How to Become a Certified Marine Mechanic

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Marine mechanics, alternatively known as marine technicians, service diesel and gasoline engines for all types and sizes of boats. A mechanic maintains permanently installed diesel engines dockside, while he brings small outboard engines to a service facility. Some marine mechanics also maintain boat electrical, plumbing or steering systems. Many mechanics attend marine maintenance schools that provide specialized instruction and often lead to more challenging opportunities. Some mechanics also obtain professional certifications.

Complete marine maintenance courses. Gain boat engine and system maintenance skills through a well-rounded technical school program (see Resources). Contact community colleges in boating-oriented towns, as these institutions also offer boat maintenance courses. Develop a documented skill set that presents you favorably to marine industry employers. Forward-thinking companies also send employees to specialized training courses. These programs instruct maintenance personnel to perform warranty work on specific manufacturers' equipment.

Accumulate relevant work experience. Hone your skills at a local or regional boat maintenance facility. Examples include a marina’s engine maintenance shop or private contractor’s marina-based facility. Contractors frequently perform varied boat maintenance and troubleshooting work, depending on the customer’s needs. Acquire more advanced engine maintenance skills at a specialized engine repair shop. These facilities often provide certified factory service for major diesel engine brands, and offer opportunities to learn from highly skilled professionals.

Complete ABYC Marine Technician certification. Contact the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) to sit for up to seven marine technician certification exams. These comprehensive tests are targeted to experienced maintenance personnel. Specialties include diesel engines, gasoline engines and marine systems. Refrigeration and air conditioning comprise one certification, while marine electrical and corrosion certifications are issued separately. Pass exams that encompass general knowledge of accepted industry practices and specific ABYC standards. Certification in three or more specialties designates you as a Master Technician. You must re-certify in each specialty every five years.

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About the Author

Based in North Carolina, Felicia Greene has written professionally since 1986. Greene edited sailing-related newsletters and designed marketing programs for the New Bern, N.C. "Sun Journal" and New Bern Habitat ReStore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Baltimore.

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