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Boat builder Marine craftsperson, shipwright

Boat builders carry out boat repairs and maintenance, refits and conversions, and build vessels from scratch.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £16,500 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll find it useful to have some GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, in subjects like:

  • English
  • maths
  • design

Qualifications in marine engineering or experience in welding, joinery or plumbing may be useful when looking for work.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent practical and maths skills
  • the ability to understand technical plans and drawings
  • computer-aided design (CAD) skills in some areas

3. What you'll do

Your work could range from building hulls for sea-going vessels to restoring the fixtures and fittings on traditional narrowboats.

What you'll do depends largely on your location. In a boatyard you'll usually work in boat-building, repair and maintenance on smaller craft.

You'll use carpentry, electrical, plumbing, welding and painting skills, as well as more traditional maritime craft skills like rigging and sailmaking. You'll work with materials ranging from wood and steel to reinforced resins.

4. Salary

Starter: £16,500 to £18,000

Experienced: £22,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000 or more

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

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

Some boat building is done under cover in large indoor sheds, but much of the work may be outside in all weathers.

The job is physically demanding and may involve working at height.

6. Career path and progression

With experience and qualifications, you could work your way up to technician level. You could also 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.

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Last updated: 18 August 2017