Marine Engineering

Ruvid Rivera

What is Marine Engineering?

  • Marine engineers design, operate, maintain, and repair the mechanical systems of ships. Working closely with the architect who designs the ship structure, a marine engineer designs the propulsion, auxiliary power machinery, and other equipment needed to run the ship.
  • Most marine engineers are employed by private firms that build ships or make the equipment used in them.
  • Marine engineers may specialize in certain kinds of equipment such as pumps, engines, gears, heaters, or deck machinery.
  • Others concentrate on certain steps in shipbuilding, such as estimating the cost of the equipment needed.
  • Marine engineers may also be inspectors, specializing in the repair and maintenance of a ship. They may be in charge of different crews that install equipment, such as building heating and cooling systems to protect cargo.

Where would you work?

Marine engineers divide their time between their offices and work sites. Work sites may be hazardous. Engineers also may travel to business meetings and professional conferences. They generally work forty hours a week but may work longer hours to meet deadlines. Engineers aboard merchant marine ships may face unpleasant and dangerous conditions at sea, and they can be away from home for long periods.

What kind of education is needed?

  • A bachelor's degree in ocean engineering, mechanical engineering, or marine engineering is required to enter the field.
  • Undergraduate programs for prospective candidates should include mechanics, hydraulics, materials testing, electrical theory and practice, and mathematics.
  • An individual who wants to work as a marine engineer must be licensed.
  • To qualify for a license, candidates must be a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy or one of the six state academies. They must also pass a written exam, physical tests, and have some sea experience.

How much does it pay?

Marine engineers earn a median salary of $72,040 per year. Experienced marine engineers can make more than $100,000 per year. Most workers receive paid vacations and holidays, insurance, and pension plans. Navy personnel receive additional benefits.