What is a Marine Electrician?
Working as an electrician can be a rewarding and challenging career. But did you realize that there are many areas of specialty that provide even more job opportunities for qualified electricians? If you are interested in an electrical trade and you enjoy boats and have thought about working in the maritime industry, consider a career as a marine electrician.
The Duties of Marine Electrician
A marine electrician is essentially an electrician, with the
What makes a marine electrician a specialist is that this work is done on boats and ships, from the smallest vessels to massive cruise ships and tankers. They install wiring, inspect electrical components, make repairs and upgrades, and work on the equipment on boats that use electricity, like motors, pumps and navigation systems.
Work Environment and Job Opportunities
The work of a marine electrician may be basically the same as other electricians, but the work environment can be drastically different. These electricians work on boats and ships, and in these settings the wiring and electrical systems are often in hard-to-reach places. This means it can be a very physical job, necessitating awkward and cramped positions and squeezing into tight spots.
Job opportunities are less varied than for other electricians because this is much more specific work. However, there are generally two options: you may spend most of your time working on a ship at sea or you may work in a shipyard on helping to build, maintain or repair ships in dry dock.
The latter, working in a shipyard, comes with more regular hours. Working on board a ship that is out to sea may require being on call at all times. If something goes wrong, even if you are on a break or sleeping, you will need to jump into action. This kind of work also requires being gone from home for long periods of time and comes with all the risks of working at sea, from sinking and collisions to on-board accidents like cargo injuries, fires or electrocution.
Training and Education
There are a couple of options for how to become a marine electrician. One is to start on the regular path of becoming an electrician, by enrolling in an apprenticeship. This will provide all the requirements needed to become a licensed commercial or residential electrician. To specialize in marine work you will need to get additional training, usually through another apprenticeship with a marine electrician.
Some schools have maritime programs that will specifically train you to work on ships, and many include specialties in marine electrical work. This, combined with an appropriate apprenticeship, is another way to prepare for a career as a marine electrician. Many employers in the maritime industry prefer to hire individuals with American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) certification. The ABYC offers a specific certification for marine electrical workers.
Salary and Job Outlook for a Marine Electrician
The current outlook for all electricians is positive, and you can expect to see growth in this field continue. While residential and commercial electricians make
For a career as an electrician that goes beyond the basics and is more exciting, consider becoming a marine electrician. This is a great choice if you want to work with electrical systems but also dream of a maritime career.