Shipbuilding Technician Careers

How to become Shipbuilding Technician

What does a Shipbuilding Technician do?

Shipbuilding technicians build, convert, repair and service ships and offshore platforms.

They are involved with all the mechanical and electrical aspects of work being done to vessels or equipment intended to be installed. This includes main engines, electrical generators and a variety of mechanical equipment used in modern ships.

Technicians are responsible for the accuracy of all the work carried out on board. In the case of new ships they must ensure that everything works efficiently before handing a vessel over to its new owners. This may involve travelling at sea on commissioning trials.

What's the working environment like working as a Shipbuilding Technician?

Shipbuilding technicians normally work a 37.5-hour week with extra payment for overtime or shift working. Performance related bonus payments may be involved to ensure that deadlines are met.

The working environment varies. They may work in a comfortable office either inland or at the port. Alternatively work may be outside or at sea installing equipment in all weathers and conditions. Conditions can be dirty, dark, oily and cold when working in a ship’s hull.

What does it take to become a Shipbuilding Technician?

As a shipbuilding technician you would need to be:

  • a good team worker
  • able to find practical solutions to problems
  • computer literate and have some knowledge of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Manufacturing (CAM)
  • conversant with plans and drawings
  • able to communicate clearly and precisely
  • interested in science and technology
  • willing to travel.

Shipbuilding Technician Career Opportunities

Shipbuilding Technicians are employed in:

  • civilian or naval shipyards
  • boatyards or marinas; constructing, servicing or repairing smaller vessels
  • in a shore-based marine engineering companies, providing a service to shipbuilders
  • private companies, as an inspector, a consultant or surveyor
  • the Royal or Merchant Navy or the Ministry of Defence.
Marine engineering offers a career both at home and overseas to people with a wide range of interests and abilities. Much of the work is very practical with students and trainees being encouraged to gain experience in a working environment as early as possible.

Opportunities exist at sea where training is provided by the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy and entry is open to school-leavers. Onshore opportunities exist in such subjects as maritime systems technology, ship science or single discipline courses in mechanical engineering.

Worldwide travel is involved in many maritime engineering careers and there are numerous offshore locations such as the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Shipbuilding Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Engineering and Marine Training Authority (EMTA) *
EMTA House
14 Upton Road
0800 282167

British Marine Industries Federation
Marine House
Thorpe Lea Road
TW20 8BF
Tel: 01784 223630

The Institute of Marine Engineers
80 Coleman Street
Tel: 020 7382 2600

Merchant Navy Training Board
Carthusian Court
12 Carthusian Street
Tel: 020 7417 8400

Engineering Training Council NI
20-24 York Street
BT15 1AQ
Tel: 028 9032 9878

National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some will continue operating for several months. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

From March 2002, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills began licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website:

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