Shipfitter Job Description


Shipfitter or shipfitter-welder is a skilled person who works at the commercial and naval shipyards in different forms during the construction or repair phase of a ship. Besides this, he/she layouts and fabricates metals for repairing and building ships. They work both in small-scale and large-scale public and private companies. Shipfitters can work for maintaining, building, and repairing naval shipyards, aircraft carriers, submarines, small boats, icebreakers, ocean liners, tankers, and container ships.

Post Highlights:

  • Educational Qualifications
  • Certification/License
  • Work Experience
  • Duties/Responsibilities
  • Abilities/Skills
  • Work Environment
  • Physical Requirements
  • Top Industries
  • Job Types
  • Salary Information

Education Requirement

Shipfitter’s job requires a combination of both the education and work experience for performing the duties smoothly.

  • They should have basic education i.e. a High School Diploma, GED, or Equivalent
  • Having an Associate’s Degree in Metals Fabrication, Welding or Machining is preferred.


Some of the employers require some sort of certification related to job/work types.

  • The individual can have a Certificate in Machining, Metals Fabrication, or Welding
  • AWS Certified Welder (preferred)

Work Experience

The candidates should have prior work-related experience.

  • Related naval or shipyard work experience
  • Apprenticeship program


Shipfitter do the following jobs-

  • Align parts using jacks, turnbuckles, clips, wedges, and mauls
  • Cut and weld with a variety of processes
  • Form, bend, finish, and rig metals
  • Install packing, gaskets, liners, and structural accessories and members
  • Locate and mark reference lines
  • Mark location of holes to be drilled and installs temporary fasteners
  • May prepare molds and templates for fabrication of nonstandard parts
  • May roll, bend, flange, cut, and shape plates, beams, and other heavy metal parts
  • May tack weld clips and brackets in place prior to permanent welding
  • Position parts in the hull of a ship
  • Set, fit, and install fabricated maritime structures
  • Understand shipyard operation and safety protocol
  • Weld, repair, design, and layout plate or pipe materials
  • Work in shop/field environments and sometimes heights
  • Other duties may be assigned by the employers depending on the circumstances.


The position requires the following competencies-

  • Ability to understand the naval vessel compartments, number systems, and related vessel terminology
  • Able to calculate/understand units of measure, including fractions and decimals
  • Able to carry out instructions in written, oral, or diagram form
  • Able to interpret blueprints, and apply math concepts
  • Able to read, write and comprehend simple instructions
  • Able to wear standard PPE and use basic ship fitting tool list
  • Comfortable working with heights
  • Highly motivated and self-directed
  • Know how to measure using a scale and tape measure
  • Physically fit and manual dexterity
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Team work spirit and work independently

Work Environment

  • Shipfitters normally work in naval or shipyard environments along the coastal regions. The work conditions include cold, dry, dusty, fumes, hot, inside, noise, oily, outside, wet, acids, or alkalis.

Physical Requirements

  • The position requires climbing, color vision, crawling, kneeling, light lifting, medium lifting, pulling, pushing, reaching, stooping, and twisting.

Top Industries

  • Maritime Repairs
  • Military/Navy Vessels
  • Ship Building
  • Subsea Vessels

Job Types

  • Aluminum Shipfitter
  • Machinist Shipfitter
  • Shipfitter Fabricator
  • Shipfitter Journeyperson
  • Shipfitter Trainee
  • Shipfitter Welder
  • Structural Shipfitter

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Salary Information

The monthly salary of a Shipfitter varies from place to place depending on the prevailing market trends. The average ship fitter salary is $23.87 per hour or $46,540 per year in the United States. The employers give $40,950 yearly to the entry-level positions. However, most experienced workers get $64,350 yearly.

Related: Other Welding Professions

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