What Does a Marine Electrician Do?

On board boats and ships, a marine electrician installs, maintains, and repairs electrical systems and equipment. Depending on the types of ships an electrician works on, special certifications may be required for employment. In addition to working on ships in port, marine electricians can also work on boats in dry dock or at sea if they need emergency repairs. The military, government agencies, shipbuilders, and maintenance companies that provide support services for boats and ships are all possible employers.

Simple electrical systems may fall under the purview of a marine electrician, while more advanced technology may necessitate the services of an engineer. A skilled electrician, who may work alongside other ship fitters when a boat is fitted out for the first time in the shipyard, can handle system installation of any complexity. Wiring, batteries, engines, and electrical equipment such as navigation and radio supplies are all installed electricians.

Regular maintenance is required to keep a system in good working order once it has been completed and installed. Marine electricians can work on overhauls, which are when ships are taken out of service for repairs, as well as smaller-scale routine maintenance to keep electrical systems running smoothly. The marine electrician can run diagnostics and make repairs if there are issues with the electrical system. It may also be necessary to replace aging equipment, such as navigation systems that have become obsolete.

Because a marine electrician may be required to work belowdecks and in crawl spaces, working conditions can be cramped. They can also be hot and dirty, particularly when a ship is in the middle of a repair. In the case of a large craft that requires constant maintenance and repairs to function, electricians may be assigned to the ship. They can also be called in to perform maintenance and repairs. Some may specialize in specific systems or ship types, such as private yachts and fishing boats, which have specific electrical requirements.

On-the-job and trade school training may be available to become a marine electrician. In some areas, certification as an electrician is required, which entails passing an exam to demonstrate knowledge of the subject. Because special procedures and protocols may be in use, military electricians may be trained within the military. This is especially true when it comes to classified electrical systems like those found on nuclear submarines and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and destroyers.