Dock building in winter conditions.

Marine Construction market: Jobs in dock repair and seawall construction still going strong in 2020

In these trying times of unemployment and crisis brought upon us by the COVID19. Yes, we’ve read that a lot this last month. Whoever is out of work, should know that marine construction is a field which is constantly on the lookout for new blood. Though I know it can be difficult knowing just where and how to get started, I can tell you it requires a certain skillset and a certain type of individual. One who is unafraid to work outdoors in all weathers, at all times of year. But if you fit the bill you’ll find that it is one of the most rewarding and sustainable career paths out there.

Domestic marine construction specifically refers to construction and maintenance of docks, residential seawalls and boat lifts. That means one of your key functions will be working to secure coastal homes against land erosion. It’s an essential role, providing safety and security to homeowners, and there are always new vacancies opening up.

A great way to get started is getting a job in the industry with an existing marine construction company. In marine construction, each and every individual has a pivotal role to play. You will have the satisfaction of knowing at the end of a day’s work that you have achieved something notable and valuable. All while working outside in beautiful locations. Climate change and rising sea levels mean that the demand for marine construction services is only going to increase as time goes by. And that my friend, means there will be more jobs opening up, and a greater opportunity to develop and expand your craft or business.

The essential knowledge for those who are just starting out will relate to the legal parameters for safe and professional practice, as well as the relevant licensing requirements. You will also need a solid comprehension of the materials and conditions you are going to be working with. This kind of expertise can typically be acquired and honed at a marine construction course or a job in the industry, which will guarantee you learn even faster.

Nonetheless, the job market for marine construction can be a little daunting, here’s a way to get an understanding of the requirements before you take the plunge. When it comes to studying, a number of institutions offer courses, while others also offer marine engineering higher education specialization.

Dock building in Lake Michigan by Lake by @watersedgemmxi
Dock install in Lake Michigan by Lake by @watersedgemmxi

How to get specialized in marine construction?

Yes, it’s a good way of launching your career in the field, and it will give you a well-rounded understanding of both its practical and its business demands. The University of Michigan, the University of New Orleans and Texas A&M University are some of the largest institutions which offer specifically catered marine construction qualifications. Other potential pathways include civil engineering and more general upper courses like design engineering, which provide the opportunity for you to pursue a particular route with your studies.

Large marine construction operations require a combination of engineering disciplines. While smaller dock repairs, and lift installs are simpler manual tasks. For instance, marine construction jobs typically engage with physics (not to mention logistics), chemistry and for the design phase, computing. But on a more manual work level, it attracts individuals from all walks of life and professional backgrounds. It will help you to hone individual skills such as team work, communication and problem-solving. Essentially, it is about devising practical solutions to physical problems. You will have the satisfaction of seeing projects all the way through from the initial design phase to completion.

So what are the benefits? Well, for those who are tired of the monotony and boredom of conventional nine to five office work, marine construction is the perfect antidote. Specifically, it provides invigorating outdoor adventure and frequent travel, so you can rest assured there is never a dull moment. There is also considerable potential for personal and career development. You will find that organizations are eager to support those looking to pursue marine construction as a vocation, and will often invest heavily in the education and training of their employees. And most importantly, the salaries on offer are highly competitive. The increasing demand also means that job security is unlikely to be an issue.

Hopefully this overview has provided you with a better insight into the attractions of a career in marine construction. While finding work in this industry might seem challenging, it is a worthwhile venture for those with the stamina and eagerness to learn and develop new skills. The work itself is valuable- essential, in fact- and the benefits are considerable. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, so don’t miss out.

Working in marine construction can be rewarding

Recently I interviewed a few companies and institutions on what it takes to get a job in marine construction. Not only that, we list below some companies that currently have jobs and positions available.

Here’s feedback from Kelly White, at the Florida Marine Contractors Association on job positions within the marine construction industry.

How much does a worker make per hour? 
Depends on experience, however lower side is around $10 or $11 for general labor, skilled labor $22 – $30.  Most companies have bonus programs for skilled laborers in addition to the hourly wage.  The wages average for $75k to $125k for foreman/superintendents.

– Do they need a license to operate? 
The Marine Construction companies need a licensed marine contractor to qualify the company, however the employees of the marine contractor are not required to be licensed.

– Are they contractors or hired? Do they get any benefits? 
The larger companies tend to offer medical insurance and accident policies, however it varies from company to company.  We are seeing an upswing in company benefits.

Is there work year around?

What are some specializations one can make to be more employable in the marine construction industry? Diving? Certified electrician? 
Both would be beneficial, however a master carpenter and crane operator certification are by far more important.

Companies now hiring for dock construction and repair

In 2020, make sure to contact these companies as they are currently hiring. Agency Staffing Portland.

  • EZ Dock Solutions is looking for a laborer to assist in installing hog slat docks, floating docks, boat lifts, and seawalls / bulkheads. Construction experience not required, but helpful. They Will train the right candidates.
  • UMX in Jacksonville, Florida, is looking for a Marine Construction Project Manager. The requirements are: Interfaces with appropriate staff/managers to receive information regarding maintenance needs; ensures timely response to requests. Monitors and maintains proper inventory levels; authorizes purchase orders for supplies and equipment.

As you can see, it can be easy to start even without any experience. Just having the willingness to word and learn can already get you in the door. And hands on experience with these companies will give you the kick start to launch your own business one day.

Max Francisco