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Motorboat Mechanics

At a Glance

  • Work on portable outboard motors in a repair shop
  • Work on inboard motors at the dock or marina
  • Use a variety of tools and equipment
  • Often work fewer hours in the winter
  • Train on the job or through a formal training program

Career summary

Motorboat mechanics maintain and repair boat motors.

#No alternate titles CJ

Motorboat mechanics inspect boat motors for signs of mechanical, fuel, or electrical problems. They may use computerized testing equipment.

Motorboat mechanics make repairs after locating a problem. They may refer to service manuals for information. Some repairs and routine maintenance are simple. Other repairs require taking the engine apart using hand tools. They may repair or rework parts before putting them back in engines. Mechanics repair parts using:

Mechanics reassemble the engine after repairing or replacing faulty parts.

Motorboat mechanics adjust the carburetor mixture and timing. They make adjustments to generators and test the cooling system. They examine propellers and propeller shafts. Mechanics set starter locks and align steering and throttle controls.

Outboard motors are remounted to the boat after all repairs and adjustments have been completed. Mechanics operate boats at various speeds to make sure they are running smoothly.

Mechanics write reports after finishing repairs. This report lists the work performed on the engine and its general condition.

Motorboat mechanics service and maintain portable outboard motors in the repair shop. They work on inboard motors at the dock or marina. Inboard motors are removed from the boat only when a major overhaul is required.

Related careers

This career is part of the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to motorboat mechanics.

Common work activities

Motorboat mechanics perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, motorboat mechanics:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Motorboat mechanics frequently:

It is important for motorboat mechanics to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for motorboat mechanics to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Motorboat mechanics need to:


Reason and problem solve

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a motorboat mechanic, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Some motorboat mechanics complete a formal training program. Boat maintenance and repair programs are available at some professional-technical schools and two-year colleges. Most programs offer a combination of class instruction and hands-on practice. Programs last from one to two years. Two-year programs usually grant an associate degree. Shorter programs grant a certificate.

On-the-job training

Many motorboat mechanics learn their skills on the job from an experienced mechanic. You begin by working as a helper. As a helper, you perform routine services and make minor repairs. As you get more experience, you work on more complex tasks. During training, you learn to:

On-the-job training generally lasts at least one year.

Employers may send mechanics to training courses provided by manufacturers. Some courses take up to two weeks to complete.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to be marine engine mechanics. Training lasts nine to 24 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job and through advanced courses.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements (external link). You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required to become a trainee. If applicants have good reading, writing, and math skills, they may get work without a degree.

Employers also look for mechanical ability. A skill or hobby in auto repair can be helpful in getting a job as a trainee. Vocational training in auto mechanics or small engine repair is helpful.

Many learn their trade through informal on-the-job experience. Certification through the Equipment and Engine Training Council, which is affiliated with the Outdoor Power Equipment and Engine Service Association, may be helpful. See the Other Resources section in this description for contact information.

#Certification still offered through this organization, 3/25/08 lh. Added the EET Council here & to our database since now has own website and link from the OPEESA site, 3/12/09, cj. This info still accurate, 3/1/11, cj. Ok 2/13/12 lh. Ok 4/10/13 & 3/4/15 cj. 2/10/16 lh, 4/9/19 cj.


Employees who relate well to the public are preferred. Obtaining and studying manufacturers' technical manuals is helpful. Talk with local shop managers to assess job prospects in your area.

Costs to workers

Workers are usually required to furnish their own hand tools. The cost varies.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


The minimum wage for Washington State as of January 1, 2020 is $13.50 per hour. Some areas of the state may have a higher minimum wage.


Motorboat mechanics and service technicians (SOC 49-3051)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $14.00 $17.03 $21.86 $27.07 $32.25
Monthly $2,426 $2,951 $3,788 $4,691 $5,589
Yearly $29,110 $35,430 $45,470 $56,300 $67,090
    Bellingham Hourly $16.69 $20.84 $26.72 $29.37 $32.09
Monthly $2,892 $3,612 $4,631 $5,090 $5,561
Yearly $34,724 $43,334 $55,577 $61,106 $66,742
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $14.23 $17.17 $21.85 $26.80 $30.05
Monthly $2,466 $2,976 $3,787 $4,644 $5,208
Yearly $29,598 $35,701 $45,445 $55,741 $62,500
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $16.51 $17.70 $19.68 $26.64 $33.83
Monthly $2,861 $3,067 $3,411 $4,617 $5,863
Yearly $34,333 $36,809 $40,934 $55,412 $70,364
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $14.40 $17.61 $23.01 $29.00 $35.99
Monthly $2,496 $3,052 $3,988 $5,026 $6,237
Yearly $29,968 $36,640 $47,867 $60,322 $74,846
    Vancouver Hourly $16.85 $19.90 $22.27 $24.63 $29.14
Monthly $2,920 $3,449 $3,859 $4,268 $5,050
Yearly $35,051 $41,409 $46,327 $51,243 $60,621
United States Hourly $11.67 $15.14 $19.32 $24.89 $30.03
Monthly $2,022 $2,624 $3,348 $4,313 $5,204
Yearly $24,280 $31,490 $40,180 $51,760 $62,460

Wages vary by employer and area of the country. In the northern areas of the country, people can use their motorboats only a few months of the year. However, in the southern areas, people can use their boats year round. Thus, mechanics who live in the South are likely to have more work during the year and earn higher wages. The mechanic's level of responsibility and skill also affect wages.

Benefits vary by employer. Motorboat mechanics who work full time often receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance. However, smaller repair shops may not provide all these benefits. 

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Motorboat Mechanics (SOC 49-3051)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 1,067 4.1% 16.1% 120
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 21 4.8% 13.4% 2
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 27 11.1% 8.6% 4
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 18 -5.6% 11.9% 2
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 37 45.9% 15.2% 8
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 62 -6.5% 14.1% 5
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 306 5.6% 14.6% 35
    King County 296 0.0% 19.6% 30
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 29 13.8% 13.8% 4
    Pierce County 117 6.8% 15.2% 14
    Snohomish County 113 12.4% 12.4% 15
United States 24,900 5.6% 5.2% 2,700

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will be about average. New technology in motorboat engines will create new jobs for boat mechanics.

Most job openings are expected to be from mechanics transferring to other jobs or retiring. Job opportunities will be good for those who complete formal training in a postsecondary program.

Other resources

American Boat Builders and Repairers Association (external link)
1 Washington Street
Newport, RI 02840
Equipment & Engine Training Council (external link)
344 Oak Grove Rd
Kings Mountain, NC 28086
National Marine Manufacturers Association (external link)
231 South LaSalle Street, Suite 2050
Chicago, IL 60604
Northwest Marine Trade Association (external link)
1900 North Northlake Way, Suite 233
Seattle, WA 98103


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational cluster