How Much Do Boat Mechanics Make in 2024?

October 25, 2021

Picture waking up to the gentle lull of ocean waves, surrounded by the vast, sparkling sea stretching to the horizon. While this may sound like the idyllic start to a day of adventure, for boat mechanics, it’s just another day at the office. 

Did you know that the national average salary for motorboat mechanics and service technicians was $48,280 per year as of May 2022, with the top 10 percent earning $71,760 per year?

Marine mechanic using orbital polisher for boat maintenance in a marina

If you’re someone who’s genuinely excited about the intricate workings of boats, ships, and submarines, then a career as a marine mechanic could be an incredibly fulfilling choice. This path not only promises a good income but also opens up numerous opportunities for career development and advancement.

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

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, while motorboat mechanics earned mean annual wages of $50,280 nationally, an average boat service technician in Rhode Island earned $54,350 per year.

However, it’s important to note that these figures can vary significantly based on location, job experience, and the specific type of marine vehicle or equipment being serviced. Salaries in this field can be influenced by various factors, including geographic demand, industry sector, and the mechanic’s skillset.

The location of employment has a substantial impact on the average salary of marine mechanics. Typically, marine mechanics working in coastal areas or near major bodies of water where boating and shipping activities are prevalent tend to earn higher salaries. For instance, states like Florida, California, and Texas often offer higher pay to marine mechanics due to their extensive coastlines and the presence of a substantial maritime industry.

Top-Paying U.S. States for Motorboat Mechanics and Service Technicians

Mechanic installing speed boat engine on aluminum boat

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, here are the top 5 states in the USA that offer excellent salaries to boat repair technicians and small engine mechanics:


Massachusetts has a robust network of ferry services that operate throughout the state. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Massachusetts secured the 18th spot in the top 20 states for its substantial economic influence on recreational boating.

In the Bay State, the recreational boating industry generates an economic impact of over $5 billion annually and provides livelihoods to a workforce of over 16,300 individuals. The average motorboat technician in the state had a yearly salary of $60,270.


Hawaii’s central Pacific location fuels a dynamic maritime sector. It heavily depends on commercial shipping to import goods, boasts a robust fishing industry, and integrates boating and water activities into its tourism sector, making it a prime destination for both residents and tourists. The average annual salary of motorboat technicians in Hawaii is $59,810.


Kentucky may not have direct access to the ocean, but it boasts a significant boating industry with numerous lakes and rivers, such as the Ohio River and Kentucky Lake.

Kentucky’s strong boating industry and recreational activities on its water bodies contribute to the demand for motorboat mechanics, resulting in competitive wages for these professionals, even in a landlocked state. The average annual salary of motorboat technicians in Kentucky is $59,030.

New Jersey

New Jersey’s major ports, including the Port of New York and New Jersey, handle diverse cargo and make the state a vital player in shipping. The state’s coastal location and numerous water bodies support a thriving boating and fishing community, drawing both enthusiasts and tourists.

Additionally, tourism relies on water-based activities to attract visitors to the state’s scenic shorelines and beaches. Opportunities for boat repair technicians and small engine mechanics can be found in coastal communities, marinas, boatyards, and repair shops throughout the state. The average annual salary of motorboat technicians in New Jersey is $58,360.


Alaska’s extensive coastline offers diverse opportunities for maritime activities, supporting both commercial and recreational boating. Ports like Anchorage and Dutch Harbor are critical for transporting goods, particularly to remote areas and industries like fishing and oil.

The state’s fishing industry is a key economic driver, known for its commercial fisheries. Alaska is also a top cruise tourism destination, with ships offering a unique experience of its natural beauty and wildlife. The average annual salary of motorboat technicians in Alaska is $57,020.

States with the Highest Concentration of Jobs for Motorboat Mechanics and Service Technicians

Technician Removing Boat Parts for Aluminum Boat Engine Repair

We’ve listed the top states in the USA that offer excellent salaries to boat repair technicians and small engine mechanics. Let’s look at the states where motorboat mechanics and service technicians have the most concentrated job opportunities:

  • Rhode Island: Rhode Island is a prime location for motorboat mechanics and service technicians, thanks to its extensive coastline and active marine industry. The BLS reports an average annual wage of $54,350 for motorboat mechanics and service technicians in Rhode Island. 
  • Alaska: Alaska’s remote communities and reliance on marine transport create a strong demand for professionals in this field. According to the BLS, the mean yearly salary for motorboat mechanics and service technicians in Alaska stands at $57,020.
  • Maine: Known for boat manufacturing and repair, Maine offers steady job opportunities in the marine sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the typical yearly income for motorboat mechanics and service technicians in Maine is $53,740.
  • Florida: Florida’s year-round boating season and water-centric lifestyle make it a top destination for these professionals. Florida’s motorboat mechanics and service technicians earn an average annual wage of $51,630.
  • Virginia: Virginia’s proximity to water bodies like the Chesapeake Bay and its robust marine industry provide various career options for motorboat mechanics and service technicians. BLS data reveals that in Virginia, motorboat mechanics and service technicians make, on average, $53,440 annually.

Motorboat Mechanic Salaries in All Other States

Although the states mentioned above have the highest salaries, each state has its unique characteristics and demands within the marine industry, so individuals looking for opportunities in this field should explore local job listings and industry associations for specific details.

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.

StateEmployment Per 1000Average Hourly WagesAnnual Mean Wages
New Hampshire190$22.90$47,630
New Jersey580$28.06$58,360
New York1,170$25.55$53,130
North Carolina930$22.03$45,820
North Dakota100$25.53$53,110
Rhode Island500$26.13$54,350
South Carolina640$19.72$41,010
South Dakota100$20.97$43,610

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

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

  • Mechanical Proficiency: A strong foundation in mechanical systems, engines, and marine technology is crucial for boat mechanics. It enables them to diagnose and repair various issues effectively.
  • Electrical Expertise: Understanding marine electrical systems is vital. This includes knowledge of wiring, circuits, and electronics commonly found on boats.
  • Problem-Solving Abilities: Boat mechanics must have excellent problem-solving skills to diagnose complex issues and develop effective solutions.
  • Technical Knowledge: Staying up-to-date with the latest marine technologies and advancements is essential to excel in this field.
  • Attention to Detail: Being meticulous in inspections and repairs ensures that boats are safe and functional.
  • Safety Awareness: Knowledge of safety protocols and practices is crucial, especially when working with heavy machinery and potentially hazardous materials.
  • Customer Service Skills: Building good relationships with clients and providing excellent customer service can lead to repeat business and higher salaries.
  • Certifications and Training: Holding certifications from organizations like the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) or the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) can enhance credibility and earning potential.

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.

Watch this video tutorial to learn the basic steps involved in boat engine alignment.

Boat Mechanic-Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of motorboat mechanics and service technicians, which includes boat mechanics, will grow by 3 percent from 2022 to 2032.

According to the latest figures from 2021, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the annual sales of boats, marine-related products, and services in the United States reached $56.7 billion, marking a 12.7 percent increase from the previous year. This surge in sales isn’t limited to new boats alone; an estimated 1.15 million pre-owned boats changed hands in 2021, reflecting a 9.2 percent growth compared to 2020. The recreational boating industry plays a vital role in the American economy, serving as a driving force behind more than 690,000 jobs and supporting 35,000 businesses across the nation.

According to BLS, there are currently 24,920 marine mechanics employed in the United States. Overall, the job outlook for boat mechanics appears to be positive, with expected growth in employment and demand for their services. Coastal regions with strong marine infrastructure are likely to have the most job opportunities for boat mechanics.

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.

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

Career Path for a Boat Mechanic

The career path for a boat mechanic typically starts with a high school diploma and may involve vocational training in marine technology. Apprenticeships under experienced technicians can provide valuable hands-on experience. Earning certifications from organizations like the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) or the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) enhances qualifications.

Entry-level employment at boat repair shops, marinas, or dealerships allows boat mechanics to gain practical experience. They continually develop their skills, keeping pace with evolving marine technologies and repair techniques. Over time, experienced mechanics may specialize, advance to supervisory roles, or even establish their own repair businesses.

Staying updated through continuing education and networking within the marine industry is crucial for long-term success. Some regions may require licensing for boat mechanics, particularly for tasks involving safety and environmental regulations.

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.

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.

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.
  • The United States Coast Guard: The United States Coast Guard employs marine mechanics to maintain and repair their fleet of boats and other watercraft.
  • Boat dealerships: Boat dealerships are a common employer for boat mechanics, as they often have service departments that require skilled mechanics to maintain and repair boats.
  • Marine repair shops: Marine repair shops are another common employer for boat mechanics, as they specialize in repairing and maintaining boats and other watercraft.
  • Other employers: Other employers of boat mechanics include marinas, boat rental companies, and boat manufacturers.


With the demand for skilled professionals and the continuous growth of the recreational boating sector, this field offers not only competitive salaries but also the satisfaction of working in a hands-on and ever-evolving environment.

If you’re considering a future in marine technology and boat mechanics, the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) offers an exceptional AS degree course that equips you with the knowledge and skills needed to embark on this exciting journey. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to advance your current career, NEIT’s program is a solid anchor for your success. Enroll in NEIT’s Marine Technology program today and become a part of the dynamic world of boat mechanics.


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



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.

How much do marine mechanics make?

The average salary of a motorboat mechanic in the U.S. is $ 50,280. Some marine mechanics also earn upwards of $65,000 annually, depending upon their work experience, skills, qualifications, and job location.