Barotrauma: Mechanic Guide (Average to Artisan)

A guide to the Mechanic class, including talent explanations and recommended order for leveling up.


The Fledgling Handyman

Ah, the Mechanic. Responsible for keeping the submarine’s machines in working order, you’ll have a place in any crew that dives in alien waters. You could be forgiven for thinking that your only role is being a wrench monkey and keeping the engine & pumps running. When you sign up as a Mechanic, you are signing up to be a parent. The submarine and all the others inside of it are your babies, and it is your job to create the tools needed to care for your children and help them thrive in the underwater playground. Let’s take a look at the Mechanic’s parenting toolset.

A Note About Item Quality

There are four types of quality that items can be found in – Regular, Good, Excellent, and Masterwork. Good items are denoted by a green border and typically have a 10% bonus to whatever their main function is (tools repair faster, oxygen tanks hold more oxygen, etc). Excellent items have a white border with a 20% bonus, while masterwork items have a purple border with a 30% bonus. Anyone can craft good and excellent quality items as long as they meet the item’s crafting requirements or have a skill level of at least 100 in the skill needed to make the item, respectively. However, specific talents are needed to make masterwork items. The mechanic gets the ability to make the most masterwork items of any class, including tools, explosives, and oxygen/fuel tanks.

It is very easy to upgrade an item to a better quality. Regardless of quality, items will deconstruct into the same material and take the same material to fabricate. Just deconstruct whatever your current tool is, take the output and set it into the fabricator, then make the same item again. Bam, it’s now the quality of whatever your skill level allows. When you hit a new quality threshold, take it upon yourself to run around the sub and upgrade whatever you can, putting the upgraded tools back where you found them when finished. It’ll be a pleasant surprise for the crew and the better their tools are, the more efficient they are.

Machinist Tree

The Machinist tree is based around the time-honored method of improving your children – hitting them until they work better. You take these skills not out of hate for your submarine, but out of love. The main ability here, Tinkerer, quite literally gives you the ability to give parts of the submarine an attitude adjustment.

Tinkerer (T1): You can use a wrench to tinker with devices. You can tinker with a pump, increasing its pumping rate by 400%. You can tinker with an engine, increasing its torque by 150%. You can tinker with a loader, increasing the connected turret’s firing rate and damage by 20%, while lowering its power usage by 20%. The device is only affected for as long as you keep tinkering with it. You can tinker for 10 seconds. After you have tinkered with a device, you cannot tinker for 25 seconds.

This is your bread and butter skill. If you have nothing else to do on a sub, tinker! Boost the engine when you’re traveling, boost the weapons if you’re under attack, and boost the pumps to increase vertical maneuverability for the Captain (or get a leak under control in a hurry).

Quickfix (T2): Learn how to make Repair Packs. Whenever you fully repair a device, gain 40 experience. This effect can only occur up to 8 times until you finish another mission.

This is an early-level trap. The Repair Pack allows anyone holding it to automatically succeed in a repairing skill check, but after a few missions and skill books, no one should really need it since they’ll meet the level requirements. The experience perk itself could be handy, but it only applies when something is completely broken down. You do not want to tell the Captain that you let the engine stall so you could get a little more experience, especially when the Captain can just toss you a commendation from their own skill tree to give you free experience.

Mass Production (T2): You can tinker with a fabricator or a deconstructor, increasing their operating rate by 250%. You can tinker with fabricators and deconstructors indefinitely. Gain 75% more skill from fabricating items.

The fabricator is going to be your second home, aside from the engine room. Once you start exploring wrecks and ruins, the expedition team is going to be bringing back a lot of crap that can be broken down in the deconstructor. This talent will help you process all that crap faster, and Security will also be thankful for the ability to churn out railgun shells faster when you run out in the middle of a hectic fight. The skill boost is the cherry on top. Note that you can begin tinkering, deselect the wrench, then use the fabricator/deconstructor while still “tinkering” with it.

Hull Sealer (T3): Learn how to make Fixfoam grenades. You can tinker for an additional 5 seconds.

If you’re an overachiever, you could wire up a huge network of buttons and detonators with the grenades in various rooms of the sub. If there’s a leak in one, just hit the button for the corresponding room and it’ll be sealed up again immediately. For everyone else, it’s easier to just walk in and spray your welding tool everywhere (grabbing a suit beforehand if it’s a total breach). The tinkering buff sounds nice, but if you’re trying to maximize the usefulness of that, the other skill here is much better.

Overclocking (T3): Tinkering with items damages them, but the effects of tinkering are increased by 50%. The cooldown period of tinkering is reduced to 12.5 seconds.

Who cares about damaging something when you’re literally right next to the device and can just repair it yourself? This is a straight buff to your basic tinkering skill allowing you to tinker more often. If you took the Quickfix perk before, you could use this to destroy a random device somewhere and repair it for the experience boost, but it’s a pretty roundabout way of getting experience.

Let It Drain (T4): Learn how to make Portable Pumps. You can only install a maximum of 2 of this item on your submarine. Non-turret devices you tinker with will always function as if they had power.

In regards to the portable pumps, be aware that it is a maximum of 2 per submarine, not 2 per Mechanic. These pumps require a battery to function, and they drain those batteries (and any water) very quickly. Handy if you put them somewhere critical to buy more time to seal a leak, but you may want to invest in Fulgurium battery cells to make them last long enough to really put a bandage on any leaks that would be flooding a room. If your submarine is in dire straits, you’ll want to restore power to turrets before anything else to stop additional damage from happening…and this talent doesn’t let you do that. You’d be better served running around fixing junction boxes and sealing leaks to restore power than you would be tinkering a pump or engine at that point. You can safely ignore this skill until it’s the last one you need.

Technician Tree

Technician Mechanics can be either angry, aggressive parents or loving, caring parents who can kiss and make any submarine boo-boos go away with the latest in repair technology. Security will hopefully be angry and aggressive enough to where you can focus on giving your submarine TLC, but hey, you can do what you want. I’m not your boss.

Safety First (T1): Learn how to make the Safety Harness. Whenever you gain Mechanical Engineering skill, also gain Electrical Engineering skill. As long as your Mechanical Engineering skill is 100 or higher, they gain twice as much Electrical Engineering skill.

Only the Mechanic and Captain don’t have skills that let them write books, so this isn’t a bad choice. If you have an Electrical Engineer in the crew though, they can get a skill to write a book with you which will boost the mechanical & electrical engineering skills of whoever reads it. Ideally, they’ll share with you and you can both profit from it. As for the Safety Harness, it’s a handy piece of outerwear that helps reduce burn & laceration damage as well as stun duration. Handy early on, but when you become skilled enough to not fail repairs, well…

Aggressive Engineering (T1): When you attack with a wrench, you have a 30% chance to attack with 200% additional power and inflict an additional stun. You can repair mechanical devices 20% past their normal maximum condition.

If you end up having to fight off enemies with your wrench, something has gone very, very wrong. Wrenches don’t have much attack power, so you’d just be using this talent to swing wildly and hope for a stun so you can get away from whatever is attacking you. Alternately, if you wield two wrenches, the 30% chance happens on each hit so you might get lucky and be able to lock down a single enemy, though you’ll be in trouble if there’s more than one. The 120% repair is nice, but note that the device has to actually be damaged first – you can’t repair something at 100% to bring it up to 120%. Overall, this is a pretty niche skill, and the time saved by repairing things to 120% will be small considering how fast you can repair at a high skill level.

Hull Fixer (T2): Learn how to make the Handheld Status Monitor. Welding tools and plasma cutters you fabricate are 1 higher quality. Repair hulls 25% faster with welding tools.

This item is your baby monitor. When the sub has a booboo, use this to find out where it is and use the upgraded welding tool & repair speed to patch it up fast. You can eventually use this to make masterwork welding tools and plasma cutters for the whole crew, increasing repair efficiency further. Plasma cutters will be handy for checking out wrecks and alien ruins too.

Crisis Management (T3): The more filled with water your submarine is, the faster you repair devices and swim, up to an additional 75% repair speed and 75% swimming speed.

Handy…I guess. Note that it isn’t always 75% repair & swimming speed, it scales up based on how flooded the sub is. Considering your job is to patch holes and fix pumps so the sub isn’t flooded, hopefully this isn’t a talent you’ll ever see the full use of. Not to mention, you’ll likely have to wear a diving suit if there’s a massive breach, and combat suits increase your swimming speed anyway.


Pyromaniac (T3): When you inflict burning damage on an enemy, gain 40% physical damage resistance for 5 seconds. Inflict 25% more burning damage..

Again, as a mechanic, you really shouldn’t have to fight for your life unless things have gone extremely wrong. Still, this skill means you can quickly spray something with your plasma cutter or welding tool and get some damage resistance that can hopefully help you survive long enough to find better gear or for help to arrive. I guess you could also technically get a flamer from somewhere and go fire-crazy, but that wouldn’t be setting a good example for your kids now would it?

Artisan Smith (T4): Learn how to make Dementonite wrenches, crowbars, screwdrivers, and diving knives. Tools you fabricate are 1 higher quality. Gain a bonus of 30 to Mechanical Engineering.

This unlocks masterwork and dementonite tools, which provide a 30% and 40% bonus to their respective uses. The Dementonite tools inflict psychosis damage to whoever is hit by them as well. As soon as you can make masterwork tools, have every crewmate turn in their old, crappy versions of the tools and give them upgraded versions to increase the repair capabilities of everyone. The skill boost here will also help you repair mechanical devices even faster past the normal cap of 100.

Pioneer Tree

The Pioneer tree for parents who want to leave the kids at home and have adult nights of busting some heads or scavenging for materials. These skills are for mechanics who want to leave the sub and gather supplies, explore wrecks, and take a more hands-on approach to threats than just playing defensively.

Scrounger (T1): Whenever you open a container in a wreck for the first time, you have a 40% chance of finding an additional scrap. When you deconstruct scrap, gain 50 experience. Force doors open 50% faster.

This makes you the go-to lead for diving expeditions to wrecks. Pry open doors and get additional loot from containers while retreating to let security handle any nasties that are on the other side of doors you open. You may want to debate holding on to scrap for a bit depending on your level up plans, since there are further talents in this tree that will make scrap even more useful.

Miner (T2): Whenever you deconstruct an ore, you have a 50% chance to gain double the output. Deal 100% more damage to structures with cutters. Detach ores 100% faster with cutters.

These buffs are handy, but far from essential. Ores typically don’t take long to detach as-is, and you’ll typically find groups of ores together so you’ll often get enough to make a few things. Your best bet is to become familiar with all the uses of the recipes you can craft and see if there are any you really need to make a lot of. Remember that some ores can be bought at outposts, and you’ll have to convince the captain to stop and let you mine if the sub is going by any deposits.

Demolitions Expert (T2): Gain a bonus of 25 to Weapons. Explosives you fabricate are of 1 higher quality.

Lets you become best friends with security. Making a lot of things that go boom, better, is a great way to contribute to the defense of the sub. Have security bring any normal quality explosives to you so you can return them bigger and better. Just make sure you don’t leave anything unattended while fabricating, lest some crewmate with less than pure intentions comes across and swipes a few.

Canned Heat (T3): Fuel and oxygen tanks you fabricate are of 1 higher quality. Whenever you play an accordion, the ally nearest to you will gain 15 experience every second. When they do, you gain 10 experience. This effect can only occur up to 20 times until you finish another mission.

Sounds nice, and means you can create masterwork tanks that have 30% more capacity than normal. However, everyone should be taking multiple oxygen tanks out on expeditions anyway, and the 20% boost from excellent quality tanks is more than enough as-is. Welding fuel isn’t used up very quickly either, so making those tanks masterwork has little purpose as well. The experience buff is nice but the Captain can award commendations after a mission (and can even buy more from some outposts). If this skill came a bit earlier it might be handy, but this is at minimum three levels in, and a Captain may already be earning two commendations with a third well on the way by this point.

Elbow Grease (T3): Gain an additional percentage to Melee Power and Maximum Health equal to 40% of your Mechanical skill. Whenever you deconstruct scrap, gain a bonus of 3 to Mechanical. This talent can only give up to 100 skill bonus. This bonus is lost on death.

Now we’re talking. Whether or not you plan to be offensive, the mechanical boost will help your repair efforts and make you more survivable in any situation. With this and Artisan Smith, you can eventually hit up to 230 mechanical engineering, which will let you repair devices in the blink of an eye.

Scrap Savant (T4): You can refine 3 scrap to any alien material. Gain 150 experience when you fabricate an alien material. Whenever you open a container in a wreck for the first time, you have a 80% chance of finding an additional scrap.

Alien materials refer to Dementonite, Fulgurium, Incendium, Oxygenite, Physicorium, and Sulphurite. These are in pretty high demand for recipes for other classes, so you’ll be pretty popular if you can just churn these out. There’s no cap on the experience bonus here, so you’ll start racking up experience pretty quickly if your captain takes multiple wreck salvage missions and watches for wrecks on the seafloor between other missions.

Recommended Skill Order

There are a few different ways you can start your mechanical journey. Grabbing Safety First is a good choice, allowing you to pull double duty with electrical repairs after a bit. After that, Tinkerer is a great next step as it’ll give you something to do in your downtime. Getting Scrounger early if your crew takes on a lot of sub wreck missions is also handy since you’ll start getting a stockpile of scrap which will help you down the line when your crew is ready to make higher tier items with alien materials.

Overall, I recommend putting most skill points into the Machinist tree first to improve your deconstructor output (you’ll end up with a LOT of crap to deconstruct) as well as your Tinkering ability, but don’t get Let It Drain early since it has limited usefulness. Switch to the Technician tree if you’re playing defensively/passively, and the Pioneer tree if you prefer to go on expeditions or security needs some help dealing with threats to the sub.

You typically won’t need the masterwork/item quality boosts too early, since you’ll need maximum skill level to really get the most out of them and the early biomes aren’t super dangerous.

The Payoff

Alright, master mechanic, lets see what you can do as a maximum level parent.

-You can boost the effectiveness of pumps, weapons, and the engine to incredible levels while being able to repair them quickly if they’re damaged by your tinkering or enemies.

-Create masterwork tools to help you and your kids take care of the submarine better, letting anyone repair things faster. You’re the only class that can reach the masterwork level of quality for a lot of items!

-Make some of the deadliest explosives possible, ruining the day of any sealife that crosses your sub or security officer once you’ve outfitted them with masterwork explosives.

-Become able to create rare alien materials that are used in higher level recipes for both you and the crew, all from random scrap you found in a wreck. If you were always fascinated by Tony Stark making his first Iron Man suit in a cave with a box of random crap, here’s your chance to replicate his success.

-Use the Handheld Status Monitor to see how the sub is doing via no matter where you are, making you the first responder for most breaches and earning the respect of the crew for keeping things in an immaculate state of repair.

When someone needs equipment, they come to you. When there’s extensive damage to the sub, you’re the one the crew calls out for. You’ll definitely be kept busy, but hey – you’ll be responsible for helping your kids succeed and watching them grow, and what more could a proud parent want?

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