marine engineer

What does a Marine Engineer or Naval Architect do?

Marine engineers and naval architects design, build, and maintain ships. These ships vary in design such as aircraft carriers, tankers, submarines, and sailboats. In fact, these engineers may also work directly on the ships and perform inspections. Whereas marine engineers may work with the internal systems of a ship like steering, propulsion, refrigeration, and electrical systems, naval architects design a ships hulls, form, and structure. Next, watch a video to learn what a marine engineer and naval architect does.

How to Become a Marine Engineer and Naval Architect

marine engineer

A marine engineer should hold a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering technology, marine engineering, or marine systems engineering. Some also have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or electrical engineering. A naval architect needs to have a bachelor’s degree in naval architecture. Courses include physics, calculus, and computer design. There are 6 marine academies that offer these programs. Specific courses in these occupations include mechanics of materials, fluid mechanics, and ship hull strength. Should one study at the maritime academy, it would usually include spending time at sea to gain an onboard operating experience that would normally be in the summer.

The programs in marine engineering technology, naval architecture, marine engineering, and marine systems engineering are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). In addition to the bachelor’s degree, the FE exam must be taken to be considered an engineer in training (EIT) or (EI’s) engineer interns. Then after acquiring work experience requirements, one can take the second exam called the Principles and Practice of Engineering for entry-level positions.

Those students at maritime academies take an exam for a US Merchant Mariners License from the Coast Guard. He or she gets a license in the 1st stage, which is the Third Assistant Engineers License. Next is more testing with experience in order to gain a Second, moving to a First Assistant Engineers License. The highest level being a Civil Engineer which comes with more responsibility and higher pay. Students in high school that wish to pursue his career path should take classes in chemistry, physics, algebra, calculus, and trigonometry, and drafting.

Job Description of a Marine Engineer and Naval Architect

A marine engineer drafts detailed drawings and schematics and systems layouts, as well as work requests and job specifications from the inspections of marine machinery and equipment. They conduct performance, operational, and environmental tests as well. They design and oversee the repairs installation and testing of marine equipment and ensure equipment and machinery is in compliance with required standards. He or she prepares reports, cost estimates, design construction schedules, and track specifications. They also design and maintain offshore oil rigs, as well as alternative energy projects, like wind turbines and tidal power.

A naval architect studies design proposals and specifications of a ships size, weight, and speed to establish it’s basic characteristics. They establish the ships center of gravity, ideal hull form, and data on buoyancy and stability. He or she would have the job of designing entire ship hulls and superstructures, as well as the complete layout of ship’s interiors to include spaces for passenger compartments cargo space, ladder wells, machinery, auxiliary equipment, and elevators. They meet with marine engineers to design the layouts of heating and ventilation systems, boiler room equipment, electrical distribution systems, refrigeration equipment, safety systems, propulsion machinery, and steering. They evaluate the ship’s performance during trials at sea and in the dock in order to make any changes in design to meet national and international standards.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Marine Engineers and Naval Architects.

National Center for O*NET Development. 17-2121.01. O*NET OnLine.