September 18 - 24, 2022: Issue 555

Be The Boss: I Want To Be A Marine Electrician

If you love being around the water and tinkering with machines then becoming a Marine Electrician may suit you. Marine electricians are important to the upkeep and safety of marine vessels. They can be involved in the design and building of new ships, or spend the majority of their time repairing existing ones. Becoming a marine electrician requires the attendance and completion of a maritime academy, as well as a hands-on apprenticeship. In this article, we discuss the requirements of becoming a marine electrician and how you can develop the necessary skills to do well as one.

A marine electrician is a person with electrical training who specifically works on boats and ships. Marine electricians may work with all types of marine equipment, including yachts, cruise liners or even runabouts. They will generally spend the majority of their time working on boats. They may also work on-call and travel to boats at sea. Other marine electricians may work in a shipyard where they prepare or maintain ships.

Marine electricians are specialised in all electrical components of the ship, including troubleshooting, repairing, improving and building. Some marine electricians may also take on a supervisory role, where they lead a team of other marine electricians.

Marine electricians maintain the electrical wiring and systems on boats. They may have the following duties:
  • Troubleshoot wiring and other electrical systems on marine equipment and make repairs
  • Test low and high-voltage circuit systems for safety
  • Work on power generators or other alternative sources of energy, like solar or wind power
  • Wire and test the alarm and communication systems
  • Monitor for potential electrical voltage threats
  • Design and update bonding systems to protect the ship against weather elements
  • Protect the boat's equipment using drip loops and heat shrinks
  • Interpret and write technical reports and estimate repair costs
  • Install wiring and electrical equipment when building new ships
  • Install and configure generators
  • Test marine electrical equipment like voltmeters and oscilloscopes for efficiency
Becoming a marine electrician requires that you complete certain training and education. You can become a marine electrician with the following steps:

1. Complete a high school Certificate
Because attendance in a maritime academy is a requirement, you will first need to complete high school. Taking classes in computers, physics, mathematics and physics can help you prepare for this.

2. Attend and complete a maritime academy program or Navy Program
This vocational program will specifically prepare you for marine work. During your training, you can expect to take classes like electrical installation and maintenance following protocol. You will also have hands-on experience with electrical tools and equipment, like soldering irons and multimeters. Some academic programs will also offer field training, which may require time spent at sea. Some people may also choose to get a bachelor's degree, rather than attend an associate's-level vocational program.

The Royal Australian Navy states:
Be a tradie in the Navy working as a Marine Technician responsible for operating, maintaining, and monitoring engineering systems and equipment, onboard ships or submarines and ashore. 

Whether you already have a trade, you're an apprentice, or you have no experience at all, we're hiring. You’ll be paid from day one to gain all the skills needed with extensive on-the-job trade training. You may also be able to use your existing qualifications and be eligible for recognition of prior learning. 

Your duties include, but aren’t limited to maintaining:
  • Electrical power generation and distribution
  • The ship's boats engine and steering systems
  • Propulsion systems (gas turbines, diesel and electrical engines, gear boxes, propellers, thrusters, and positioning systems) 
  • Electrical systems (alternators, batteries, charging systems, electrical switchboards, and corrosion protection systems)
  • Auxiliary engineering systems (air-conditioning, refrigeration, generators, air compressor systems, stabilisers, winches, and cranes) 
  • Hull structures and fittings
You’ll enjoy a competitive salary package, career stability, opportunities for continuous progression, and an adventurous lifestyle – all while making a difference to Australia. 

  • Free medical and dental
  • Competitive salary package
  • Incremental salary increases as you progress through training and ranks
  • 16.4% superannuation
  • Job security
  • Career progression and development
  • Good work/life balance
  • Travel opportunities
  • Excellent social and fitness facilities
  • Subsidised housing
  • Balance of shore and sea postings
  • Great chef made meals at sea 
  • Variety of allowances
Submariner:  There is also the option to specialise as a Marine Technician Submariner and be a part of the most exclusive and stable workforce in Australia. Your role will be to operate, repair and conduct maintenance on the submarine’s machinery, engines, power, and ventilation systems to ensure the vessel runs at optimum capacity, working at sea and ashore.  

Salary: Upon completion of your initial military and employment training, you’ll enjoy a salary package starting from $73,253 for surface fleet and $85,861 for submariners. 
Apply Now:  Apply today or request more information by emailing
For this role, you must be over 17 at time of enlistment, an Australian Citizen and have passed Year 10 English, Maths and Science.

Visit the links below for the full position descriptions: 
The Australian Defence Force is an equal opportunity employer. This advertisement is to ensure women are aware of the rewarding and fulfilling careers available in the Navy, Army and Air Force. Females are encouraged to apply, however all roles are open for Australian men and women to apply.

3. Consider working toward certifications
Most employers require marine electrician candidates to have certain certifications, including an Australian Electrical Trade Certificate. Getting work in a local marina can help as well. This will give you experience in Ship repair / the marine industry.

Some people may find employment with the company in which they completed their apprenticeship. But, once you have completed all educational and training requirements, you can begin applying for positions. Update your resume with your most recent educational achievements and certifications. Create a new cover letter for each position.

In some cases, it is also possible to become a marine electrician by going through the required steps to become an electrician and then taking on an apprenticeship in a marine setting. But, this process is less common.

Skills for a marine electrician
Certain soft and hard skills are useful when working as a marine electrician:
  • Technical: Working as a marine electrician involves a lot of technical work. You will need to troubleshoot the electrical system, rewire systems and install equipment in the ship.
  • Mechanical: Good mechanical skills are also useful as you will use certain tools and machinery to install and repair systems. A basic understanding of mechanics can be helpful.
  • Problem-solving: A big part of the job of a marine electrician is identifying electrical problems and repairing them. This involves good troubleshooting skills and the ability to quickly come up with a solution.
  • Project management: Marine electricians will often manage multiple projects at one time. They may complete projects for different ships and will need to manage time and delegate tasks.
Marine electricians may also need specialized skills, which will often be learned while attending a maritime program. These are some of the specialized skills they may need:
  • Knowledge of electrical systems: A good working knowledge of electrical systems in ships is important. In addition to reading and navigating electrical blueprints, marine electricians will need to know where to find certain access points and wires.
  • Coast guard: Some marine electricians may choose to work with the U.S. government on military ships. If this is your preferred route, you may need special coast guard training.
  • Knowledge of circuit breakers, transformers and high-voltage control panels: Working as a marine electrician, you are likely to work with each of these things. An apprenticeship can be a good way to learn these areas in-depth.
  • Knowledge of certain safety protocols: Up-to-date safety protocols are needed as marine electricians often work on electrical systems near water. Knowledge of emergency protocols is needed.
The career outlook for marine electricians, according to, is expected to grow by one percent by the year 2029. They estimate that many of the new jobs will be in building new ships and boats for the military. They also believe that with a shift toward environmental-friendly practices, more marine electricians will be needed to help complete offshore wind energy projects.

Information courtesy Australian Government Apprenticeships Guide (Your Career), TAFE NSW, Australian Open Colleges,  Australian Careers HQ and The Good Universities Guide, Australia.

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