Boat Builder

Job Description:

Boat builders build, repair and refit marine craft from small sailing boats to large sea-going vessels.

Job Category:
Automotive & Aviation

What you will do:

Depending on the job, you’ll:

  • plan your work in line with design instructions
  • use tools to cut and shape boat parts and sections
  • join sections together using welding equipment or resins
  • service and repair engines
  • refit vessels, for example with new electrics or plumbing
  • install navigation and communications equipment
  • apply finishes using varnishes and paints
  • carry out safety and quality checks


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of computer operating systems hardware and software
  • knowledge of physics & maths
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Boat Builder, specific subjects are not typically required. However, having a strong educational foundation in certain subjects can be beneficial for developing the skills and knowledge necessary for this trade.

Boat builders are skilled craftsmen who construct and repair boats and watercraft. While specific subjects are not mandatory, here are some subjects and skills that can be helpful:

  1. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for measuring and cutting materials accurately, calculating dimensions, and estimating materials needed for boat construction.
  2. Design and Technology (Woodworking or Construction Focus): Courses related to design and technology can provide hands-on experience with tools and materials used in boat building.
  3. Physics (optional): A basic understanding of physics principles can be helpful when working with watercraft design and stability.
  4. English Language: Effective communication skills are essential for understanding project plans, instructions, and documentation.
  5. Art and Design (optional): Courses in art and design can help develop an understanding of aesthetics and design principles, which can be relevant when crafting boat details.
  6. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using computer software for design, drafting, and project planning can be beneficial.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You could take a college course in marine crafts. Some colleges offer introductory courses so you can see if it’s the right choice for you.

The following T Levels may also be useful for this role:

  • T Level in Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control
  • T level in Maintenance, Installation and Repair

You could get into this job by doing a boatbuilder advanced apprenticeship.

This will usually take 4 years to complete. You’ll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider.

Direct Application
You can apply directly if you’ve got relevant experience. Qualifications or experience in joinery, furniture making, engineering, welding, restoration or plumbing can help. It may also help if you’ve worked with boats or at sea before.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 45 to 47 hours a week, occasionally including evenings, weekends, or holidays.

You could work in a workshop, at a marina or at a shipyard.

Your working environment may be physically demanding, at height and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience and qualifications, you could become a marine engineer.

You could also move into boat design, work as an assistant to a naval architect or specialise in maritime equipment sales and support.

You could use your skills to transfer to other branches of engineering or into construction.