Engineering Career Resources

Marine Engineer Job Description

Marine Engineer Job Description

Marine engineers are engineering specialists who design and operate the mechanical operational systems of ships, boats, submarines, remotely operated crafts, and other large marine vessels. Their job is to apply their knowledge of electrical and mechanical engineering to develop and design watercraft propulsion and on-board systems and machinery for marine vehicles. Marine engineers are also responsible for maintenance and repairs, and they are typically in charge of conducting tests of the equipment they design.

Marine engineers usually work with the architect who designed the ship. However, the marine engineer focuses primarily on the power machinery and all the other things needed for the ship to operate and function. While the architect is responsible for aesthetic elements of ship design, the marine engineer ensures that all the systems work properly and meet safety standards and regulations.

Some marine engineers work in offshore engineering, or maritime engineering, which is a related discipline that deals with fixed and floating structures, such as offshore wind farms and oil platforms. Maritime engineers are typically responsible for the design and operation of such structures.

Marine engineers can specialize in a number of areas, including marine propulsion, marine architecture, engine room, and marine electronics engineering. Marine electronics engineering, or oceanographic engineering, deals with the design and development of electronic devices that are used in the marine environment, such as remote sensing systems.

Skills and qualifications

Marine engineers must have good math, design, and IT skills. Leadership, organizational and communication skills, as well as the ability to prioritize, are an asset for engineers in senior roles who must coordinate and supervise teams or negotiate with vendors.

To become a marine engineer, a bachelor's degree in ocean engineering, mechanical engineering, marine technology, or marine engineering is required by most employers. The classes one should focus on while receiving their bachelor's degree are mechanics, electrical theory and mathematics. Most marine engineers are also licensed as merchant marines. They can also get their training as engineering officers with the Royal Navy or Mechant Navy, and move to roles in the commercial sector later.

The best way for graduates to find an open position as a marine engineer is to seek out university professors or job placement offices. They will be able to guide the candidate toward the right path in becoming a marine engineer and obtaining all the relevant certifications. Once the individual has found the position they are seeking, they must contact that company and find out what sort of license is required. Then they may opt to apply, or to obtain their merchant marine license. 


Most marine engineers work for privately owned companies, but there are also those who work as consultants and do freelance work as well.  Just as with other fields of employment, there are many areas for marine engineers to specialize in, such as engines, deck machinery, and gears. Some marine engineers focus on shipbuilding specifically. They can also be employed as ship inspectors who ensure that the machinery on the ship functions properly. The ship inspectors inspect the vessels and ship, inspecting all the wiring and ensuring that all systems are up to date and in good working order.