What Is Shipbuilding?
Shipbuilding is the process of building and repairing large ocean-going vessels—big ships that carry cargo and passengers, drill for oil, engage in battle, along with lots of other uses. The process is a lot different from boat building which involves building smaller boats–boats that are less than about 200 feet in length that are mostly used for fun or in small commercials ventures. Ships are built primarily of steel, while boats are made from wood, aluminum, fiberglass, with some steel. Here’s something you may not know: Even though a submarine may be built of steel and be longer than 200 feet (that’s a ship, right?) it’s called a boat!
Shipbuilders are called Shipwrights once they learn the skills and knowledge to design and build these large vessels. A degree from a shipbuilding program at a university, college, or training institute is needed. A a long apprenticeship with a master shipbuilder will work, too. Shipwrights need to have extensive knowledge about construction, and to know physics, engineering, and math. The ability to work with others and even direct the work of others is important, because it takes a team to build a ship. To qualify as a marine engineer or a naval architect you need to have additional training and degrees, so you are able to design the ship and manage your team of shipbuilders.
Are you good working with your hands and with math? Are you a good problem solver? Are you able to work as a team member? Do you like the idea of working around bodies of water? Then shipbuilding and maritime design work may be just right for you.