The Not-So-Famous Marine Jobs: Shipfitters

It wouldn’t be overrated to say that one of the most important jobs in the shipping industry and on board ship is that of a shipfitter. A shipfitter is a person who has the responsibility to make sure that all the necessary repair work in a ship is done properly and efficiently. Repair works not only mean fitting parts but also include maintaining the basic design and construction with which the ship was built and re-creating the ship in such a way that the damages are completely wiped out.

Types of Shipfitters on Ship

Shipfitters can be classified into two major types on a ship. One type (mentioned above) includes the person who works as deck fitter on the deck side of the ship, whereas the second type known as the engine fitter who works in the engine room of the ship. Both types of fitters can be detailed as follows:

Deck Fitters

Deck fitters are in-charge of the repairing and fitting of damaged ship parts on the ship decks. Repair and maintenance work on ship is a continuous process and a shipfitter plays a vital role in this. Just to distribute the work load, there are two fitters provided on a ship. Deck fitter is restricted to fitting jobs on the ship, apart from the engine fitting jobs.

Deck Fitters
Credits: temis1964/

Engine Fitters

Engine fitter, as the name suggests is mainly responsible for properly fitting the engine and other electrical parts required in the engine room of a ship. These professionals are very important because of the terrific technical and fitting skills they develop over a period of time. A ship definitely cannot do away without an engine fitter on board.

A shipfitter’s knowledge is more technical than theory based. The shipfitters actually carry out the creation and the restoration work of the main structure of a ship and the role and scope of shipfitters have only increased over the time.


There are several tests which a candidate has to pass in order to become a shipfitter. A person aspiring to be a shipfitter has to have, in addition to a basic High School Certificate, adept knowledge about welding and carpentry. The individual also needs to be flexible regarding the work timings for restoration work on a ship can be demanded at any point of time.

Ship fitting is a very unique profession. There are a lot of challenges involved that make the profession even more interesting. Shipfitters need to be very alert and vigilant for any sort of emergency situation on a ship and should be ready to work for hours together in unfriendly atmospheric conditions.


Do you have info to share with us ? Suggest a correction

About Author

Raunek Kantharia is a marine engineer turned maritime writer and entrepreneur. After a brief stint at the sea, he founded Marine Insight in 2010. Apart from managing Marine Insight, he also writes for a number of maritime magazines and websites.

Subscribe To Our Newsletters

By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy and may receive occasional deal communications; you can unsubscribe anytime.

Web Stories


  1. is this in the us i am a time serverd shipjoiner worked all over the world on all types of ships and we work mostly in side bulkhead deckheads and fitting furniture were a shipwight works outside weiding and deck work

  2. i am a 1st year aprentice fitter with my vacational scool certificate i want to work on ships and move outta pictoucounty novascitia i enjoy fitting and want to work on shipps fitting

  3. I am currently enrolled in a Shipfitter program at a Community College. The multiple aspects of the job is intriguing as well as the constant diversity and challenge which the job demands. Its a very interesting career but it can also be very physically and mentally demanding. If you can endure the adversity and enjoy working with your hands this is the job for you. I look forward to seeing a ship launched that I aided in the construction of. Personally I see it more fit for a human to labor in the elements in contrast to pushing papers all day. And this job “floats my boat”.

  4. I do not find ship fitter in the IMO designations of seafarers. It would be very much appreciated if the author can further explain to which IMO designation of seafarer ranks a ship fitter belongs to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *