Boat or Ship Builder

Job Profile Image

Boat builders build, assemble and repair a wide range of smaller vessels such as power boats, lifeboats, canal boats and yachts, using materials such as wood and fibreglass.

Ship builders build, assemble and repair large vessels such as warships, submarines, ferries, cruise ships and tankers, using materials such as steel and other metals. You would usually specialise in a particular area, such as electrics, pipe work, steel work or welding.

The Work

You could be:


The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:

A Modern Apprentice may start on the National Minimum Wage (NMW). At present the apprentice rate, for those aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship, is £4.81 an hour (1 April 2022). Some employers may pay their apprentices more.

Experienced boat or ship builders normally earn around £25,000 to £35,000 a year. Senior boat builders, or those working on luxury vessels, may earn more.


Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

In boat building, most jobs are with small boatyards around the UK coast, in fishing ports or in seaside resorts with marinas for leisure craft. This type of work is mainly concentrated in the South of England. Ship building takes place in a number of places in the UK, including the Clyde and Rosyth. BAE Systems and Babcock are two large companies that offer apprenticeships in different areas of ship building.

What Does it Take?

You need to be:

You need to have:


Getting On


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The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

British Marine Federation
Tel: 01784 473377
Twitter: @britishmarine

Enginuity (formerly SEMTA)
Tel: 0845 643 9001
Twitter: @Enginuity_Org

Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST)
Tel: 020 7382 2600
Twitter: @IMarEST

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Career Area


Career Sectors

Aeronautical Engineering

Chemical and Materials Engineering

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Engineering General

Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (including Fabrication and Welding)

Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

Offshore and Energy