Shipbuilding is a complex process that requires work from many different professionals across a wide range of different specializations.
Below is a brief overview of the different kinds of jobs you can find in a typical shipyard.
Welders are accountable for welding all the metal structures that constitute a ship, including the hull, girders and pipes. Aspiring ship welders are trained in the various kinds of welding commonly used in a shipyard, including arc welding and MIG welding.
Structural fabricators use technical drawings to create the structures that comprise a ship’s hull. The two most critical abilities required for structural fabricators are the capability to read technical drawings and fabricate metal parts.
Plumbers are critical to the shipbuilding process to ensure the waterproof fittings on a ship are secure. Shipyard plumbers specialize in naval-specific pipelines, as well as pipe fittings such as valves and flanges.
In shipbuilding, electricians are responsible for navigational equipment, radar systems, control systems, lighting and other electrical systems. Naval electricians are employed in both the manufacture and maintenance of ships.
Rigging work in shipbuilding includes the movement of heavy structures and objects, as well as working with scaffolding. These workers are trained to operate cranes and other heavy machinery, which require certifications that must be renewed regularly.
Quality Control Inspectors
Also called QC Inspectors, these shipyard workers are some of the most highly skilled people in a shipyard. These jobs are usually held by men and women with ample experience in shipbuilding. They are accountable for executing non-destructive tests on every major structural aspect of a ship.
As the title indicates, shipyard supervisors are responsible for overseeing various construction processes in a shipyard. Typically, every department has its own supervisor, and the job requires a significant amount of experience in the industry. For instance, a hull supervisor would be an experienced professional who has a deep knowledge of all the structural fittings on a ship.
In bigger shipyards, each block may have its own set of supervisors, with supervisors for rigging, fabrication and other departments.
The typical shipbuilding process requires engineers from a wide variety of specializations. For instance, mechanical engineers are responsible for structural details, while electrical engineers are in charge of the procurement and set up of electrical systems.
These professionals are highly educated, and those with significant authority have many years of experience.
Naval architects are accountable for designing ships, which includes developing design concepts, making structural calculations, creating architectural drawings and even making 3D digital models. They also oversee details related to docking and storage of ships in the yard.
Advanced degrees are almost always required for these positions.