Everything You Need to Know About Shipfitter Jobs

Everything You Need to Know About Shipfitter Jobs

This is one in a series of blog posts in which Martide takes a closer look at exactly what is a seafarer's job and explores some examples of maritime jobs.

There are some fascinating jobs at sea to explore and we're kicking off this series by taking a look at Shipfitter jobs.

So if you’re interested in researching different seafarer jobs and seafarer ranks, and are wondering how to become a Shipfitter, read on and hopefully this article will tell you everything you need to know!

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in other examples of maritime jobs and would like to learn how to become an Oiler, a Wiper, a Motorman, a Deck Cadet, an Electrical Cadet, an Engine Cadet, a Marine Electrician or a Junior Electrician, an Electro-Technical Officer or a Bosun, or if you want to know more about Pumpman jobs, Messman jobs, Chief Marine Engineer jobs or Ordinary Seaman and Able Bodied Seaman jobs, you might want to explore some of the other posts in this series.

Perhaps working on a cruise ship behind the scenes might be for you. There are plenty of lesser known (but still important) maritime jobs such as Excavator Driver jobs on merchant ships, although many of the little known careers are often on passenger ships. These range from plumbers and carpenters to garbage and waste operators. Of course, you could always be guest-facing too and work as a cruise ship entertainer, DJ, bartender, Chief Steward or Stewardess, First or Second Steward/Stewardess or even a hairdresser.

Or maybe you're a dab hand in the kitchen and would like to know what it takes to become the Chief Cook on a ship.

You might even have your eye on the prize and be wondering how to work your way up through the seafarer ranks to become a Chief Officer or, ultimately, a ship's Captain, or Master.

giant pencil sign on a wall saying Love To Learn

Everything you need to know about Shipfitter jobs  

As a quick 'n' easy definition, 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 a Shipfitter job entails the fabrication, assembly and erection of a ship’s main structure and parts, but it also includes the maintenance, repair and restoration of the same.  

Tasks assigned to a Shipfitter can also include the hydro and air testing of tanks and their compartments.

constructions sparks at night

Examples of different types of Shipfitter jobs

So you might be wondering how to become a Shipfitter but a good starting point is knowing that there are two different types of Fitter: a Deck Fitter and an Engine Fitter.

No prizes for guessing where these two slightly different job descriptions work!  

Read more: Your Guide to Different Examples of Maritime Jobs

A Deck Fitter is responsible for fitting, maintaining and repairing any damaged parts on a vessel’s decks. This is an ongoing process and Shipfitter jobs are crucial in helping to keep a vessel safe and seaworthy while on a voyage.

Meanwhile the Engine Fitter is based - of course - 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 important job.

What skills does a Shipfitter need?

All seafarer jobs require a certain personality and you will need to be mentally, as well as physically strong to work in most positions. You will need to be able to cope with spending months at a time away from family and friends ashore, and, on occasion, be able to deal with Mother Nature at her most impressive.

a tornado at sea during sunset

Read more: 5 Ways to Beat Homesickness While You're Away at Sea

Being able to get along with a small crew of fellow seafarers under some demanding circumstances is a must too.

After all, there is nothing quite like teamwork as being part of a crew on a container ship!

And as with virtually all careers at sea, a decent level of English is required.

But apart from personality traits and other 'soft skills' that anyone working in seafarer jobs needs, what skills are specific to a Shipfitter?

Most Shipfitter jobs need you to be skilled in riveting and welding and be able to use heavy machinery safely and correctly. A typical day for a Shipfitter could see you using shears, punches, angle rolls, plate planners, bending rolls, drill presses, plate bevelers, saws, bending slabs, and dogs and wedges. This is one of the seafarer ranks where physical strength is a must as presses can weigh up to 750 tons.  

little kid on a dock flexing his muscles with a body of water in the background

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 without error.

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, maintenance and repair 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 Shipfitter jobs, either with shipping companies directly or through a marine recruitment agency such as Martide.

advert for seafarer jobs with Martide showing the Martide app

Apply for seafarer jobs with Martide now

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.  

Seamen and women 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 Fitter jobs, with our free mobile app.

Download the app now for Android devices from Google Play and from the Apple Store for iPhones and iPads.  

person holding an iPhone with the camera on in front of a body of water so that the image also shows on screen

If you're a qualified Shipfitter, we look forward to welcoming you onboard soon! Meanwhile, if you're still exploring careers in the shipping industry and jobs at sea, carry on reading our series to learn more about some other examples of maritime jobs!

Read the previous article in this series: What is a Seafarer's Job?

Read the next article in this series: Everything You Need to Know About Chief Marine Engineer Jobs