What is a Marine Engineer?

A marine engineer designs, builds, tests, and repairs ships, boats, underwater craft, offshore platforms, and drilling equipment.

Marine engineers often work closely with naval architects to design everything from small yachts and fishing boats, to submarines and aircraft carriers.

What does a Marine Engineer do?

A marine engineer works in researching, developing, and constructing new marine vessels and their component parts. This includes creating blueprints, designing engines and propulsion systems, testing prototypes, and supervising the construction of full sized ships.

A marine engineer looking at drawings.

Marine engineers can choose to work on certain types of vessels (for example, passenger boats, sailboats, cruise ships, submarines, or military battleships and aircraft carriers). They often oversee the construction of prototypes and help to test and tweak finished boats.

When working on smaller recreational vessels, such as sailboats, speedboats, and fishing boats, marine engineers will design new models, improve different types of on-board systems, experiment with different types of fuels and fuel systems, navigation systems, steering systems, propulsion devices, outboard and inboard motors, and other important equipment.

When working on larger ships, such as cruise ships or ocean liners, marine engineers use computer-aided drafting programs to conduct simulated efficiency tests and to design systems. They are very involved with the construction process, and have specialized knowledge of large-scale power supply systems and propulsion devices.

Marine engineers are responsible for designing on-board systems such as:

  • Steering or control systems
  • Propulsion systems (gas turbine, diesel engine, or nuclear reactor)
  • Mechanical and electrical systems

Are you suited to be a marine engineer?

Marine engineers have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also realistic, meaning they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty.

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What is the workplace of a Marine Engineer like?

Much of a marine engineer's work can be performed in an office setting, but there are times when sea trials are part of the job. Marine engineers may spend time aboard a ship testing how the vessel is performing, gathering information for maintenance, or for an upcoming retrofit.

Marine engineers who specialize in offshore drilling often spend time on the oil rig to oversee maintenance or repair efforts involving the rig's mechanical systems.

Marine Engineers are also known as:
Marine Design Engineer