Register | Login

Marine Craftsperson

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Marine Craftsperson

The Work

Marine craftspeople work for shipbuilding and ship repair and conversion companies. In smaller marinas and boatyards, they might work for boat-building, repair and maintenance firms. Their work could range from building hulls on sea-going vessels, to restoring the fixtures and fittings on traditional narrowboats.

As a marine craftsperson, you would use carpentry, electrical, plumbing, welding and painting skills, as well as more traditional maritime craft skills like rigging and sailmaking. You would work with materials ranging from wood and steel plate, to glass- or fibre-reinforced plastics (GRP/FRP).

On smaller marine craft, your duties could include:

  • marking out construction materials using engineering design templates
  • welding, cutting and shaping parts or sections
  • assembling boat sections and pipework
  • installing engines
  • 'fitting out' the vessel with furnishings, navigation and communications equipment, heating and lighting and, if appropriate, rigging.

In a dockyard or shipyard, you are more likely to work on larger ships, tankers, and oil and gas platforms for offshore sites.

Hours and Environment

You would work between 37 and 40 hours a week. Urgent repair work may mean you have to work weekends or shifts, including nights.

Some shipbuilding and boat-building can be done under cover in large indoor sheds, but most of the work would be outside in all weathers. Your working conditions could be cramped and dirty at times, and some jobs may involve working at heights.

Skills and Interests

  • excellent practical skills
  • good teamworking skills
  • the ability to solve problems
  • good maths and IT skills
  • the ability to understand technical plans and drawings
  • good communication skills
  • a reasonable level of fitness
  • some knowledge of computer-aided design (CAD) packages if involved in boat design.


You may be able to get into this career as a marine industry apprentice. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more, visit

Employers may ask for some GCSEs (grades A-C) in subjects like maths, English, science, engineering, design and technology, or equivalent qualifications.

As an alternative, you may be able to take a general engineering college course, which would teach you some of the skills needed for this job. Courses include BTEC Certificates and Diplomas in Mechanical, Electrical or Electronic Engineering. You could also take a higher-level qualification, such as a HNC or HND in Marine Engineering.

You may find qualifications and/or experience in other craft areas such as welding, joinery or plumbing useful when looking for work.

Some colleges based in traditional boatbuilding areas may run introductory courses in marine crafts. These are mainly in the south-west, along the south coast and East Anglia. You could also check with inland and coastal leisure marinas for possible opportunities. Unless you live in or near to these areas, you may need to relocate to find work.

For more information about careers in marine engineering, see the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), British Marine Federation and SEMTA websites.


Your employer would usually train you on-the-job. You may also be encouraged to take various work-based qualifications, such as:

  • NVQ Engineering Maintenance levels 2 and 3
  • NVQ Marine Engineering levels 2 and 3
  • NVQ Marine Engineering Operations levels 3 and 4
  • BTEC National Certificate/Diploma in Engineering (Operations and Maintenance)
  • City & Guilds Certificate in Boat Building, Maintenance and Support (2451) levels 2 and 3 (covers yacht and boat construction, hull assembly, fitting out and engine systems).

You can find more information about relevant qualifications on the British Marine Federation website, as well as details of training providers offering courses such as:

  • laminates and composites
  • liquid petroleum gas (LPG)
  • electrics and plumbing
  • rope/wire splicing.

You can find details of higher education courses and information about professional development training on the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology website.


You would find opportunities for work on larger vessels mainly in the shipyards of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England. Jobs in boatbuilding and repair tend to be on a much smaller scale and are found in coastal areas, especially around the south-west, south-east and East Anglia.

With experience and qualifications, you could work your way up to technician level, move into marine design or specialist equipment sales and support. You could use your skills to transfer into the wider engineering or construction engineering industries.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading: (links open in new window)

Engineering Jobs Network
British Marine Federation
Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology
Directgov (Jobseekers page)

We do not accept responsibility for the content of external sites.

Annual Income

  • Starting salaries are between 13,000 and 17,000 a year.
  • A qualified craftsperson can earn between 18,000 and 23,000.
  • A senior craftsperson can earn more than 25,000 a year.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.


Email Address



Submit CV