Naval Architect Careers

How to become Naval Architect

What does a Naval Architect do?

Naval architects are professional engineers who oversee the design, construction, maintenance and repair of sea-going vessels of all kinds (both surface and underwater, civil and military) and off-shore constructions, such as oil rigs.

Those involved in design consider function, appearance, safety and costs, liaising with specialists such as naval professionals, marine engineers, scientists, business managers, lawyers and accountants in order to ensure that they produce designs which meet the requirements of clients and are safe, seaworthy and economic. They produce detailed diagrams, often using computer aided design (CAD), and may use scale models or computer simulations to test their designs.

Those specialising in construction and repair integrate and manage all activities involved in shipyards, or of a particular section, such as planning, production or fitting out.

Some naval architects are employed as surveyors, ensuring that vessels and structures comply with safety regulations.

Other aspects of the work can include giving professional advice and technical support to customers of the maritime industry, being responsible for ship and equipment procurement, and working in research in universities and in industry.

What's the working environment like working as a Naval Architect?

Working hours may vary, but those based in an office environment will normally work 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday. Those involved in the shipyards may be required to work irregular hours.

Although design is mainly office-based, naval architects may also carry out some of their work in laboratories or on the factory floor. They may also work on board ships, boats and rigs, which can be physically demanding, involving climbing ladders, walking long distances, and being out in all weathers, sometimes at sea.

Location of jobs is mainly restricted to coastal towns and cities. Naval architects may travel within the working day, and spend periods away from home.

What does it take to become a Naval Architect?

To be a naval architect you should:

  • have technical and practical ability
  • have a logical and enquiring mind, and an analytical and creative approach to problem-solving
  • have the ability to handle complex information
  • be able to use computers to produce and interpret technical drawings and diagrams
  • have good written and verbal communication skills
  • have leadership skills
  • be able to work as part of a team.

Naval Architect Career Opportunities

Naval architects are employed by various bodies, including shipbuilding and repairing companies, the Ministry of Defence (MOD), research establishments, Lloyd’s of London, offshore oil and gas companies, and marine equipment manufacturers. Some naval architects specialise in one or more areas, including design; construction and repair; marketing and sales; operations, regulations and surveying; research and development.

They may also become consultants, providing technical and commercial guidance, support and project management for design, construction, refits or conversions.

It may be possible for experienced naval architects to progress to senior positions or to move outside the maritime industry.

There may be opportunities to work abroad.

Further information

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

Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA)
10 Upper Belgrave Street
Tel: 020 7235 4622

Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology
80 Coleman Street
Tel: 020 7382 2600

Engineering Council UK (ECUK)

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

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