Manufacturing & Production

Related Jobs or Working with these Jobs


Practical or MechanicalSkill Level 2


Shipwrights or Boat builders construct, fit-out and repair marine vessels - from small pleasure and recreation craft e.g. jet skis through to larger commercial and naval vessels. These vessels are built from a range of materials including metal, wood, aluminium, fibreglass, plastic, composites or ferro cement (reinforced cement or concrete). Boat builders work on all aspects of building new marine Future Growth Static vessels - from drafting the initial design; building the frame, hull, deck and cabins, installing engines and furnishings, and painting and finishing the completed vessel. They may also carry out repairs. These workers are often responsible for preparing slipway and building cradles to support vessels during construction, transportation, repair and launching. They may also supervise launching and slipping procedures, and conduct tests to ensure that any launched vessels are operating properly.

ANZSCO description: 399112: Builds, repairs and modifies boats (registration or licensing may be required).

Alternative names: Boat Builder, Shipwright

Specialisations: Composite Boat Builder, Rigger (Boat), Sparmaker, Wooden Boat Builder, Yacht Builder

Knowledge, skills and attributes

Boat builders need:

  • to enjoy practical and manual tasks, to be good at technical activities
  • to be comfortable working at heights and in confined spaces
  • a reasonable level of fitness
  • manual dexterity and a good sense of balance
  • an organised and methodical approach, the ability to multi-task.

Duties and Tasks

Shipwrights may perform the following tasks: Boat Restoration

  • prepare preliminary sketches of structural parts and sections of vessels
  • produce templates and patterns from full-size detail drawings
  • fit out internal and external components of vessels
  • position sections accurately prior to permanent fastening
  • prepare slipways and construct cradles used to support ships during construction, transportation, launching and slipping
  • supervise launching and slipping procedures
  • carry out repairs.


Working conditions

Shipwrights work on the waterfront in shipyards, in the repair sections of ports or in small boat yards and marinas.

Boat builders often work indoors in workshops or factories; however repair work is also carried out in boat yards, at marinas and other waterfront locations. Workshops and factories can be noisy, dusty environments and some of the building materials used can cause skin irritation or may release noxious fumes - although these areas should be well ventilated. Depending on the size of a vessel and the work being carried out, boat builders may need to work at heights, either on ladders or scaffolding. The inside of some vessels may also be quite confined. Most boat builders work regular business hours, although evening and weekend work may sometimes be necessary to meet deadlines. In Australia the majority of boat builders are employed by construction firms, the Australian Defence Force, leisure craft building companies, as surveyors and in firms engaged in building and operating marinas. Self-employment opportunities also exist.

Tools and technologies

Yacht RepairBoat builders may work with a range of building materials including, wood, steel, aluminium, fibreglass, plastic and/or composites. The specific tools and materials used for joining and finishing will vary, depending on the type of building materials being used and may include saws, drills, sanders, welding equipment, resins, paints and glues. Safety equipment may also be required e.g. overalls, earmuffs, goggles and gloves. Boat builders will commonly use computers and computer-aided design (CAD) software in the early stages of design.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a boat builder you usually need to complete an apprenticeship. The boat repairer/builder, boat builder and repairer (moulding and fibreglass), or boat builder and repairer (wooden boats) apprenticeships usually take 48 months to complete and are available as school-based apprenticeships.

Did You Know?

H.M.S. Sirius, the Flagship of the First Fleet, was once a Baltic Trader?


"The ship was built in 1780/1 as a baltic trader at Rotherhithe, a ship building establishment on the Thames near the Deptford shipyards. She was named Berwick and was used privately to bring back to the shipyards materials necessary for the expansion of the British Navy.

HMS Sirius

Orders came through in October 1786 for the Berwick to be outfitted for foreign service and she was duly commissioned as HMS Sirius, a 6th Rate ship of the Line.
Her status had now changed from armed storeship to armed escort requiring changes to the type and number of guns she carried.

In 1786 the holds were cleared and 28 ½ tons of iron was replaced, followed by 70 tons of flint pebbles from the Thames and 4 ½ tons of coal. Provision barrels were stored in this level of pebbles and then another 20 tons of pebbles were loaded. Although this may appear to be haphazard loading, it can be seen that the last layer of pebbles provided a stable platform for the next layer of goods.

Many other goods such as armaments, anchors, nautical instruments, replacement sails, hawsers, ammunition, carpenters and blacksmiths tools, lighting lamps and surgeons instruments with hundreds of other types of equipment had to be stored. Food such as meat, bread, oatmeal, peas, butter, cheese, beer, wine, spirits and, of course, water and water purifiers were also stored. The amount of money spent on equipping the Sirius for the voyage was 2,572 English Pounds for hull, masts and yards. Furniture and stores cost a further 4,500 English Pounds."

(Source: Norfolk Island Museum - HMS Sirius, flagship of the First Fleet, A World of Maritime Archaeology)


Leather Goods Maker


Food Process Worker

Abattoir Worker

Clothing Patternmaker


Textile Designer



Fashion Designer



Fabrication Engineering Tradesperson

Tree Faller

Chemical Engineer

Quality Assurance Inspector


Arts & Crafts Professional






Naval Marine Architect

Prosthetist Orthotist

Biomedical Engineer


Toy Maker

Surfboard Repair Technician

Leather Goods Maker


Food Process Worker

Abattoir Worker

Clothing Patternmaker