Question: While I was at the Miami Boat Show Recently I was entering the Best Buy marine electronics booth and noticed a sign touting ABYC technician certification. I snapped a photo of the sign I’m referring to on my cell phone. What does it actually mean?

The Best Buy Electronics booth in Miami, showing off their ABYC certifcation affiliation.

Answer: Since my primary employer is the ABYC, and in fact as their Curriculum Director I’m the creator of the ABYC certification programs, this is an easy question for me to answer—albeit with some bias.

The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) has been the leader within the marine industry in developing industry-wide certifications for people working n the industry. Currently the certifications ABYC offers are marine electrical, marine corrosion, diesel engines, gasoline engines, standards knowledge, marine systems, AC and refrigeration and composite boat builder. The ABYC is currently developing a new certification that will address issues related to accident investigation, and the development of that certification is being funded by a grant from the US Coast Guard.

The unique thing about the ABYC industry certifications is that they work with a group known as NOCTI (National Occupational Competency Testing Institute) in developing the programs. NOCTI is highly regarded globally and a NOCTI certification is even regarded within the US legal system as a validating credential in matters involving any litigation. Other certifying groups within the marine industry don’t offer that level of credential because they have not bothered to go through the NOCTI rigor in their program development.

Best Buy has wisely chosen to mandate ABYC electrical certification for the Geek Squad technicians that they are using in their new marine electronics business.

Written by: Ed Sherman
Ed Sherman is a regular contributor to, as well as to Professional Boatbuilder and Cruising World, where he previously was electronics editor. He also is the curriculum director for the American Boat and Yacht Council. Previously, Ed was chairman of the Marine Technology Department at the New England Institute of Technology. Ed’s blog posts appear courtesy of his website, EdsBoatTips.