Boat maintenance and repair programs prepare people to fix and maintain boats and their mechanical systems. Students learn to work on outboard and inboard engines, propellers, and steering devices. They also learn how to adjust sails, hulls, and other moving parts.
How's this for romantic: the invention of a motorized boat happened all due to true love. A young engineer and mechanic, Ole Evinrude, rowed a boat five miles in hot summer weather to get his fiancé some ice cream. This was in 1906, when engineers were adding motors to cars. Ole realized (probably as he sweat through his shirt and thought unromantic thoughts) that boats could use an engine too. Soon after, the outboard engine was born.
Since then, many types of engines and boats have been made. Some are strictly motorized, while others employ sails. No matter the type of boat, they are bound to need care and fixing from time to time.
Boat maintenance and repair programs are a great way to become a trusted boat or marine technician. A handful of two-year technical schools offer certificate and associate programs in this field. Depending on how advanced you would like your skills to be, both are good choices, since many employers look for applicants who have formal training. Typically, you'll gain additional skills on the job.
Boat maintenance and repair programs usually begin with course work that introduces you to how boats are designed, how they function, and how they are maintained. After that, you study the individual systems that make up the boat or ship. You study outboard and inboard engines, drive train systems, and electrical wiring. You learn how to provide proper maintenance as well as to repair and overhaul them. You also study how to properly operate and pilot a boat.
In addition, you study wood and fiberglass framing and construction. There are also courses in sail boat rigging and diesel engines. While these two courses teach you about very different technology, it's important to note their importance. Boats and ships are increasingly complex, so your course work will reflect this. You'll also get plenty of hands-on training, where you work on actual engines and boats.
Typically, your studies last between one and two years, depending on if you get a certificate or an associate degree. Several schools offer programs in boat maintenance and repair. They may be part of larger collision repair programs or programs in marine technology.