Job type

Boat builder

£16k - £35k

Typical salary

45 – 47

Hours per week

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

More info

  • Hands on work repairing and refitting marine craft, from small sailing boats to large sea-going vessels.
  • Some boat building is done under cover in large indoor sheds, but much of the work may be outside in all weathers
  • Requires practical and maths skills, and the ability to understand technical plans and drawings


  • Planning your work in line with design instructions
  • Using tools to cut and shape boat parts and sections
  • Joining sections together using welding equipment or resins
  • Servicing and repairing engines
  • Refitting vessels, for example with new electrics or plumbing
  • Installing navigation and communications equipment
  • Applying finishes using varnishes and paints and carrying out safety and quality checks


As a boat builder, you could work in a workshop or at a shipyard. Your working environment may be physically demanding, at heights and outdoors in all weathers.

You'll need

Having knowledge of engineering science and technology and being good with your hands are desired skills to become a boat builder, but there are no set requirements for this role.

You could take a college course in marine crafts, like the Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Boatbuilding. Some colleges offer introductory courses so you can see if it’s the right choice for you.

You could also get into this job by doing a boat builder advanced apprenticeship which will usually take 4 years to complete. You'll do on-the-job training and spend time with a college or training provider. You'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship.

Alternatively, you can apply directly if you've got relevant experience. Qualifications or experience in joinery, engineering, welding, restoration or plumbing can help. It may also help if you've worked with boats or at sea before.

You can join The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology for professional development training.


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.