Weld ocean-going hulls and hatches together on massive ships.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$24,000 – $57,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Shipfitters do?

Shipfitters, as the title suggests, fit together the pieces of a ship. Shipfitters weld or rivet the giant sections of a ship together using high-tensile steel and other incredibly strong materials. That’s right, they build some of the largest, most sophisticated machines that tread the seas. If that sounds awesome, that’s because it is!

As a Shipfitter, you use huge machinery to lift and move the pieces of the ship into position, then you rivet or weld them in place into the ship itself. To do this, you need great attention to detail and a keen understanding of design specs and building processes.

Huge modern ships are like self-contained cities that float. Every part has to be assembled perfectly in order to work. If you take great pride in working with your hands and know the value of a job well done, then this could be the job for you.

You’ll eventually know shipyard construction like the back of your hand. Your job duties include assembling the hull as well as building interior structures that keep the ship together, such as hatches, doors, and bulkheads. One day, you might install one small section on the ship by yourself, and the next, you could be working with a team assembling an assignment that weighs 2,000 tons — it’s all in a day’s work.

You do more than just build ships, however. Working every day at a dry dock or other marine manufacturing facility, you also deal with ships in need of repairs and maintenance. Expect an ever-changing workload and working conditions. Some days, you’re inside, working on a stable floor, while other days, you’re outdoors working high above the ground.

Flexibility and a proactive approach to manufacturing processes are necessary traits. Teamwork is also important; after all, no one can build an entire ship by himself. A 40-hour workweek is the norm, but expect overtime when short-staffed or when orders pile up.

Should I be a Shipfitter?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Marine Fitter, Pattern Setter, Plate Fitter, Ship Erector, Ship Fitter, Shipfitter Apprentice

    How to become a Shipfitter

    Most Shipfitters have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9laaaa&chl=no+college+%2884%25%29|certificate+%2816%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,84,84
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