Lays-out and fabricates metal structural parts such as plates, bulkheads and frames within the hull of ship for riveting or welding. May require a high school diploma or its equivalent and 0-2 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Familiar with standard concepts, practices and procedures within a particular field. Relies on limited experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of tasks. Works under general supervision; typically reports to a supervisor or manager. A certain degree of creativity and latitude is expected

A shipfitter is a marine occupational classification used both by naval activities and among ship builders however, the term applies mostly to certain workers at commercial and naval shipyards during the construction or repair phase of a ship.

The term is derived from the words "ship" and "fit", essentially, "fitting" parts of the "ship" together.

Naval usage

A shipfitter is an enlisted or civilian person who works on heavy metal like high-tensile steel, high yield strength steel, etc.

Shipfitters fabricate, assemble and erect all structural parts of a ship, coordinate all fixed tank work performed on submarines and ships and coordinate all sonar dome work. Shipfitters also use heavy machinery such as plate planners, shears, punches, drill presses, bending rolls, bending slabs, plate beveler, saws, presses up to 750 tons, angle roll (vertical and horizontal), dogs and wedges. Shipfitters are responsible for hydro and air testing of tanks, and compartments as well as perform grinding, drilling, and fit up operations on submarines and surface crafts.

Ship builder usage

  • A shipfitter is a worker who “fits” together the structural portions of a ship by either welding or by riveting.
  • Lays out position of parts on metal, working from blueprints or templates and using scribe and hand tools.
  • Locates and marks reference lines, such as center, buttock and frame lines.
  • Positions parts in hull of ship, assisted by rigger.
  • Aligns parts in relation to each other, using jacks, turnbuckles, clips, wedges and mauls.
  • Marks location of holes to be drilled and installs temporary fasteners to hold part in place for welding or riveting.
  • Prepares molds and templates for fabrication of nonstandard parts.
  • Rolls, bends, flanges, cuts and shapes plates, beams and other heavy metal parts, using shop machinery, such as plate rolls, presses, bending brakes and joggle machine.
  • Installs packing, gaskets, liners and structural accessories and members, such as doors, hatches, brackets and clips.
  • Tacks weld clips and brackets in place prior to permanent welding.
  • A wide range of hand and power tools is ordinarily used by a shipfitter. He normally uses these tools for woodworking, measuring and attaching metal fittings, bulkheads and plates to the ship. If parts need to be altered to fit into certain areas of the ship, the shipfitter regularly uses power saws to change the dimensions of both metal and wooden components