A marine electrician is a technician who repairs, installs, and maintains the electrical systems, wiring, fixtures, and marine equipment on boats, yachts, and ships.
Marine electricians can work on docked ships or boats at sea. You'll be employed by a government agency, the military, or any organization that offers maintenance, installation, and repair services to people who own a boat or yacht. Find a marine mechanic program near you.
Marine Electrician Certification Programs
Marine electrician certification and training programs are not usually offered by universities; they're typically only available at specialized trade schools, seamanship schools, and seamanship organizations.
That being said, there are a few select industry-standard associations that offer specialized certifications for those hoping to become a marine electrician.
Before you apply to enroll in a marine electrician program, you'll have to obtain an FCC General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL). This license is required by law; you can't be accepted into a marine electrician program without it. You must obtain it in order to use the radio transmitter on board a boat or ship.
Here is a breakdown of some of the most popular marine electrician programs:
- The National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) Basic Marine Electronics Installer Program (MEI): This is a program that will serve as an entry point to secure a basic-level job on a boat, yacht, or ship.
- The NMEA Certified Marine Electronics Technician (CMET) Certification Program: This is a higher-level program that will prepare students to become a marine electrician or technician.
- The NMEA Advanced Marine Electronics Installer Program: This is the highest-level program that NMEA offers, and requires that students either have passed the MEI (basic) program or have at least 3 years of experience working in a shipyard.
- The Marine Electrician Certification from the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC): This is a high-level program, and requires that students take a basic electrical program first. Find an electrical school near you.
There are also programs offered by certain trade schools and community colleges. For example, Broward College offers a marine electrician technical program that students can take to earn a certification.
About Marine Electrical Courses
When you take marine electrical courses, you will learn:
- the basics of electrical theory
- electrical installation
- system design
- all about maintenance coding protocol
You'll also learn all about circuitry and circuit protection, load testing, and battery equalization, as well as how to perform basic troubleshooting tasks.
You'll also get trained in how to use:
- a soldering iron
Getting A Job As A Marine Electrician
After earning your certification from an accredited school or organization, you should try to find either an apprenticeship or entry-level job at a shipyard.
A pre-apprenticeship program may also be available through a community college or another organization near you. After gaining enough experience through an apprenticeship or an employer, you can choose to either apply for a higher-level job or take one of the advanced marine electrician programs listed above. These programs will qualify you to work on the more complicated electrical systems and help you get more advanced jobs within the field.
In 2019, electricians in the ship and boat building industry averaged $54,570 (bls.gov).
Find a marine mechanic program near you.