves working on land or water. Most
small boats have portable outboard engines, which are usually gasoline powered
and can be removed and taken into the repair shop.
Larger crafts, such as cabin cruisers and commercial fishing boats, use
diesel or gasoline. Their large inboard or inboard/outboard engines are only
removed for major overhaul. Most of the repair work is done on the boat.
It's a good idea to research programs to determine which one is best
suited to your interests. For example, if you want a job in a land-based
shop and wish to work on outboard motors and personal watercraft, then a marine
and small engine mechanics program is perhaps the best option.
Those interested in working on large sea-going vessels should look into
a marine diesel mechanics program that prepares students for a career in the
operation and maintenance of diesel engines and auxiliary equipment found
on marine vessels and offshore drilling rigs.
Take high school math and a basic computer course, says Neil McIntyre,
instructor of the inboard/outboard marine and small engine technician program
at a community college.
"A high school mechanics course might help you understand and put
a name to basic engine components and develop some skills," he adds.
Besides tuition and books, you may have to spend money on safety shoes,
gloves and tools.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Small
Marine Career Opportunities
Check out the opportunities with the Society of Naval Architects
and Marine Engineers
How Do Boats Float?
Learn more about displacement from the folks at HowStuffWorks.com