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Career as a Marine Engineer

Who is a Marine Engineer?

A marine engineer is someone who designs, builds, tests and repairs ships, boats, underwater craft, offshore platforms, and drilling equipment. They 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, which may include creating blueprints, designing engines and propulsion systems, testing prototypes, and supervising the construction of full-size ships. 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).

  • He or she often oversees the construction of prototypes and helps 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.

  • The engineer is very involved with the construction process, and has 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 system.

Types of Marine Engineers:

Naval architect

Naval Architects is very similar to Marine engineering, but they focus more on the overall design of the ship. The Architectures worries about the size, weight, and efficiency of the vessel and base the ship structure on safety standards. The reason worry about the specifications of the vessel is because they account for gravity, buoyancy, and stability to affect how the performance of the vessel.

Mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers design the main propulsion plant, the powering and mechanization aspects of the ship functions such as steering, anchoring , cargo handling, heating, ventilation, air conditioning interior and exterior communication, and other related requirements. Electrical power generation and electrical power distribution systems are typically designed by their suppliers; only installation is the design responsibility of the marine engineer.

Oceanographic engineer

Oceanographic engineering is concerned with mechanical, electrical, and electronic, and computing technology deployed to support oceanography, and also falls under the umbrella of marine engineering.

Offshore engineer

Civil engineering for an offshore environment, the design and construction of fixed and floating marine structures, such as oil platforms and offshore wind farms is generally called offshore engineering.

What is the workplace of a Marine Engineer like?

  • Much of a marine engineer's work can be performed in the office, 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 and naval architects hold over 5,000 jobs. Most of their time is spent in offices, designing projects and solving problems with the help of special computer software.

  • They occasionally need to go out on the open ocean in the ships they design, in order to maintain or test them.

Knowledge areas that need to be acquired

Public Safety and Security: You need to have the knowledge of relevant marine equipment, policies, strategies, and procedures to promote effective the local, state, or national security operations to ensure protection of any data, people, institutions, and property.

Transportation: You need to have knowledge of methods and principles for moving goods to people by sea, air, road or rail, along with the benefits and associated costs.

Customer and Personal Service: You need knowledge of principles and the relative processes for providing excellent personal customer services, which includes needs assessments, ensuring the quality standards, and evaluating the satisfaction of your employer.

Administration and Management: A sea captain, chief engineer or first mate needs knowledge of various business and management principles that are involved in resource allocation, strategic planning, human resources, leadership skills, various production methods, and the adequate coordination of resources and people.

Education and Training: You need to have knowledge of methods and principles for the training curriculum, design, teaching, and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of these specific marine training methods.

Telecommunications: You must have knowledge of broadcasting, transmission, switching, control, and the operation of any sea based or land-based telecommunications systems.

Geography: For travelling at sea you need knowledge of the methods and principles behind the features of sea, land, and air masses, as well as their physical characteristics, interrelationships, locations, and distribution along with certain plants, animal life, and human life.

Personnel and Human Resources: You must have knowledge of the various procedures and principles for training crew, recruitment and selection, the compensation and benefits, certain labor negotiations and relations, as well as information systems.

Mechanical: You should have knowledge of all the tools and machines that might be used on board, including how they are designed, used, repaired, and maintained.

Psychology: Knowledge of human behavior is necessary in this line of work as well as performance and what motivates fellow crew members. You should be able to assess individual differences in ability, interests and personalities, learning methods, psychological research methods, and behavioral and affective disorders, as well as certain treatments.


1) Reading Comprehension -- Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

2) Mathematics -- Using mathematics to solve problems.

3) Critical Thinking -- Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

4) Writing -- Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

5) Equipment Selection -- Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.

6) Coordination -- Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

7) Science -- Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

8) Quality Control Analysis -- Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

9) Judgment and Decision Making -- Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

10) Complex Problem Solving -- Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

11) Active Learning -- Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Analytical thinking

Everywhere when you look, there are different kinds of motors, engines and many other machines designed carefully by engineers. They observe and analyze experimental data based on different machines. After analyze they think and see the world through an analytical lens. Naturally curious. They move on to puzzles and problems that require expertise thinking. While their features come in handy to troubleshoot device failure or fix faults in a new module.

Hard Working

The marine engineers are hardworking and are extremely determined and driven with intention. Their persistence and insistence helped them to rigorously complete their engineering degree which needs a scientific approach and mathematical aptitude. They diligently find themselves lost in a project by considering all their potentials and always move forward conclusively. They should be valued in terms of their work ethic and many industrial sectors including marine.

Calm Nature

To become a Marine Engineer, you must have different personal characteristics. Excellent English language skills and physical ability are very important. You must have the excellent technical knowledge, math, and IT skills. You must have the ability to stay calm under pressure and know how to handle a deep cold situation. You should have current knowledge of various developments happening in this area. It is essential to keep your business up to date as the candidate in this business needs to be on track with the latest developments. Patience is a key in the field of marine engineering because you need to work with large appliances and engines, and sometimes it can be frustrating. Other than that, you have to be hungry to travel and especially to the sea.

Practical approach

The right engineer’s job can be complicated if you are not proficient in the right skills. Thus, you have a combination of engine room machinery, piping systems, electrical, computers, security first aid, and a maritime engineer. You must be a team player, that is, work efficiently with the team and take a practical approach to daily issues. You must have the ability to remain calm and composed under pressure, and know how to handle any situation. Most importantly, you should enjoy your period at sea because there will be times when you will have to stay longer on the ship and if you do not enjoy being on the sea, it can be monotonous.

Full of creativity

With mathematical talent, Albert Einstein possesses vision. They thrive in the same direction and innovation. They work the challenge of creating new, better, and cheaper ways of producing. When faced with a problem, it is resourceful and sensible when it comes to outlining whether the defect is in the design, material, or mechanism. Great solutions and land research are their specialties. They are happily working alone, but they also emphasize teams where they can exchange ideas for fast-fire.

Good communication skills

Communication is the key when it comes to any engineering. Becoming a marine engineer starts with a mentor in the mechanical engineering department, sensibly planning a college plan of study. Most of the students follow the program with significant subjects like research, science, and mathematics in high school, including unconventional placement courses. Students studying in different classes like chemistry, design, research, thermal science, manufacturing. Requirements for a bachelor’s degree include a general education class, such as art, science, and social studies.

Highly trained

Since the shipping industry is global, you must be qualified for employment onboard ships and engineers must receive training by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). You also need to be certified by the accreditation officer regarding the level of qualification. In India, the DGS (Shipping Directorate General of Shipping) is the maritime training institute and the main governing body that allows their courses. The agency conducts examinations to assess eligibility and to issue appropriate certificates of qualification. These training standards are maintained and globally accepted and accredited, resulting in the acceptance of Indian sailors.


Marine engineers typically need a bachelor's degree in marine engineering, marine systems engineering, or marine engineering technology, and naval architects typically need a bachelor's degree in naval architecture. Programs typically include courses in calculus, physics, and computer-aided design.

Job outlook and salary range in India

Your salary will be determined in part by your rank. This job has five promotional levels, from bottom to top:

Fifth Engineer or Engineering Cadet

Fourth Engineer

Third Engineer

Second Engineer

Chief Engineer

Salary Ranges by Rank

These are the average salary ranges by rank. The figures are salaries paid per month in Indian Rupee and US Dollars :

Fifth Engineer or Engineering Cadet: Rs 35 to 75 thousand INR per month; or 300 to 1200 USD per month

Fourth Engineer: Rs 1.5 to 2.25 lacs INR; or 2000 to 4000 USD per month

Third Engineer: Rs 2.75- 3.5 lacs INR; or 4000 to 5900 USD per month

Second Engineer: Rs 4 to 5 lacs INR; or 7500 to 9500 USD per month

Chief Engineer: Rs 5 lacs and above INR per month; or 10,000 USD and above per month

The salaries are usually paid when the seafarer is on the vessel. No salary is paid when the sailor is at home / vacation. Although some companies pay their sailors every month and even when they are not sailing but the average salaries come to about same.

Frequently asked questions

What is some good advice for Marine Engineering student?

Your first priority should be to study and clear all your doubts by asking questions to your teachers because this is the best time to do so. Don’t be shy to ask silly questions

What are the various Marine Engineer designations?

Marine engineering courses and programs most often culminate in a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in marine engineering; the field is sometimes also referred to as ocean or coastal engineering. Most entry-level jobs in marine engineering only require a bachelor's degree, although a graduate degree can be useful in seeking management, research or teaching positions. In addition to completing a degree program, mariner licensure is often sought and recommended for professionals in the field. Conservation laws.

What is it like being a Marine Engineer?

A Naval/Marine engineer has too many tasks and duties to take over. A marine engineer has all the functions and marine engines to check. In short, a naval engineer is a person who deals with everything related to the ship, from small things to big issues. Now the responsibility of ship engineers is not only related to ships, but also must ensure the safety of the crew and sailors.

How difficult is it to become a Marine Engineer?

Irregular and odd working hours:

Usually Marine engineers are assigned only 8 hours of work but are called on duty on anytime 24x7 whether they on duty or not for any assistance. The normal working hours during emergency went up-to 20 hrs. many times so one need to be fit and ready to work at all times.

Disturbed Family life: Most seafarers complain of having challenged family life because they are cut off the family for a long time, that is, 6 months or more. In particular, marriages find it difficult to reconcile family life and work of a marine engineer, so it is very important that your family needs to be truly supportive and understanding about your career.

Sea-life is boring: Being in the ship sometimes for as long as 6 months is boring as you don't have much to do and go around other than your work and the ship. seeing water all the time also makes you psychologically depressed so it’s necessary to keep up your moral up and always ready to work.

Market Dependent: Availability of jobs at junior levels depends a lot on the market condition like boom or recession. So, one may find himself in a catch-22 situation if the market is at the decline.

Is it worth to study Marine Engineering?

Yes... marine engineering is worth the risk.

After completing Marine Engineering courses candidates can option for lucrative career options in public and private shipping companies, engine production firms, ship building and designing firms, navy, research bodies. ... They can also get employed in different foreign and Indian shipping companies.

Are Marine Engineers happy?

We conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, marine engineers rate their career happiness 3.2 out of 5 stars which puts them in the bottom 47% of careers.

What are the professional courses one can pursue as a Marine Engineer?

After doing a four-year marine engineering degree course, a candidate becomes eligible to work on ships (after pursuing required supplementary courses). A fresh marine engineering graduate will join a ship as a trainee or junior engineer for six months working contract. After completion of the training and the necessary sea-time, a fifth engineer is eligible to appear for class IV exams, clearing which, he or she will be able to join as a 4th engineer. After gaining a good amount of experience and on the basis of performance, a company will provide promotion to the third engineer. On completion of required sea time as a third engineer, one can give Class II exams to become a second engineer.

Similarly, on completion of necessary sea time and gaining a good amount of experience, a second engineer can give Class I exam to get promotion as chief engineer. Do note that the promotion will solely depend on the company’s decision even if the marine engineer has the experience and certificate. The process might also differ in the country and company one belongs to.

The above graph is a brief overview of hierarchy and job opportunities for Marine engineering candidates. The Shore Job entirely depends on the capability/ experience of the candidate and requirement of the shore company. After marine engineering, a candidate has to do various advanced courses and management studies to opt for a shore job even having sailed as a chief engineer

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