How Much Do Boat Mechanics Make in 2022?

October 25, 2021

Did you know that the average boat mechanic salary for the top 10 percent of motorboat mechanics as of May 2020 was $66,230 per year?

While motorboat mechanics earned mean annual wages of $45,490 nationally, an average boat service technician in Rhode Island earned $52,940 per year.

If you find the science behind boats, ships, and submarines exciting, a career as a marine mechanic can be a rewarding option for you. Along with earning a good salary, there are many growth prospects for a boat mechanic.

Let’s look at the marine mechanic average salary in the United States and how the wages can significantly vary according to skills, experience, certifications, and job location.

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The Average Marine Mechanic Salary in the U.S.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a federal government agency that publishes employment and wage data annually for over 800 occupations. According to the latest estimates, the national average salary for motorboat mechanics and service technicians was $45,490.

BLS also reports that the median annual wages in the profession were $43,320, with the lowest ten percentile technicians making $27,110 annually, while the top 1o percent highest-earning mechanics earned salaries of $66,230.

These estimates show that you can earn anywhere between $27,000 and $66,000 depending upon your qualification, skills, and years of experience, with most marine mechanics making around the $45,000 mark.

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Interestingly, BLS estimates for the average marine mechanic salary differ for the nation with the individual states and metropolitan and non-metropolitan area data. 

Coastal regions with more access to maritime activities offer several job opportunities in boat repair and allied roles such as a marine diesel mechanic, small engine repair technician, etc.

a boat mechanic at his job

Top-Paying U.S. States

We’ve listed the top states in the USA that offer excellent salaries to boat repair technicians and small engine mechanics. Let’s learn about the average boat mechanic salary in these states in detail.

1. Hawaii

Being an island state, Hawaii heavily relies on the marine and shipping industries for uninterrupted energy supply, interstate commerce, and global trade. Motorboat service technicians in the state earned average wages of $57,060 annually or about $27.43 per hour. The top 10 percent of professionals in the field made as much as $80,590 per year!

2. Massachusetts

Massachusetts has a robust network of ferry services that operate throughout the state.  The National Marine Manufacturers Association reports that the recreational boating industry alone contributes about $4.4 billion to the state’s economy, supports 1,055 businesses and 20,362 jobs.

The average motorboat technician in the state had a yearly salary of $54,030 or hourly wages of $25.98.

3. Maryland

Maryland is home to the Port of Baltimore, the top-ranked port for the import of motor vehicles. The Port of Baltimore, being among the top 15 largest ports in the country, hosts many boats and cargo ships. On the eastern shores of Maryland lies the 23-km Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, which carries a significant chunk of the port’s traffic.

The average marine mechanic salary in the state is $53,930 per year at an hourly rate of $25.93.

4. Rhode Island (RI)

Although RI is the smallest state by area, it has flourishing shipping and ferry boat services, thanks to its geographical location. Officially nicknamed the ‘Ocean state,’ large bays and water inlets constitute 14% of the state’s total area and offer ample scope for marine activities. 

The marine technician industry in the state has a higher share of local employment than the nationwide trend.

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Motorboat mechanics and service technicians in Rhode Island have an average salary of $52,940 and hourly wages of about $25.45.
top paying states for marine mechanics

 

5. Connecticut

Connecticut has a strong maritime tradition that continues to prosper. The Connecticut River, Thames River, and ports along Long Island Sound are a hub for ferry boats and commercial shipping activities, offering plenty of jobs for marine mechanics.

The average salary of a boat mechanic in Connecticut is $52,590 per year, translating to mean hourly wages of $25.29.

There is also a vast difference in metropolitan and non-metropolitan regions’ salaries. San Antonio region in Texas and the San Francisco-Oakland belt in California offer excellent wages of $ 63,080 and $ 59,490 annually.

Motorboat Mechanic Salaries in All Other States

Although the states mentioned above have the highest salaries, Florida has the most jobs for boat mechanics and technicians. While the state employs 3,430 professionals, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale regions alone have 1,600 marine mechanics working in the field.

Here’s the salary data along with their employment levels as outlined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Please note that there isn’t adequate employment data for the region if a state is missing from the list.

Motorboat mechanic salary
Motor boat mechanic salaries

What are the Top Skills for Better Salaries as Boat Mechanics?

A professional qualification from a reputed institution will give you a headstart. According to Zippia.com, these are the most sought-after skills that many employers look for in a prospective candidate:

1. Knowledge of Essential Elements and Machine Parts

Every marine vehicle features three basic types of components:

  • Structural (Frames, Chassis, Axles, Seals, Bearings, etc.)
  • Mechanisms(Belts, Chains, Cam and follower, Gears, etc.)
  • Control Parts (Switches, Sensors, Actuators, etc.)
As a marine mechanic, you must be conversant with the working of machine parts. You should also be able to inspect machine parts to ensure that they conform to the specifications.

2. Electrical Systems

Electrical systems on a boat include air-conditioning, heating, engine cooling, speedometers, digital indicators, etc. You must be fluent in servicing ignition systems, air-conditioning units, and other systems. If there are any malfunctions, you should repair the failures or repair the faulty components. 

3. Routine Maintenance

Routine or general maintenance helps ensure that the boats are in their best operational condition. Every service technician must be aware of the planned activities they need to perform to monitor the system’s health. They must be proficient in identifying problems in a customer’s vehicle and suggest possible remedies.

Some of the typical job duties in routine maintenance include orientation adjustments, spark plug replacements, lubrication of rotating parts, etc.

4. Engine Repair

Marine technicians should be well-versed with small engine repair, oil change, tune-up, preventive and corrective maintenance routines, and repair of inboard, outboard, and diesel engines. They must operate the testing equipment and hand tools necessary for the repair and overhaul of boat engines.

5. Yamaha Certification

Yamaha is one of the most popular boat engine manufacturers. Specializing in diagnosing and repairing Yamaha inboard and outboard engines can help you fetch a high-paying job. You can also achieve the status of a master technician in Yamaha and further boost your prospects of an excellent salary.

Additionally, every marine technician must possess comprehensive customer service skills to explain the repair procedure to their clients in a simple, non-technical manner.

Besides these specialized skills, boat mechanics must be aware of Radar, GPS, boat navigation systems, and charting software. They must know the boat’s default align center (check engine alignment), and be able to repair steering units, throttle control systems, rudders, and propellers.

Boat Mechanic-Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of motorboat mechanics and service technicians will grow by 13 percent from 2020-30. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reported a 12 percent increase in retail unit sales of new powerboats in the U.S. compared to 2019.

Boat manufacturers sold more than 310,000 new powerboats in 2020. The recreational boating industry had not seen such a massive demand since before the Great Recession in 2008.  Thus, creating immense opportunities for maintaining and repairing the engines and parts in these boats.  

There are several additional factors apart from the salary that you must know before choosing a career. While some jobs may have wages, there might not be ample scope for growth, or the field may face stagnation in a few years.

Some professions have lower pay initially but offer great opportunities for your overall development.

Let’s understand why a career as a boat mechanic scores high in all aspects.

Career Path for a Boat Mechanic

Entry-level jobs for a boat mechanic include general repair and maintenance roles. As you move along in your career and gain more experience, you may take better job responsibilities and leadership roles. 

For example, you can start as a mechanic and progress to a maintenance technician with a much better salary and growth. With further experience, you can eventually end up earning the job title of maintenance supervisor.

There are several career paths for a marine mechanic, depending upon their area of expertise. If you choose to become a master technician, you can become a foreman and even advance to plant manager roles with about 10-12 years of experience. Boat mechanics who are adept at inspection and maintenance roles can become quality control managers.

Entry-level jobs for a boat mechanic

What Are Jobs That a Marine Mechanic Can Take Up?

Many employers recruit entry-level professionals as small engine mechanics, boat mechanics, or maintenance technicians. With relevant skills and experience, marine mechanics can also take up diesel engines and automotive repair roles.

Some mechanics specialize in handling diagnostic and test equipment and become operators, machinists, and testing specialists. Master technicians can look for foreman and supervisor jobs in repair shops and boat manufacturing facilities.

You can also choose to work independently or start your own business.

Let’s look at some of these job roles, prospective salaries, and the job outlook in the next ten years.

Marine Mechanic Job

Where Can you Work as a Marine Mechanic?

Marine mechanics work in repair shops, retail boat services, boat dealers, marinas, boatyards, state-of-the-art machinery design labs, or boat manufacturing companies. 

Deep-sea, coastal, inland, and other water transportation industries, amusement and recreation, ship and boat building, and motor vehicle dealers remain the top industries for marine mechanics.

State government, water transportation industries, and equipment and machinery wholesalers offer motorboat mechanics and service technicians the highest salary.

Who are the Top Employers for a Boat Mechanic?

These are some of the top-rated companies that hire marine mechanics:

  • U.S. Navy: The United States Navy is one of the nation’s seven uniformed services, engaging in naval warfare and allied services. You can get a competitive salary and excellent perks and benefits at the organization.
  • U.S Marine Inc. (USMI): USMI is well-known for its diversity, excellent wages, and employee welfare. Currently, 510 employees are a part of the growing workforce that strives to bring integrity and quality in all aspects of its work.
  • Tiara Yachts: Headquartered in Holland, MI, Tiara Yachts employs 750 professionals in different areas of its manufacturing activities. An average boat mechanic at the company can earn about $43,000.
  • Aqua America: Aqua America is one of the U.S.’s largest drinking water and wastewater treatment infrastructure and service providers. It also offers an average annual salary of $56,979 to boat mechanics.
  • Big Rivers Electric: Big Rivers Electric is a medium-sized utility services organization based in Kentucky. Zippia.com has ranked the company as#1 in the ‘Best Utility Companies to Work For in Kentucky’ category.
  • Sea Ray Boats: Founded in 1959, Sea Ray Boats is a leading manufacturer of recreational motorboats. It currently operates as part of the Brunswick Boat Group, a division of Brunswick Corporation. The company offers an average marine mechanic salary of around $45000 per year as per recent trends.

Conclusion

Boat mechanics and service technicians have ample job opportunities with excellent prospects of a high salary.

Professional qualification, skills, experiences, and certifications can further propel the career of marine and small engine mechanics to greater heights. Coastal regions with robust marine infrastructure are the best places to work for marine mechanics.

FAQs

What Does a Boat Mechanic Do?

A boat mechanic diagnoses, repairs, installs and maintains boat engines, motors, steering systems, and other marine equipment.

Is a boat mechanic a good career?

Boat mechanics and service technicians can get many job roles with excellent prospects of a high salary. Along with decent wages, boat mechanics have immense growth and learning opportunities.

START YOUR CAREER IN MARINE TECHNOLOGY

Earn your degree in marine tech from NEIT and begin your new career path today!

ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE

How much do marine mechanics make?

The average salary of a motorboat mechanic in the U.S. is $45,490 or $21.87 per hour. Some marine mechanics also earn upwards of $65,000 annually, depending upon their work experience, skills, qualification, and job location.

Are marine mechanics in demand?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of motorboat mechanics and service technicians will grow at a faster-than-average rate of 13 percent from 2020-30, adding about 2,900 jobs.  Thus, we can expect that marine mechanics will continue to stay in demand.