A Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service Publication
VIMAS is a cooperative program between
the University of Puerto Rico Sea Grant College Program & the University of the Virgin Islands' Center for Marine and Environmental Studies.
There are numerous marine-related technical careers available. Many of these provide
support for marine biologists, engineers, medical workers, oceanographers and resource
managers. Marine technicians include those responsible for overseas shipping and
transportation, including the captains, crews, pilots and navigators of marine vessels.
Others include those who maintain, repair and build boats, engines, and industrial
machinery for work and exploration at sea. Careers related to customs, cargo and vessel
inspection, as well as maritime and coastal zone law enforcement require legal
knowledge. Other technical careers are related to our recreational use of the oceans in
fields such as marina management, SCUBA instruction and sailing or motor boat crew
What do technicians do?
-'n Technicians operate, maintain and repair equipment ranging from simple sailboats to
submersibles used to explore the deepest areas of the oceans. All scientific activities at sea require the
support of skilled technical teams to keep equipment operating properly.
Commercial SCUBA divers are often needed to work on underwater construction and repair on oil rigs, or for
salvage and rescue. Recreational SCUBA is the fastest growing sport in the world and so the demand for
certified dive instructors, dive masters to lead tours and guide tourists to popular dive sites, and equipment
repair specialists to maintain gear, is at an all time high. Underwater photography is another area of rapid
growth, and technicians are needed to operate and maintain cameras and lights. Although it is sometimes
difficult to get started in a career as an underwater photographer or videographer, those who are able to
establish themselves find it rewarding both professionally and financially.
In the field of recreation, marine management including office, secretarial and support staff offer many
opportunities. Dock and shoreside workers include those involved in the construction, maintenance and
repair of both vessels and related on-land facilities. On board, there are numerous opportunities available
as crew on charter vessels or personal yachts. Crew positions range from galley cook to captain and require
experience ranging from none to highly specialized training and certifications (for examples, captains).
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4" Technical careers typically require the smallest investment in formal education beyond high
school. Often special training or certification will satisfy the general requirements of the position; in other
cases, on-the-job training may be extensive. Apprenticeships may provide education and experience at
the same time.
For high school students, the best preparation for a career in the technical fields is part-time employment in
the area of interest. Positions in dive shops and marinas usually require no experience or certifications.
Although these will not pay much, such jobs offer work experience and exposure to the field. This is just the
competitive edge you will need when you look for a full time job. Vocational training in high school is
another excellent way to prepare. Boat repair work, for instance, includes fiberglass and woodwork, sail
making, metal work and engine repair, so most vocational training can be put to use in the technical marine
Business courses and office training are also good foundations for technical careers. Often, businesses in the
field of marine recreation are small and employees wear many hats. The more you can do, the more
attractive you are to prospective employers.
Some technical careers may require a two- or four-year degree in a related field such as one of the
sciences, math, computers or electronics. Ask your guidance counselor for specifics on the fields) in which
S A Sample of Technical Marine Careers
Biological technician conducts experimental laboratory work with scientists; collects specimens and data
with biological oceanographers or marine biologists.
Boat builder/repair/maintenance person builds, repairs and maintains boats. This can include any or all
aspects of vessels such as sails, motors, rigging, fiberglass, woodwork and upholstery.
Chemical technician assists chemical oceanographers in measuring the chemical components of samples;
collects and analyzes data; assembles, uses and maintains scientific equipment.
Commercial diver uses SCUBA or other diving technology to work underwater. Petroleum industry,
insurance companies (for salvage), and other industries use commercial divers for underwater construction,
welding, maintenance and salvage of equipment, facilities and gear.
Crew member works aboard a sea-going vessel (chartered, privately owned or corporate), in any variety
of positions such as cook, line-handler, navigator or captain.
Fisheries technician assists fisheries scientists in surveys, tagging, collecting samples, dissections and
analyses of specimens; helps with the design and construction of fishing gear, farm fishing equipment and
Marina Manager- manages the business and technical operations of a marina or port facility; assists with
marina management and design; supervises marketing of marina and facilities.
Statistician collects, analyzes and interprets marine data for other professionals in the marine field.
Technical writer produces manuals and technical publications dealing with marine work; assists in the
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preparation and layout of publications used for recording research and technical work.
SCUBA related technicians includes instructors, dive masters, equipment repair specialists, salespeople and
For more information, call or write: Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Services (VIIMS), University of the Virgin Islands Centerfor Marine and
Environmental Studies, No. 2 John Brewer's Bay St. Thomas USVI 00802 (340) 693-1392 or RR#2 Box 10,000 Kingshill, St. Croix USVI 00850
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