Ocean Engineer

By: Stetson Wallace

Job Description

Ocean Engineers use a variety of different types of engineering(Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, General) while working with aquatic scientists to develop tools that help in researching the ocean. Ocean Engineers will work in a variety of conditions that range from working independently on the shore to working on a team in a submarine in the middle of the ocean.

Activities/Areas of Study

Areas of study:

  • Engineering principles
  • Knowledge of ocean environment
  • Electrical engineering
  • Ocean exploration
  • Mechanical engineering


  • Creating instruments to be used by Oceanographers and Marine Biologists
  • Fixing and maintaining equipment
  • Traveling on ocean
  • Submersible diving
  • Other ocean exploration

Equipment Used

VA500 Altimeter:

This device is used for under water positioning purposes. It works by sending GPS coordinates and the altitude of the sensor through a transmitter. These are most commonly used on ROVs and AUVs.

Benthos MiniROVER MKII:

ROV used to explore ocean up to depths of 500 feet. This vessel is surface-controlled and self propelled.

Side Scan Sonar:

Uses sonar technology to create a very detailed map of the ocean floor and can cover a large area. Used to create maps of ocean floor, involves towing a sonar device behind a boat and bouncing sound waves off the floor of the ocean and picking them up with the same device.



  • Bachelor's degree required in engineering, architecture, or other related discipline
  • Better employment opportunities if you obtain master's degree


  • Most Employers require that you have 5 years of ocean structure design experience
  • Must be proficient with ocean design software


  • Median salary for Ocean Engineer in 2012 was $169,000


  • As you prove yourself through new innovations and discoveries, there are endless opportunities to expand your career as an ocean engineer

Pros and Cons


  • You have the opportunity to design equipment that could change ocean exploration
  • You get to explore the ocean for research
  • Able to use all of the latest technology
  • Great pay


  • Sometimes dangerous environment
  • Could be at sea for periods of time

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Dangerous weather while on the job

Job Outlook

Today ocean engineers are used primarily for oil extraction and ocean exploration, but new discoveries are being made every day so the need for ocean engineers could very well change. Jobs for ocean engineers are expected to grow 17% by 2020, or just about average for all careers.


Ocean Engineering is very important to today's society for several reasons. One of the main reasons is that through the innovations of these engineers, we have been able to discover and extract large amounts of oil from under the ocean floor. Another reason ocean engineers are important is they create instruments that allow us to reach parts of the ocean once thought impossible. Also, if it wasn't for these engineers, we would not be able to see the many strange natural occurrences in the ocean such as the mid-Atlantic ridge.