How to become a Shipwright

Shipwrights construct, fit out, commission and repair all types of vessels from small pleasure craft through to a range of competitive, 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).

Personal requirements of a Shipwright

  • Enjoy practical and manual activities
  • Aptitude for technical activities
  • Able to work at heights on scaffolding
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Organised, methodical approach to work

Education & Training for a Shipwright

To become a shipwright you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Marine Craft Construction. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Shipwright

Shipwrights may perform the following tasks:

  • 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 for a Shipwright

Shipwrights work on the waterfront in shipyards, in the repair sections of ports or in small boat yards and marinas. They may also work for boat manufacturers in workshops away from the waterfront.

Employment Opportunities for a Shipwright

Shipwrights are employed in construction firms, the Australian Defence Force, companies building leisure craft, as surveyors, and in firms engaged in building and operating marinas. Opportunities for self-employment may also exist. Some of these businesses may operate on a mobile basis.

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