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How to become a Marine Engineering Technician

marine engineering technician careers

What does a Marine Engineering Technician do?

Marine engineering technicians, also known as marine technicians or shipbuilding technicians, design, build, convert, test, service and repair boats and ships, underwater craft (ROVs – remotely operated vehicles), and offshore platforms, plant and equipment.

Marine technicians are involved with all aspects of the mechanical, electrical and electronic installation and maintenance of vessels and equipment; this can include engines, propellers, pumps, generators, pipework, hydraulics, transmission systems, navigation and communication equipment.

Work can be carried out at sea, working on board a vessel or platform; or it could be onshore, working in a shipbuilding or ship repair yard. Technicians also work for specialist marine equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

Technicians may have supervisory responsibilities for marine craftsmen/women, but they themselves work under the direction of a marine engineer. For details of craft and engineering positions, see the profiles for Marine Craftsman/woman and Marine Engineer in the Manufacturing and Engineering section.

What's the working environment like working as a Marine Engineering Technician?

Marine engineering technicians normally work a 38-hour week but overtime is common during busy periods.

The environment in which technicians work varies considerably; it can include offices, shipyards or ports, or it may involve working at sea (or underwater) installing and servicing equipment in all weathers and conditions.

What does it take to become a Marine Engineering Technician?

As a marine engineering technician, you should:

  • be a good team worker
  • be able to find practical solutions to problems
  • be computer literate and have knowledge of computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM)
  • be able to understand technical plans and drawings
  • be able to communicate clearly
  • be aware of safety procedures
  • be willing to travel and be able to work at sea for extended periods.

Diving skills will be required for some underwater work.

Marine Engineering Technician Career Opportunities

Work is available in civilian or naval shipyards, and boatyards and marinas building, servicing or repairing smaller vessels. Opportunities also exist with onshore marine engineering companies sub-contracted to provide services to shipbuilders, platform construction companies and specialist suppliers of plant and equipment.

Whilst there has been a general decline in the shipbuilding industry, there has been growth in the leisure craft sector, with a demand for maintenance, refitting and repair services. For experienced technicians there are also opportunities to work on contracts overseas.

Career progression would normally involve moving into supervisory positions. With further training and experience, higher management and project lead roles may become available. See the profile for Marine Engineer. There may be opportunities to specialise in a particular area, for instance, marine design or specialist equipment sales and support.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Marine Engineering Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

British Marine Federation
Marine House
Thorpe Lea Road
TW20 8BF

Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST)
80 Coleman Street

Merchant Navy Training Board
Carthusian Court
12 Carthusian Street

The Royal Navy

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682

Women into Science and Engineering
22 Old Queen Street
Tel: 020 7227 8421

Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland)
20-24 York Street
BT15 1AQ
Tel: 028 9032 9878

Engineering Council
10 Maltravers Street
Tel: 020 7240 7891

Courses to help you become a Marine Engineering Technician