What are Different Types of Boat Builder Jobs?

Marlene Garcia

Boat builder jobs depend upon the type of vessel being constructed and what the factory or manufacturer requires employees to know. Construction of an aluminum fishing boat is different than designing and putting together super yachts, for instance. Boat builder jobs can also focus on the electrical components, plumbing, engineering duties, or painting of the finished product. People who work in this field also commonly do repairs on boats as needed.

An independent boat builder may focus on finishing or repairing fiberglass hulls.
An independent boat builder may focus on finishing or repairing fiberglass hulls.

Unless the boat builder is self-employed, he or she generally works in a factory that mass produces a particular kind of watercraft. The employee may be exposed to excessive dust, noise, and fumes from resins or varnishes used in the trade. Safety equipment is typically provided to counteract these hazards. Boat builders sometimes work in cramped spaces and should not be afraid of heights if working on large ships.

Boat builders may specialize in rare or traditional vessels such as the currach, a type of watercraft native to Ireland and Scotland.
Boat builders may specialize in rare or traditional vessels such as the currach, a type of watercraft native to Ireland and Scotland.

A boat builder might also be required to use power tools or hand tools. Boat designers need to be good in math and competent in drafting and drawing, sometimes using a computer. Although most boat builders can get a job without a college education, it often helps if the worker completed wood shop or science classes while in secondary school. Previous construction site experience is sometimes helpful too.

Fiberglass boats typically come from a mold and contain glass fibers that are covered with a resin. A boat builder who works with lightweight aluminum uses sheets of the material that are welded together. Steel hulls are more difficult to construct because of the increased weight and need for proper balance in the craft.

Apprentice programs are available in some areas for those who want to break into a boat building career. These courses commonly range from three to five years of study and on-the-job training. Depending upon the employer, the apprentice may have to pay all or part the costs of the program, plus travel expenses if travel is necessary.

Boat building kits are available for the person who wants to learn how to build a boat in his or her spare time. They come with illustrated instructions that walk the boat builder through each step of the process. Popular kits are available for wooden fishing boats, canoes, and motor boats.

The military also offers boat building opportunities, but usually requires more advanced knowledge of materials and design. Naval ships have greater maintenance requirements that affect how they are constructed. A job in the military normally requires technological education, along with advanced knowledge of complex design, materials, and tide and wave characteristics. Installation of numerous mechanical components in a ship broadens the number of boat building jobs in this area.

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