Marine Engineer Careers

How to become Marine Engineer

What does a Marine Engineer do?

Marine engineers design, build, convert, test and maintain boats and ships, underwater craft (ROVs – remotely operated vehicles), and offshore platforms, plant and equipment. In addition, engineers are normally responsible for managing a team of marine technicians. See the profile for Marine Technician.

The work involves a detailed technical knowledge of naval construction, and mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering systems, all of which play a part in marine engineering. Marine engineers work in a variety of sectors:

  • Shipbuilding, boatbuilding and repair – working in design, development, construction and maintenance of ships, boats and associated machinery
  • Offshore oil and gas industry – working in the design, construction, modification and operation of offshore platforms, rigs, pipelines and equipment
  • Marine surveying – inspection of ships and offshore installations and plant, examining their design, construction, seaworthiness, safety and maintenance requirements
  • Merchant Navy and Royal Navy – working as a marine engineering officer ensuring machinery, instruments and systems work safely and efficiently - in the Royal Navy engineers can specialise in surface ships, submarines or weapons systems.

Experienced marine engineers usually hold incorporated or chartered status.

Chartered engineers are normally involved at a strategic planning level, researching and developing new designs, innovations and more efficient processes for the application of new and existing technologies within their chosen engineering specialism. They are often project leaders and are responsible for teams of incorporated engineers and technicians.

Incorporated engineers specialise in managing the process of applying current engineering solutions in the most cost-effective manner. They have a detailed knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology, and have the skills and know- how to put plans into practice. They often hold key operational management roles.

What's the working environment like working as a Marine Engineer?

Marine engineers often work flexible hours, which may include shiftwork and weekends.

Marine engineers can work away from home for long periods, on ships, submarines or offshore installations. Jobs in design or construction are shore-based. Outdoor work can sometimes be very physically demanding.

What does it take to become a Marine Engineer?

To be a marine engineer, you should:

  • have strong analytical skills and an innovative approach to problem solving
  • have excellent mathematical and IT skills
  • have strong communication and negotiating skills
  • have an excellent technical knowledge with computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) skills
  • be able to prioritise and plan effectively
  • be able to work within budgetary constraints
  • be willing to keep up-to-date with new developments
  • be able to manage a team
  • be aware of health and 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 Engineer Career Opportunities

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Marine Engineer 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

The UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC)

Facts and Stats:

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel was only 5ft tall and wore a top hat to make himself look taller
  • Engineering generates more than 40 per cent of the UK¿s national wealth
  • The Box Hill tunnel, part of Brunel¿s Great Western Railway, took five years to dig and at two miles long was the longest tunnel in the world at the time

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