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Everything You Need to Know About Shipfitter Jobs

Everything You Need to Know About Shipfitter Jobs

Eve Jones

This is one in a series of blog posts in which Martide takes a closer look at just some of the many jobs in the maritime industry - in this case, shipfitter jobs. So if you’re interested in researching different careers at sea and are wondering how to become a shipfitter, read on and hopefully this article will explain all!

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in other hot vacancies for seamen such as how to become a junior electrician or want to know more about chief marine engineer jobs, you might want to explore some of the other posts in this series.

Everything you need to know about shipfitter jobs: the basics


At their simplest, shipfitter jobs are exactly what they sound like: the job entails fitting the parts of a ship together. But that is a deceptively simple description of this physically demanding and highly skilled job. A shipfitter’s duties include following blueprints to accurately cut and attach the enormous sheets of structural metal that are fitted together to create a vessel’s hull.

Read more: Your Guide to Maritime Training for Jobs at Sea

The bulk of the job entails the fabrication, assembly and erection of a ship’s main structure and parts, but also the maintenance and restoration of the same.  Ship fitter jobs can also include the hydro and air testing of tanks and their compartments.

constructions sparks at night

Different types of ship fitter jobs

So you might be wondering how to become a shipfitter but a good starting point is knowing that there are two different types: a deck fitter and an engine fitter. No prizes for guessing where these two different roles work!  

Read more: Your Guide to Different Types of Seafarer Jobs

Deck fitters are responsible for fitting, maintaining and repairing any damaged parts on a vessel’s decks. This is an ongoing process and ship fitter jobs are crucial in helping to keep a vessel safe and seaworthy while on a voyage. Meanwhile the engine fitter is based in the engine room and as well as fitting the engine is tasked with looking after other related electrical parts in this area - an equally vital job.

What skills does a shipfitter need?

Most shipfitter jobs entail being skilled in riveting and welding and the use of heavy machinery. A typical day for a shipfitter could see them using shears, punches, angle rolls, plate planners, bending rolls, drill presses, plate bevelers, saws, bending slabs, and dogs and wedges. Physical strength is a must as presses can weigh up to 750 tons. And as with virtually all careers at sea, a decent level of English is required.  

How to become a shipfitter

If you’d like to know how to become a shipfitter, as well as holding the relevant qualifications and safety certifications you will need to have a sound working knowledge in welding, construction, fabrication and carpentry. Strong skills in math are a definite advantage as is the ability to be able to read blueprints.

equations written in chalk on old blackboard

In addition, and as mentioned earlier in this post, physical strength is also vital as you will be required to carry heavy materials and operate heavy machinery. You will also need a good head for heights due to the need to scale a vessel’s hull in order to carry out your construction duties.  

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Finding Jobs at Sea

Once you’ve got the right qualifications and are sure you have the skills, you should be ready to start applying for ship fitter jobs, either with shipping companies directly or through a marine recruitment agency such as Martide.

Apply for hot vacancies for seamen now with Martide

Finding your next crewing position with Martide is easy. We’re often looking to recruit fitters on behalf of our maritime industry clients and if you are qualified and think this is one of the careers at sea for you, we want to hear from you.  

advert for maritime jobs with martide showing the martide app

Seafarers who have a Martide account can log in and start applying for our vacant seafarer jobs. If you don't have an account, register for free with us now and start creating your user profile.

Don’t forget you can also apply for any of our hot vacancies for seamen, including shipfitter jobs, with our free mobile app. Download now it for Android devices from Google Play and from the Apple Store for iPhones and iPads.  

We look forward to welcoming you onboard soon!