Boat builder

Alternative titles for this job include Marine craftsperson, shipwright

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

Average salary (a year)

£16,000 Starter


£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

45 to 47 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays as customers demand

How to become a Boat builder

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship


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

More information


You could get into this job by doing a boat builder 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.

Once you have completed the apprenticeship, you'll be recognised by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) at ‘Engineering Technician’ level.

Entry requirements

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

More information

Career tips

Qualifications or experience in joinery, welding or plumbing can help.

Professional and industry bodies

You may find it useful to join organisations like the The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and British Marine, for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a boatbuilder from The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and British Marine.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to read English
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work in a workshop 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 and 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.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Boatbuilder

  • Wage : £220.00 Weekly
  • Location: Arundel BN18 0UZ

Boatbuilding Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £168.00 Weekly
  • Location: Norwich NR12 8RX

Courses In England

SQA HNC Marine Engineering

  • Provider: Tyne Coast College T/A South Tyneside College And Tyne Metropolitan College
  • Start date: 28 January 2019
  • Location: South Shields

Marine Engineering - Foundation Degree

  • Start date: 10 September 2019
  • Location: Fleetwood

Get help using this service

Call 08000 150 950

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

More ways to contact us

Is this page useful?

Yes No