Boat mechanics work on the small engines -- either inboard or outboard -- that power motorboats. These may range from small motors on the back of a fishing boat to the large diesel motors that power speedboats. Boat mechanics can be found at marina-based repair shops, and also normally possess the technical know-how to work on propellers, steering mechanisms and more.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 18,380 motorboat mechanics and service technicians were employed nationwide as of May 2012. These boat mechanics earned an average annual wage of $37,140, the bureau said. The best-paid 25 percent could earn $45,390 a year or more, with the top 10 percent making $56,370 or more. The lowest-paid quarter earned $27,800 or less per year, with the bottom 10 percent making $21,530 or lower.
The largest employer of boat mechanics was the boat dealership industry, according to the bureau, with 7,980 workers earning an average of $36,010 a year. The recreation industry was the second-largest employer, with 4,300 mechanics averaging $37,560 a year, and the personal goods maintenance industry was third, with 4,080 mechanics averaging $37,330 annually. The best-paying industry for boat mechanics was wholesale machinery and equipment, where they averaged $53,370 a year in salary. Coastal water transportation was second in pay, with an average of $48,080, and inland water transportation was third, averaging $45,180.
Florida was by far the state with the largest number of boat mechanics, as 3,590 earned an average of $34,770 a year. New York ranked second, with 1,080 mechanics making $39,080 on average, and Texas ranked third, with 920 mechanics averaging $38,360. The best-paying state for boat mechanics was Alaska, where they earned an average of $48,570 a year. The top metro area in terms of employment was the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area, where 630 mechanics earned an average of $30,650. The Tampa, Florida, area ranked second, with 470 mechanics averaging $32,310, and the Baltimore, Maryland, area was third, with 460 mechanics earning $48,180 on average. The best-paying metro region was the Oakland, California, area, at $58,410 a year in average pay.
The bureau reports that boat mechanics are expected to see 21 percent job growth through 2020, faster than the 14 percent overall average for all occupations and in line with the 21 percent estimate for all small-engine mechanics. Although the retail industry has consolidated, the bureau says, the increased complexity of boat engines should provide opportunities for those in the profession.
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