Boat & Watercraft Technician

Advanced Technician

Prepare for a career in recreational equipment repair in our dual-track Boat and Watercraft Technician program. Through classroom and lab experience, you’ll develop competence in repairing the most modern recreational equipment. In this Associate in Applied Science program, master the skills needed to pursue a career in marine engine technology.

Receive diverse training that prepares you to repair snowmobiles, personal watercraft, inboard engines, outboard engines and stern drive engines. Learn about theory, proper procedures and safety when repairing equipment, and get hands-on instruction with the newest recreational equipment available. You’ll also have the opportunity to receive industry training through the on-the-job training segment of our program, which is industry supported by leading industry brands such as Arctic Cat, BRP, Mercury, Polaris, Snap-On, Yamaha and Volvo Penta.

You may also choose to take more business management courses in the second year of the program. If you dream of one day owning your own recreational equipment repair business, this path may be a great fit for you. People who take this route may also pursue work as a sales rep or parts distributor.

Whether you choose to work in a marina, snowmobile dealership or own your own business, you’ll establish a strong foundation of skills and understanding of recreational equipment repair right here at Iowa Lakes. Prepare to thrive as a Boat and Watercraft Technician with plenty of hands-on experience to back you up.

Faculty Contact

Rick Brichta
Assistant Professor, Marine Service Technology
712-852-5202 Ext: 5202 | rbrichta@iowalakes.educreate new email

Program Details

PROGRAM LENGTH: 5 terms

DEGREE: Associate in Applied Science (78 credits)

CAMPUS: Emmetsburg

Internship/Practicum

Did You Know?

Average Salary: $34,470

Projected Employment Growth: 0.2%

What you'll learn

In the Boat and Watercraft Technician program at Iowa Lakes, you will learn:1

  1. Identify the operational relationships in marine, snowmobile and watercraft components and systems.
  2. Select appropriate tools and equipment for the task being performed.
  3. Demonstrate effective use of industry related literature to perform proper repairs.
  4. Diagnose and repair or replace marine, snowmobile and watercraft systems and components according to industry standards.
  5. Evaluate system performance for repair or replacement.
  6. Perform preventative maintenance according to recommended factory service schedules.
  7. Develop accuracy, proficiency, and quality for task being performed.
  8. Practice safety in the repair and service of marine, snowmobile and watercraft systems

1The What You’ll Learn section of our website provides a description of Learning Outcomes for students who successfully complete all requirements for obtaining a Boat & Watercraft Technician Associate in Applied Science degree from Iowa Lakes Community College.

Curriculum

Term 1

Credits: 2

Construction and design of two- and four-stroke marine engines. Correct service procedures, troubleshooting, failure analysis and advanced theory are covered.

Prerequisites: First semester of program


Credits: 2

Corresponding lab to Marine Engines Two and Four Stroke Theory. Hands-on testing and inspection of marine engines.


Credits: 3

Basic electrical theory used in the small engine and marine field. Study of Ohm’s Law, electrical symbols, problem solving, types of circuits, usage of a VOM and other electrical test equipment. Lecture and laboratory.


Credits: 1

This course is designed to introduce gasoline and diesel powered electrical generator systems. Students will be introduced to how generators function and how to properly set up and maintain this type of power equipment.

Prerequisites: MSE 151 – Shop Safety and Procedures


Credits: 2

This course will cover basic system operations of boats and off season storage, including how to properly operate a boat, dock and tie up a boat, the purpose of instrument gauges and accessories, marine industry terminology and how to identify various serial numbers. Considerable practice will be provided in properly winterizing boats and personal watercraft for off season storage.


Credits: 2

This course will cover basic rigging operation of boats and per­sonal watercraft, including how to properly install motors and all necessary wiring, how to properly determine what motor should be installed and how to install gauges, depth finders, stereos and other equipment. The course will also include trailer set up pro­cedures, the purpose of instrument gauges and accessories on boats. Factory service manuals, electronic and paper, will be used to look up parts as you learn marine industry terminology and how to identify various serial numbers on motors.


Credits: 1

Safe shop practices and procedures, including safe equipment operation, proper tool usage, importance of personal protective gear and how to handle emergency situations.


Credits: 3

Marine fuel systems including carburetion, fuel injection and oil injection are studied. Troubleshooting, testing, adjustments, assembly and disassembly are practiced. Proper service procedures discussed and demonstrated. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: First two semesters of program


Credits: 3

Students are given the opportunity to apply human relations concepts and evaluate experience and observations. Social skills required in various occupational settings will be developed, emphasizing how appropriate personal attitudes lead to social and business success.


Term 2

Credits: 3

Developing skills in reading, writing and listening as they apply to students’ vocational needs.


Credits: 3

Snowmobile systems including clutches, suspensions, engines, tracks and other components are studied. Proper service tech­niques, troubleshooting, assembly and disassembly are covered along with a unit on performance work. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: MSE 151 – Shop Safety and Procedures


Credits: 4

This course will cover the principles of operation and construction of various components in the electrical systems of a Boat such as Ignition Systems, Starting Systems, Charging Systems, Tilt and Trim Systems, along with other accessories used in the Marine industry. Proper testing, troubleshooting, disassembly/reassembly, and installation of electrical components are also covered.


Credits: 1

This course will cover basic detailing of boats and personal water­craft, to include removal of mild oxidation; wax build up and fine scratches, how to properly restore optimum gloss, especially on dark colors, and how to provide long lasting protection from harm­ful UV rays.You will additionally learn how to clean and protect teakwood. This course provides practice in basic correct use of a buffer, detail cleaners, waxes, polishes and protectants, how to identify specific problems and possible solutions.


Credits: 3

Theory and hands-on lab for all systems in personal watercraft including jet pumps, engines and steering systems. Repair, troubleshooting and service procedures are covered. Lecture and laboratory.

Prerequisites: First two semesters of program


Credits: 3

This course covers operation and construction of Marine Stern­drives, Inboard Drive Systems and Outboard Gear Cases. Also covered will be disassembly, assembly, inspection, troubleshoot­ing, failure analysis, identification, rebuilding drives, adjustments procedures, advance theory and repair procedures as well as performance testing and propeller theory.


Term 3

Credits: 6

On-the-job experience at a marine or small engine repair facility as a technician, part and service person, or salesperson. The student is evaluated by the job supervisor and the instructor.

Prerequisites: Completion of first year of program


Credits: 3

A course in elementary mathematical skills for technicians. Topics covered include fundamental operations with whole numbers, fractions, decimals and signed numbers; percents; geometric figures and basic constructions; area and volume formulas; English/Metric systems; measurements; and basic algebraic equations and applications.

Prerequisites: Appropriate placement score


Term 4

Credits: 3

In this course students learn how to diagnose different fuel injec­tion systems & their problems as well as know the difference between fuel systems. Students will be able to analyze these fuel systems along with using the latest test equipment. Each student will be able to understand and explain how these systems work. You will also learn how to use failure evaluating procedures.


Credits: 3

In this course, students learn proper shop management proce­dures including parts ordering, inventory, repair order writing, payroll, employee-employer relations, customer relations and communication skills, sales and service in the service center, war­ranty procedures on marine products, computerized parts/billing systems and waste management procedures.


Credits: 3

In this course, students learn how to analyze electrical problems and procedures. Students understand how to go about trouble­shooting different electrical problems such as ignition, hard start­ing, low speed engine miss, engine miss firing and engine running rough. Students will also evaluate engine running problems with different computer scanners and be able to apply these skills when they complete this course.


Credits: 3

In this course, students learn how to repair a wide variety of advanced fuel systems, for example, throttle body fuel injection, multiport fuel injection systems and direct injected fuel systems. Students practice how to properly test these systems and how to diagnose each one.