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The Army’s fleet of watercraft travel the world in support of the Army mission. These watercraft transport equipment, personnel and supplies and perform vital logistical tasks. The men and women that keep the Army’s watercraft running and ready for action is the job of the Soldiers of Military Occupational Specialty Watercraft Engineer.

After successfully completing 10 weeks of Army Basic Combat Training, you will attend Advanced Individual Training at Fort Eustis, Virginia where the Army will train you in basic electronics, hydraulics, and shop practices as well as in engine operation and maintenance. Aboard ship, your maintenance and repair training will continue on everything in marine operations from reduction gears and anchor winches topside to engine room throttle watches and engine operation down below, to checking and recording instrument gauge readings and daily system engine maintenance. You’ll also train in the preventive maintenance of steering systems and to inspect, maintain, and repair the propellers and shafts. On electrical systems, you’ll train to test and repair electrical devices and components, and on fuel systems to do preventive maintenance like adjusting fuel injection assemblies. For marine vessel maintenance, you’ll train to do daily boat checks, inspecting hulls for damage, and testing, maintaining, and repairing systems topside.

After your Initial Entry Training and Advanced Individual Training, you’ll work supporting Army operations where your duties may take you to the bridge or into the engine room to take important readings; check fluids; keep the ship’s safety equipment ready for emergencies; or take part in activities like shore security.

Serving as a Watercraft Engineer can help you transition from the military to the civilian employment sector because your skills in leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving are skills and values in demand by civilian employers.

To carry out its worldwide mission, the Army relies on its fleet of vessels to go anywhere, anytime and the Watercraft Engineer is a vital member of the Army’s transportation team.

Watercraft Engineer (88L)

  • Enlisted
  • Officer
  • Active Duty
  • Army Reserve
  • National Guard
  • Entry Level


Watercraft engineers are primarily responsible for supervising or performing maintenance on Army watercraft and auxiliary equipment on marine vessels.

Job Duties

  • Perform daily systems checks
  • Repair and maintain gasoline and diesel engines
  • Troubleshoot and repair watercraft propulsion machinery
  • Repair and service hoisting, lift machinery and engine-related electrical systems


Those who want to serve must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identify which Army jobs are best for you.


Job training for a watercraft engineer requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and 10 weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instructions. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in the field.

Some of the skills you’ll learn are:

  • Internal combustion engine theory
  • Repair of electronic and electrical machinery systems
  • Service and repair of fuel injection systems
  • Welding and machine shop fabrication

Helpful Skills

  • Interest in shop mechanics, fixing engines and machinery
  • Ability to use hand and power tools
  • Enjoy physical work

Required ASVAB Score(s)

Mechanical Maintenance (MM): 99

Learn more about the ASVAB and see what jobs you could qualify for.


Total compensation includes housing, medical, food, special pay, and vacation time. Learn more about total compensation.

Earn Cash For In Demand Jobs

You could earn up to $40,000 in cash bonuses just for enlisting under certain Military Occupational Specialties. Visit Jobs in Demand to see if this job qualifies for an enlistment bonus.

Education Benefits

In the Army, qualified students can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus an annual stipend for living expenses. Learn more about education benefits.

Future Civilian Careers

The skills you learn will help prepare you for a career with marine transportation, commercial fishing, oil exploration, facility maintenance, heating and air conditioning, or diesel engine maintenance or repair. You’ll be able to consider a future as a marine engine mechanic.


Those interested in this job may be eligible for civilian employment, after the Army, by enrolling in the Army PaYS program. The PaYS program is a recruitment option that guarantees a job interview with military friendly employers that are looking for experienced and trained Veterans to join their organization. Find out more about the Army PaYS Program at

  • Rush Enterprises
  • Ruan Transportation Mgt. Sys. Inc.
  • D. M. Bowman, Inc.
  • Liquid Transport Corp
  • Transport Corporation of America, Inc.
  • Sentinel Transportation, LLC
  • Nationwide Truck Brokers, Inc.
  • J. B. Hunt Transportation, Inc.
  • Total Quality Logistics, LLC
  • TMC Transportation, Inc.