Boat builder

shipbuilder marine craftsperson

Career outlook for boat builder

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would do repairs and maintenance on boats and ships to keep them safe and seaworthy. You’d work on re-fitting and converting vessels. You could also be involved in building new boats and ships.

You could be involved in anything from building hulls for sea-going vessels to restoring the fixtures and fittings on traditional canal narrowboats. You’d learn traditional boatbuilding skills as well as modern engineering methods.

You would use all sorts of skills such as:

  • Carpentry
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Welding
  • Painting

You’d also use more traditional maritime craft skills like rigging and sail making. You would work with materials ranging from wood and steel plate, to glass- or fibre-reinforced plastics.

If you work on smaller marine craft, you would:

  • Mark out construction materials using engineering design templates
  • Weld, cut and shape parts or sections
  • Assemble boat sections and pipework
  • Install engines
  • ‘Fit out' the vessel with furnishings, navigation and communications equipment, heating and lighting and, if required, rigging

In a dockyard or shipyard, you would be more likely to work on larger ships, tankers, and oil and gas platforms for offshore sites.

Working conditions


You would work between 37 and 40 hours a week. Urgent repair work may mean you have to work weekends or shifts, including nights.


Some shipbuilding and boat-building can be done under cover in large indoor sheds, but most of the work would be outside in all weathers. Your working conditions could be cramped and dirty at times, and some jobs may involve working at heights.

UK employment status





Self employed


Create a qualification route

We've found some examples of the qualifications that could help you get this job.

Discover my route

Search course options

Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.

Find courses

Search job opportunities

If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.

Find a job

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Verbal communication
  • Creative
  • Designing
  • Working with numbers
  • Observation
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Implementing ideas
  • Managing resources
  • Time management

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


You would need an Modern Apprenticeship leading to a relevant Scottish Vocational Qualifications in a Construction or Engineering Construction subject such as:

  • Carpentry & joinery
  • Electrical work
  • Plumbing
  • Welding (SVQ level 2/3).  

Some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5 to enter an apprenticeship. You will have to pass an entrance test as part of the interview process.

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by many courses and employers)
  • Science subjects (required by many courses and employers) 
  • English
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show understanding of the industry and craft skills such as:

  • Skills for Work Construction Crafts (SCQF level 4/5)
  • Engineering Skills (SCFQ level 4)
  • Maritime Skills (SCFQ level 5)