Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and Profiles » Manufacturing & Production

Shipbuilding Industry Job Descriptions, Careers in the Shipbuilding Industry, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Industry, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

workers ships shipyards naval

The shipbuilding industry builds different kinds of ships for transporting goods and people and for use in the U.S. armed forces. It builds tankers, container ships, icebreakers, submarines, barges, and tugboats. It also constructs aircraft carriers, yachts, and many other kinds of ships and boats. Besides building ships, shipbuilders outfit ships and repair them. There are about twenty-four major shipyards in the United States. Most of the larger yards are located along the East, West, and Gulf coasts and on the Great Lakes. Many of the smaller shipyards that construct and repair barges, tugboats, and towboats are located on inland waterways. As of 2004 there were 144,000 workers employed in shipbuilding and repairing.

Ships are complex structures. They are the largest self-sufficient and mobile structures that are built. Many kinds of workers are employed in the shipbuilding industry. Professional workers include many kinds of engineers, designers, and technicians. Nautical architects provide the design for a ship's hull. They draw up plans for a safe ship that will move easily and economically through the water. They also plan space for cargo, living quarters, and machinery. A related group of workers, marine engineers, concentrates on designing the machinery that will run a ship. Drafters prepare detailed drawings that give exact measurements and specifications for all the ship's parts.

Once the plans have been drawn up, they must be translated into the actual parts of the ship. In some smaller shipyards, loft workers make life-sized patterns of each part of the ship to be built. They work in a huge room known as a loft. In most large shipyards, a more modern method called optical marking is used instead of lofting. In optical marking, small-scale drawings of the ship are photographed. The negatives are then projected onto steel plates in a life-sized pattern. Special automatic equipment is used to cut and burn the metal into the required shape and size. Most metal parts of a ship are made in the various shops at the shipyard. Welders join the metal parts into sections that are ready to be used in the hull of the ship.

Construction supervisors oversee much of the work involved in assembling a ship. Most workers involved in putting the ship together are skilled craft workers. The hull is assembled on a ramp, known as the ways, which is built by shipwrights, or ships' carpenters. The ways is a platform that slopes down to the edge of the water. The keel, or backbone, of the ship is laid on the ways. Crane

Workers in the shipbuilding industry not only build ships but also outfit them and repair them. In fact, most skilled craft workers in the industry are specialists in their particular trade. (© Kevin Fleming/Corbis.)

operators and riggers lift huge plates and sections into place to form the hull, which is built up and out from the keel of the ship. The sections are then fastened together temporarily. Shipfitters then check to see that each section has been put in its place correctly.

Shipfitters are one of the largest groups of workers in the shipbuilding industry. They also make patterns or molds for parts right on board the ship. Welders and other metalworkers do the final fastening of all the parts. Welding is important in shipbuilding because most ships are joined together by welding rather than by riveting. Seams and joints are made watertight by caulkers. In addition, tool and die makers, patternmakers, coremakers, pipe fitters, and boilermakers are among the many skilled workers in the shipbuilding industry.

When the structure of a ship is completed, the ship is ready to be launched. Its supports are released, and it slides down the ways into the water. The ship is then moored at an outfitting pier, where it is finished. Some large shipyards have their own shops that make the heavy machinery needed to propel and steer the ship and to provide it with internal power. In most cases, this machinery is acquired from other companies and is installed by outside machinists. These skilled workers install propelling machinery, steering gear, boilers, and other machinery. They use measuring instruments to ensure that the parts fit together correctly.

Carpenters, electricians, electronics technicians, painters, and sheet metal workers help to outfit the ship. They build kitchens, bunks, and closets and install lights, heating systems, radar equipment, and many other items. Once the ship is outfitted, it is ready to sail.

Education and Training Requirements

The education and training needed in the shipbuilding industry depends on the kind of job you want. However, a high school education and a minimum of one year's experience as an apprentice or helper are necessary for a career in skilled shipbuilding trades. Most skilled jobs require a minimum of four years' experience as an apprentice. Apprenticeship programs combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training. Most workers in the shipbuilding industry belong to unions. Both unions and employers cooperate in running apprenticeship programs.

For a professional career as a naval architect or marine engineer, interested candidates should enroll in one of the special colleges that offer a bachelor's degree in such fields. After graduation, many naval architects and marine engineers get a master's degree in their field or in business administration.

Getting the Job

The best way to get a job as a shipbuilder is to apply directly to shipyards. Local unions can give you information about getting into an apprenticeship program. Sometimes employers place want ads in newspapers or list openings with the state employment office. If you study naval architecture or marine engineering, your college can give you advice about getting a job. You may need to apply through a civil service office for a government job in shipbuilding.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Most skilled craft workers in the shipbuilding industry are specialists in their particular trade. They usually advance within their trade and get regular pay raises as they gain seniority. With enough experience, they can advance to a job as supervisor of other workers. Professional workers in the shipbuilding industry can also advance with experience. They can become the head of a project or move into an executive position in a shipbuilding company.

The job outlook in the shipbuilding industry is dependent on the level of funding for new ships commissioned by the federal government. Naval construction is projected to increase through 2014, even though jobs in the sector are expected to decline. The repair segment of the industry is anticipated to provide a stable source of employment. As the outlook improves, there should be an increased need for specialized workers, especially naval architects and marine engineers, to meet the demands for creative innovations in ship design for shipping and defense needs.

Working Conditions

Working conditions vary with the job. Professional and technical workers spend much of their time in offices. Most other workers spend their time in shipyards. Shipyard work is often noisy and dirty. Much of the work is done outdoors in all kinds of weather. Shipbuilders may have to climb high when constructing or repairing ships. There is some danger in this kind of work, but there are safety rules that decrease the chance of accidents. Shipbuilders need good health and physical strength. They usually work with heavy machinery. They need to be accurate in following blueprints and other specifications. The safety and seaworthiness of each ship depends on the skills of welders, shipfitters, and other craft workers. The basic workweek is thirty-five to forty hours, but overtime is often necessary when deadlines must be met.

Where to Go for More Information

American Society of Naval Engineers
1452 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314-3458
(703) 836-6727

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers
753 State Ave., Ste. 570
Kansas City, KS 66101
(913) 371-2640

Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
601 Pavonia Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(800) 798-2188

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings vary widely depending on the kind of work done. Those who work in dangerous, cramped, wet, or oily places often receive a higher rate, as do workers with special skills such as tool and die makers and crane operators. Salaries of professional workers generally reflect the level of experience they have within their respective field. Benefits generally include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and retirement plans.

Manufacturing Industry - Books and Related Reading for Job Descriptions and Careers [next] [back] Rubber Industry Job Descriptions, Careers in the Rubber Industry, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Industry, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

about 7 years ago

Address: Romania, Constanta,
No.64 I.C. Bratianu Str., Bl.B1,
Sc.B, Ap.23, 900326
Phone: +40 241584923
Fax: +40 241584841
Reg No: J13/1793/2008
Fiscal No: RO 23928657
Bank Account Euro No: RO89BPOS14106763358EUR01
Opened at Bancpost, Ag Tomis Constanta
Swift Code: BPOSROBU


S.C. Petro-Ship Group SRL is a private company founded in May 2002 and which objectives are selection and placement of qualified personnel for ship building and ship repair- welders, fitters, mechanics, pipe fitters, sandblasters and painters, lathe men, carpenters, electricians, scaffolding men as well as qualified naval engineers.

Presently our company has over 2000 persons ready to work abroad.

In 9 years of activity Petro-Ship Group has been working with partners from Belgium, Greece, Denmark, Italy, Romania, Portugal and other countries.

We are now going to provide you few names of our partners we have been working with:

 In Belgium Petro-Ship Group had worked with “Engine Deck Repair LTD”; we have been supplying personnel for ship repair (2005-2006). For further information regarding the collaboration between our companies please contact Mr Stijn Van Doninck ( tel: 0032232532752)
 In Denmark Petro-Ship Group had worked with the famous Company “Aalborg Industries SA”. We have supplied qualified personnel for boiler repair in some of China ports (2003-2005). Any moment you can ask information about our personnel from Mr Bent Holm Madsen.

 In Italy we have several partners to which we provided personnel for ship repair (2006-2007)
 “Reparmar SA” (Naples). For further information please contact Mr Antonio De Maio (tel: 00393331321134)
 “Studio CGA (Naples).Contact person Mr Luigi De Maio (tel:00393937151411)
 “La Nuova Meccanica Navale LTD”. Contact person Mr Dario Piantedosi (tel: 00390815591110)
 In Portugal we are working with three partners:
1. “Lisnave Estaleiros Navais SA” from Setubal. We have been and still are supplying welders, fitters and mechanics. Contact person Mr Manuel Jose Gomes (tel: 00351969022860). As additional information we must tell you that Petro-Ship Group had over 200 employees in this shipyard.
2. “Estaleiros Navais De Viana Do Castelo”. Petro-Ship Group is supplying this shipyard qualified personnel for ship building. Contact person Mr Fernando Caeiro (tel: 00351258840100).
3. “Alga Tricolor Unipessoal LDA” in Viana Do Castelo. Petro-Ship Group is supplying this company qualified personnel for ship building. Contact person
Mrs Joana Felgueiras(tel:00351258807210)

We offer comprehensive easy-to-use solutions designed to meet the needs of business.
The Romanian Ministry of Labor and Social Solidarity full authorizes this activity (selection and placement of the Romanian personnel).
Our resource center also provides targeted industry-specific career advice for both hiring managers’ job seekers. Specialized in recruitment of people with strong analytical skills our practice is nationwide and covers major business areas.
Because we are focused and experienced our clients can count on our efforts:
-to provide access to critical talent
-to reduce the time it takes to fill vacancies
-to free-up client companies resources to concentrate on their primary business
-to unsure that compensation stays at fair market level
-to enable a smooth and satisfying negotiation process

If you need personnel you can count on us.
For any question or information please feel free to contact our company.
Petru Mititelu- General Manager
Tel: 0040 241 584 923
Fax: 0040 241 584 841
Email address:

Vote down Vote up

almost 3 years ago

I'm intrested in shipbuilding field n likes to take out ma full potential n skills for this.. ima final year btech mechanical engineering student..

Vote down Vote up

over 6 years ago

Dear sir

I have a solid and naïve plan for your shipbuilding Industry which can give you the sales of more than $20 billion depending upon your manufacturing limitations.

The concept and the marketing techniques are all ready with me and will be disclosed to you once we go into business agreement with me for this new concept.

Your willingness and details on type of ships you manufacture is required for our further and necessary action.

With regards



Vote down Vote up

over 6 years ago


S/O J N Murthy,
Lanka veedi,
Lakkavarapu kota,
E-mail ID:
Contact No. : +919033206671 or +918980006164.


Career Objective: Seeking a position, to utilize my skills and abilities, in an Industry that offers professional growth and be a part of the team that dynamically works for the growth of the organization.

Educational Qualifications:

Education Board/University Percentage obtained Year of passing

PG. Diploma in Naval Architecture ARIES Institute of Marine Technology,
Cochin. 91 2007
Mech-Marine Andhra University
College of Engineering 61 2006
Intermediate Board of Intermediate Education, A.P 75.2 2001
S.S.C Board of Secondary Education, A.P 76.3 1999

Computer Skills:

 Basics in FORAN
 AutoCAD.

1. From Sep-07 to till now working as marine engineer in ABG Shipyard pvt Ltd, Surat.
2. Total 4 years and 4 months of experience in shipbuilding.


• Conducted Inclining experiment for this vessel.
• As fitted drawings.
• Owner handover drawings & all documentations.
• Using SOLAS modified LSA & FFA drawings according to new modifications.
• Modified foundations for equipments in new modifications.
• Checking the scantling for new modifications and approval of the design.
• Engine room layout, according to new modification
• Exhaust piping layout for additional DG set.
• Bilge & ballast piping route for additional tanks.
• As fitted drawings.
• Owner handover drawings & all documentations.
• Worked in erection berth as a marine engineer in Hull
• A vessel with 15% erected blocks is launched with 95% of hull with lot of modifications; in just six months is one of the fastest productions in ABG.
• Making all the tanks structurally strong enough to compile with approved and latest modified drawings.
• Checking all the erection joints of blocks.
• APT Test for all the tanks.
• Checking all single skin with hose test before launching.
• Hydrostatic test for all the tanks.
• Worked for design and production both the side.
• Making all the tanks structurally strong enough to compile with approved and latest modified drawings.
• Also modified some of the approved drawings according to new modifications and get the approval for that.
• Modified block drawings according to new modifications, approved and latest structural drawings.
• Checking all the erection joints of blocks.
• APT Test for all the tanks.
• Checking all single skin with hose test before launching.
• Hydrostatic test for all the tanks.

• Correcting the block drawing and CNC nesting according to approved and latest structural drawings.
• Planning the material as per block drawing.
• Making a CNC nesting according to availability of material.
• Plan the skid as per yard limitations and conditions.
• Checking the skid level with monometer.
• Checking all the prefabrication as per drawing
• Checking the fit up and alignment as per drawing.
• Check all the welded joints to weld with welding sequences and schedule.
• Supervise the skid allocation plan as per schedule and production.
• Member of SGA for reducing the scrap material.

 Secured 4648 rank in EAMCET – 02.
 Ranked first in school in S.S.C Board examination.

Personal Skills: Comprehensive problem solving abilities, team facilitator, willingness to learn, smart worker.

Extra Curricular Activities:
 Event organizer of our Hostel Day celebrations.
 Playing cricket, caroms and shuttle.
 Participating in social activities.
 Member of department cricket team.

Personal Profile:
Father’s name : J N Murthy.
Mother’s name : J V Ramanamma.
Nationality : Indian.
Date of birth : 02-01-1984.
Hobbies : watching cricket, singing.
Languages known : English, Hindi, Telugu.

Declaration : I hereby declare that the above mentioned information is correct to the best of my knowledge and I bear the responsibility for the correctness of the above mentioned particulars.

Place: Visakhapatnam. (VISWANADHAM JANA)

Vote down Vote up

almost 7 years ago

I need job descriptios for all jobs in shipbuilding & rapair yard companies including Qualities branches i.e. Process Controller, Quality Asurance System Controller, In Process Quality Controller, Quality Controller, etc.

Vote down Vote up

about 7 years ago

Work hours can range from 3am to 10pm to meet deadlines, even for supervisors without the help of a worker leader.