Marine diesel mechanics troubleshoot and repair diesel-powered engines on various marine vessels, whether it is for a private client or for the state government.
In order to obtain a higher paying salary as a marine diesel mechanic, individuals need to first earn a degree and complete the necessary on-the-job training.
Marine diesel mechanics restore the electrical and engine systems of diesel-powered vessels, mainly working on the marina or dock.
Diesel mechanics can work on small private crafts or on large marine vessels like commercial fishing boats. States with the highest concentration of marine diesel mechanics are generally near oceanic ports and larger bodies of water.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), states that hire the greatest number of workers in this field include:
- Florida – 3,590 employed – $34,770 annual mean wage
- New York – 1,080 employed – $39,080 annual mean wage
- Texas – 920 employed – $38,630 annual mean wage
- Maryland – 810 employed – $46,420 annual mean wage
- Michigan – 730 employed – $33,780 annual mean wage
Individuals who wish to enter this line of work must have decent manual dexterity, problem-solving, and technical skills, especially when the tasks performed require the mechanic to be in excellent physical condition.
Job duties for the marine diesel mechanic may include:
- Steering device assembly
- Intake and plumbing repair
- Fuel and engine system repair
- Propeller replacement
- Hydraulic monitoring
- Performance documentation
- Mechanical flushing and cleaning
- AC and electrical system maintenance
Marine Diesel Mechanic Salary
The salary for marine diesel mechanics varies according to their educational training, prior work experience, and company location.
Because of an increasing intricacy of diesel-powered motors, most employers hire individuals who have had at least two years of educational training, which prepares the mechanic for the various job duties that come with being a marine mechanic. According to PayScale, the annual median salary for marine diesel mechanics is approximately $41,015. Popular industries hiring marine mechanics include:
- Shipyard and Marine Repair Services – $13.05 to $25.44 per hour
- Marinas – $11.43 to $23.73 per hour
- Boat Dealers – $11.15 to $22.27 per hour
- Marine Service Stations – $10.02 to $20.49 per hour
A 2012 report issued by the BLS states that mechanics in the lowest 10 percent of paid wages earn around $21,530, and those in the highest 10 percent of paid wages earn about $56,370, with the top paying states for marine diesel mechanics including:
- Alaska – $48,570 annual mean wage
- New Jersey – $47,670 annual mean wage
- Connecticut – $47,160 annual mean wage
- Maryland – $46,420 annual mean wage
- Massachusetts – $45,900 annual mean wage
Commission and Bonuses
Depending on the position the mechanic is hired on for, marine diesel mechanics may work on a commission basis, earning compensation through the successful accomplishment of tasks or through a dollar amount agreed upon by the customer for the services rendered.
Mechanics can earn an average annual commission of $600 and $6,500 as well as between $225 and $2,000 in yearly bonuses.
From working on the docks to repairing government vessels, marine diesel mechanics have a wide variety of career opportunities to choose from.
The BLS reports an expected employment increase of 21 percent in the marine mechanic sector by 2020, providing an additional 4,300 job opportunities for those contemplating a career in this field. Industries that have the highest employment levels in this occupation include:
- Motor Vehicle Dealers – 7,980 jobs
- Amusement and Recreation Industries – 4,300 jobs
- Ship Building – 660 jobs
- Water Transportation Support Activities – 470 jobs
With the salary of a marine diesel mechanic ranging from $21,530 to $56,370, finding a high-salaried position at an upstanding mechanic company can be a difficult task.
Individuals who are seeking a higher paying position as a marine diesel mechanic need to enroll in an accredited program in order to obtain the necessary classroom education and hands-on training, preparing them with the skills and training they need to succeed in this line of work.