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ABYC Recreational Boat Certification Designations & Technical Education and Technician Certification in U.S. & Canada


Established in 1954, the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) is a non-profit, member organization that develops voluntary safety standards for the design, construction, maintenance, and repair of recreational boats. ABYC is the premier global standards organization in the marine industry and a leader in technical education and technician certification. Responding to a mid-50s boom in recreational boating, the American Boat & Yacht Council was formed by members of the Motorboat and Yacht Advisory Panel of the U.S. Coast Guard's Merchant Marine Council.

ABYC's over 4,000 members include boat builders, boat yards, yacht brokers, marinas, service technicians, surveyors, retail marine stores, marine insurance companies, equipment manufacturers and boat owners.

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Both nationally and internationally, ABYC is the acknowledged authority that provides uniform standards to enhance marine manufacturing, maintenance, service and safety. ABYC is on the leading edge of the movement toward greater reliance upon standards that improve boating safety for the recreational boating community.

In addition to writing uniform technical standards for the entire marine industry, ABYC has become a leader in education for marine industry professionals, technicians and boat owners by offering seminars, workshops, webinars, marine technician certification training and standards accreditation as well as numerous educational publications.

abyc certifications

Certification & Training

ABYC Certification Designations

  • Advisor Certification: Designed for people who work within the marine service sector that desire an ABYC certification but do not physically work on boats performing repairs. Examples - Marine surveyors, customer service representatives and engineering standards compliance specialists. Requirement for initial certification is passing score on certification exam and, requirements for re-certification is passing score on re-certification exam + 10 CEUs. The certifications are valid for 5 years.
  • Technician Certification: Technician certification is the means by which the ABYC and the general public identify those that are actually certified to perform trouble-shooting, repairs and equipment installations on boats. Examples -Technicians, installers etc. Requirement for initial certification is passing score on certification exam + 2 years of work experience and, requirements for re-certification is passing score on re-certification exam + 10 CEUs. The certifications are valid for 5 years.

ABYC Certifications

  • Marine Electrical Certification (Available Online): This certification is geared toward marine electricians with broad experience in both troubleshooting and equipment installations, both AC and DC. The certification covers key areas from twelve different knowledge areas as follows - Basic electrical fundamentals, Cable installation and termination, Maintaining and installing battery systems, Battery charging systems, Inverter installation and troubleshooting, AC shore power systems, AC generators, AC panel boards, DC panel boards, AC components, DC components, and Safety equipment.
  • Marine Corrosion Certification (Available Online): Successful completers of this certification program and exam will have a good understanding of all of the various types of corrosion and be able to perform a thorough corrosion analysis on boats of all types. This certification class is designed and intended for those with a minimum of 3-5 years practical experience in the marine field. It is highly recommended that certification candidates already have ABYC electrical certification before attempting the corrosion certification program. It is presumed by the course content that candidates have a reasonable understanding of basic concepts such as electrical grounding, electrical current flow, galvanic isolation and basic marine electrical terminology.
  • Marine Systems Certification (Available Online): This certification covers thirteen different areas in the marine systems realm. Key knowledge areas associated with the ABYC systems certification are - Potable water systems, Marine sanitation systems, Tankage, Hull piping, Electrical installations, Compressed gas for cooking and heating, Air conditioning and refrigeration systems, Pump systems, Fuel systems (gas and diesel), Steering and control systems, Accessory control systems, Fire protection systems, and General knowledge and boatyard etiquette. (Addresses specific tool usage and precision measurement).
  • ABYC Standards Certification (Available Online): This is an excellent certification for insurance specialists, boat builder compliance specialists and marine surveyors, and anyone that is responsible to ensure that standards are being followed in build, retrofit or repair scenarios. Many service managers have gone through these programs.
  • Marine Diesel Certification (Available Online): ABYC’s Diesel Engine Certification takes a generic approach to diesel engine theory of operation, troubleshooting and marine specific installation requirements. Certification candidates with formal marine engine manufacturer training will learn additional information only addressed by the ABYC in seven relevant standards. 
  • Gasoline Engine Certification (Available Online): The gasoline engine certification takes a generic look at gasoline engine theory and troubleshooting and marine specific installation requirements not only as based on ABYC Standards, but in the case of gasoline USCG requirements as dictated by the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations). Due to the larger presence of carbon monoxide and fuel volatility with gasoline engines more standards as well Federal laws apply to gasoline engine installations.
  • Marine Composites Certification (Available Online): This certification course is only available as a three day program currently and is designed for boat builders and manufacturers, although many of the techniques discussed are just as applicable to the repair sector of the composites industry as it applies to boats. The curriculum includes knowledge of composite construction techniques, production and advanced manufacturing processes, structural details and hardware installation, quality assurance and safety and environmental compliance.
  • A/C Refrigeration Certification (Available Online): ABYC no longer offers programming specific to this area. That said, the certification exam is still available for those that have an interest. The ABYC study guide is available through the education department for self-study use only. Once a candidate feels ready for the exam, simply contact our education department and arrange for you online exam to be proctored and written in your area.
  • Advanced Electrical Certification (Available Online): The need for a higher level of knowledge has become increasingly important as modern boats become more integrated with sophisticated networked electronics. The new Advanced Marine Electrical Certification is the ideal certification for those working on the cutting edge of electrical systems.

ABYC Online CE Learning

  • AC Dock Pedestal Testing
  • Advanced Electronic Engine Troubleshooting - Webinar
  • Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) for Boat and Component Manufacturers
  • Basic Marine Electrical & Corrosion Mitigation
  • Battery Basics
  • Complete Bow Thruster Installation
  • Compliance and Testing
  • Educator Training Conference 2021
  • Electric Shock Drowning: The Invisible Killer
  • Essentials of Outboard Service
  • FREE: ABYC Webinar - De-mystifying Basic Electrical Concepts and Standards
  • FREE Webinar: Back to Basics Marine Insurance 101
  • FREE Webinar: Batteries_ The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Selection and Install
  • FREE Webinar: Common Mistakes In Fiberglass Repair
  • FREE Webinar: John Adey's Corrosion Project
  • FREE Webinar: Lithium Ion Battery Basics
  • FREE Webinar: Model Year 2021 - The Who, What, When Where and Why
  • FREE Webinar: Surveying Electrical Systems - Sweat the Small Stuff
  • Fuel System Grounding
  • Lamination as a Career
  • Marine Accident Investigation
  • Marine Risk Solutions
  • NEC - An In-Depth Look at the New Marina Electrical Codes
  • Outboard & Sterndrive Corrosion
  • Outboard Repowering Considerations
  • Propeller Selection and Sizing
  • Seacocks & Thru Hull Fittings
  • Supplement 56 Update Webinar (2016)
  • Supplement 57 Update Webinar (2017)
  • Supplement 58 Update Webinar (2018)
  • Supplement 59 Update Webinar (2019)
  • Supplement 60 Update Webinar (2020)
  • Sur/Tech Recorded Conference
  • The Elements of Bilge Pump Installations
  • Troubleshooting Dock Wiring & Finding AC Ground Faults
  • Wire Sizing and Selection
  • Wiring Terminations

Free Webinars

  • Build a More Efficient Electrical System
  • Propane Systems on Boats
  • Rigging Inspection
  • AC Troubleshooting
  • Lithium-Ion Battery Basics
  • Common Mistakes in Fiberglass Repair
  • Installation of Boat Batteries
  • Surveying Electrical Systems
  • De-Mystifying Basic Electrical Concepts
  • Marine Corrosion 101
  • Plus more

LAST UPDATED ON July 31, 2021