Marine engineer

Description

Marine engineers design, build, maintain and repair the hull, mechanical, electronic equipment and auxiliary systems such as engines, pumps, heating, ventilation, generator sets. They work on all types of boats from pleasure crafts to naval vessels, including submarines.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to marine engineer:

marine engineering specialist
vessel systems engineer
ship engineer
marine design engineer
marine repair engineer
marine engineering expert
marine engineering adviser
marine engineers
marine systems engineer
marine engineering consultant
vessel engineer
marine auxiliary systems engineer
marine power systems engineer
naval engineer
ship’s engineer

Minimum qualifications

Bachelor’s degree is generally required to work as marine engineer. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Marine engineer is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Marine engineer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to marine engineer.

naval architect
automotive engineer
rolling stock engineer
aerospace engineer
heating, ventilation, air conditioning engineer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of marine engineer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of marine engineer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of marine engineer.

Engineering principles: The engineering elements like functionality, replicability, and costs in relation to the design and how they are applied in the completion of engineering projects.
Mechanics of vessels: The mechanics involved in boats and ships. Understand the technicalities and participate in discussions over related topics in order to solve problems related to the mechanics.
Mathematics: Mathematics is the study of topics such as quantity, structure, space, and change. It involves the identification of patterns and formulating new conjectures based on them. Mathematicians strive to prove the truth or falsity of these conjectures. There are many fields of mathematics, some of which are widely used for practical applications.
Technical drawings: Drawing software and the various symbols, perspectives, units of measurement, notation systems, visual styles and page layouts used in technical drawings.
Engineering processes: The systematic approach to the development and maintenance of engineering systems.
Mechanics: Theoretical and practical applications of the science studying the action of displacements and forces on physical bodies to the development of machinery and mechanical devices.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of marine engineer.

Execute analytical mathematical calculations: Apply mathematical methods and make use of calculation technologies in order to perform analyses and devise solutions to specific problems.
Adjust engineering designs: Adjust designs of products or parts of products so that they meet requirements.
Perform scientific research: Gain, correct or improve knowledge about phenomena by using scientific methods and techniques, based on empirical or measurable observations.
Use technical drawing software: Create technical designs and technical drawings using specialised software.
Ensure vessel compliance with regulations: Inspect vessels, vessel components, and equipment; ensure compliance with standards and specifications.
Use maritime english: Communicate in English employing language used in actual situations on board ships, in ports and elsewhere in the shipping chain.
Approve engineering design: Give consent to the finished engineering design to go over to the actual manufacturing and assembly of the product.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of marine engineer. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Ship related legislative requirements: Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) concerning safety of life at sea, security and protection of the marine environment.
Fisheries management: The principles, methods and equipment used in population management applied to fisheries: the concept of catch, by-catch, fishing effort, maximum sustainable yield, different sampling methods and how to use sampling material.
Material mechanics: The behaviour of solid objects when subjected to stresses and strains, and the methods to calculate these stresses and strains.
International regulations for preventing collisions at sea: Fundamental aspects of the international regulations to prevent collisions at sea, such as the conduct of vessels in sight of one another, navigation lights and markers, major light and accoustic signals, maritime signalling and buoys.
Electromechanics: The engineering processes that combine electrical and mechanical engineering in the application of electromechanics in devices that need electricity to create mechanical movement or devices that create electricity by mechanical movement.
Precision mechanics: Precision or fine mechanics is a subdiscipline in engineering that focuses on the design and development of smaller precision machines.
Electrical engineering: Understand electrical engineering, a field of engineering that deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.
Design principles: The elements used in design such as unity, scale, proportion, balance, symmetry, space, form, texture, colour, light, shade and congruence and their application into practice.
Pollution prevention: The processes used to prevent pollution: precautions to pollution of the environment, procedures to counter pollution and associated equipment, and possible measures to protect the environment.
Stealth technology: The techniques used to make aircraft, ships, missiles and satellites less detectable to radars and sonars. This includes the design of particular shapes and the development of radar-absorbent material.
Assessment of risks and threats: The security documentation and any security-related communications and information.
Cae software: The software to perform computer-aided engineering (CAE) analysis tasks such as Finite Element Analysis and Computional Fluid Dynamics.
Fluid mechanics: The characteristics and properties of fluids, including gases, liquids and plasmas, at rest and in motion, and the forces on them.
Electronics: The functioning of electronic circuit boards, processors, chips, and computer hardware and software, including programming and applications. Apply this knowledge to ensure electronic equipment runs smoothly.
Mechanical engineering: Discipline that applies principles of physics, engineering and materials science to design, analyse, manufacture and maintain mechanical systems.
International convention for the prevention of pollution from ships: The fundamental principals and requirements laid in the International Regulation for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL): Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil, Regulations for the Control of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk, prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by Sea in Packaged Form, Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships, Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships, Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships.
Guidance, navigation and control: The engineering discipline that deals with the design and development of systems that can control the motion of automobiles, ships, space- and aircraft. It includes control over vehicle’s trajectory from its present location to a designated target and vehicle’s speed and altitude.
Fisheries legislation: The study and analysis of different fisheries management approaches taking into account international treaties and industry norms in order to analyze fisheries management regulations. 
Fire-fighting systems: The devices and systems used to extinguish fires; the classes and chemistry of fire.
Fishing vessels: Denomination of the different elements and equipment of fishing vessels.
Risks associated with undertaking fishing operations: General risks occuring when working on fishing boats and specific risks occurring only in some fishing modalities. Prevention of threats and accidents.
Global maritime distress and safety system: The internationally agreed-upon set of safety procedures, types of equipment and communication protocols used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircraft.
Quality of fish products: Factors affecting the quality of fish products. For instance, differences between species, impact of the fishing gears and parasite influence on the preservation of quality.
Synthetic natural environment: The simulation and representation of components of physical world such as climate, wheather and space where military systems exist in order to obtain information and perform tests.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of marine engineer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Work in outdoor conditions: Can cope with the different climate conditions such as heat, rain, cold or in strong wind.
Manage the operation of propulsion plant machinery: Manage the operative mechanism of the marine diesel engines, steam turbines, gas turbines, and steam boilers.
Work in a fishery team: Work as part of a crew or team, and meet team deadlines and responsibilities together.
Apply medical first aid on board ship: Apply medical guides and advice by radio to take effective action in the case of accidents or illnesses on-board a ship.
Install transport equipment engines: Install engines used in transport equipment such as internal combustion engines, external combustion engines and electrical motors according to blueprints and technical plans by using hand and power tools.
Repair engines: Repair identified problems with internal combustion engines, external combustion engines and electrical motors. Replace and fix faulty parts by using hand and machine tools.
Prevent fires on board: Organise fire drills on board. Make sure that appliances for fire prevention fire-fighting are in working order. Take the appropriate action in case of fire, including fires involving oil systems.
Lead a team in fishery services: Direct a fishery or aquaculture team and guide them towards the common goal of completing a variety of fishery related assignments or tasks.
Maintain shipboard machinery: Take care of the repair and maintenance of shipboard machinery, including the safe isolation of such machinery or equipment before personnel are permitted to work on it. Dismantle, adjust and reassemble machinery and equipment with the right tools and measuring instruments. Interpret machinery drawings and handbooks and diagrams of piping, hydraulic and pneumatic systems.
Operate marine machinery systems: Operate principles of marine machinery, including marine diesel engine, steam turbine, boiler, shafting installations, propeller, various auxiliaries, steering gear, automatic control systems, and deck machinery. Follow safety and emergency procedures for operation of propulsion plant machinery, including control systems. Prepare, operate, and maintain the following machinery items and control systems: main engine and steam boiler and their associated auxiliaries and steam systems, auxiliary prime movers and associated systems and other auxiliaries like refrigeration, air-conditioning and ventilation systems. Take necessary measures to prevent damage to these systems.
Manage engine-room resources: Allocate, assign, and prioritise engine-room resources. Communicate effectively, showing assertiveness and leadership. Obtain and maintain situational awareness, considering of team experience.
Lubricate engines: Apply motor oil to engines to lubricate internal combustion engines in order to reduce wear, to clean and to cool the engine.
Extinguish fires: Choose the adequate substances and methods to extinguish fires depending on their size, such as water and various chemical agents. Use a breathing apparatus.
Record test data: Record data which has been identified specifically during preceding tests in order to verify that outputs of the test produce specific results or to review the reaction of the subject under exceptional or unusual input.
Maintain electrical equipment: Test electrical equipment for malfunctions. Take safety measures, company guidelines, and legislation concerning electrical equipment into account. Clean, repair and replace parts and connections as required.
Perform small vessel safety measures: Organise and monitor safety, applying the regulations for risk prevention at work. Organise and manage emergency operations such as flooding, abandoning ship, survival at sea, search and rescue of shipwrecked, according to the ship’s emergency plans, to ensure safety. Organise and direct the operations of fire fighting and prevention, according to the ship’s emergency plans to ensure safety.
Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
Inspect engine rooms: Inspect engine rooms to detect the presence of any hazardous materials, and to ensure legal compliance. Inspect the construction of the rooms, the functionality of equipment, the adequacy of room ventilation, and the frequency of maintenance activities.
Create technical plans: Create detailed technical plans of machinery, equipment, tools and other products.
Communicate using the global maritime distress and safety system: Send an alert in case of distress, using any of the various GMDSS radio systems such that the alert has a very high probability of being received by either shore rescue authorities and/or other vessels in the area.
Analyse stress resistance of products: Analyse the ability of products to endure stress imposed by temperature, loads, motion, vibration and other factors, by using mathematical formulas and computer simulations.
Perform small vessel safety procedures: Implement emergency measures of health care to sick and injured on board, according to established procedures to minimise potential injuries or illnesses.
Prevent sea pollution: Organize and monitor environment protection applying the regulations for pollution prevention at sea.
Operate control systems: Configure and operate electrical, electronic and control equipment.
Coordinate fire fighting: Organize and direct the operations of fire fighting, according to the ship’s emergency plans to ensure safety.
Use cam software: Use computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programmes to control machinery and machine tools in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimisation as part of the manufacturing processes of workpieces.
Manage ship emergency plans: Organize and manage emergency operations, flooding, abandoning ship, survival at sea, search and rescue of shipwrecked, according to the ship’s emergency plans, to ensure the safety
Re-assemble engines: Re-assemble transport equipment engines after overhaul, inspection, repair, maintenace or cleaning according to blueprints and technical plans.
Survive at sea in the event of ship abandonment: Identify muster signals and what emergencies they signal. Comply with established procedures. Don and use a lifejacket or an immersion suit. Safely jump into the water from a height. Swim and right an inverted liferaft while wearing a swim while wearing a lifejacket. Keep afloat without a lifejacket. Board a survival craft from the ship, or from the water while wearing a lifejacket. Take initial actions on boarding survival craft to enhance chance of survival. Stream a drogue or sea-anchor. Operate survival craft equipment. Operate location devices, including radio equipment.
Draft design specifications: List the design specifications such as materials and parts to be used and a cost estimate.
Use cad software: Use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimisation of a design.
Operate pumping systems: Operate pumps and piping systems, including control systems. Perform routine pumping operations. Operate the bilge, ballast and cargo pumping systems. Be familiar with oily-water separators (or-similar equipment).
Maintain electronic equipment: Check and repair electronic equipment. Detect malfunction, locate faults and take measures to prevent damage.
Design prototypes: Design prototypes of products or components of products by applying design and engineering principles.
Conduct performance tests: Conduct experimental, environmental and operational tests on models, prototypes or on the systems and equipment itself in order to test their strength and capabilities under normal and extreme conditions.
Use tools for construction and repair: Construct and repair ships and equipment using hand tools, machine tools, and measuring instruments. Safely carry out emergency or temporary repairs. Take measures to ensure a safe working environment. Use various types of sealants and packaging.
Operate life-saving appliances: Operate survival craft and their launching appliances and arrangements. Operate life-saving instruments like radio life-saving appliances, satellite EPIRBs, SARTs, immersion suits and thermal protective aids.
Execute feasibility study: Perform the evaluation and assessment of the potential of a project, plan, proposition or new idea. Realise a standardised study which is based on extensive investigation and research to support the process of decision making.
Disassemble engines: Disassemble internal combustion engines, generators, pumps, transmissions and other components of mechanical equipment.
Maintain safe engineering watches: Observe principles in keeping an engineering watch. Take over, accept and hand over a watch. Perform routine duties undertaken during a watch. Maintain the machinery space logs and the significance of the readings taken. Observe safety and emergency procedures. Observe safety precautions during a watch and take immediate actions in the event of fire or accident, with particular reference to oil systems.
Provide training: Provide training and orientation to new team members, or assign this task to an appropriately experienced team member.
Assess financial viability: Revise and analyse financial information and requirements of projects such as their budget appraisal, expected turnover, and risk assessment for determining the benefits and costs of the project. Assess if the agreement or project will redeem its investment, and whether the potential profit is worth the financial risk.
Swim: Move through water by means of the limbs.
Analyse production processes for improvement: Analyse production processes leading toward improvement. Analyse in order to reduce production losses and overall manufacturing costs.
Operate ship propulsion system: Perform start-up and subsequent observation of the working parameters of the ship’s propulsion system. Check the operating parameters of electric generators in the switchboard, power sources and electrical and electronic equipment and navigation lights. Verify that the operating parameters of pneumatic and hydraulic systems are within the values. Perform simple maintenance procedures, repair and replacement of damaged items.
Operate ship rescue machinery: Operate rescue boats and survival craft. Launch the boats as required and operate their equipment. Take care of survivors and survival craft after abandoning ship. Use electronic devices to track and communicate location, including communications and signalling apparatus and pyrotechnics.
Control production: Plan, coordinate, and direct all production activities to insure the goods are made on time, in correct order, of adequate quality and composition, starting from intake goods up to shipping.

ISCO group and title

2144 – Mechanical engineers

 

 


 

 

References
  1. Marine engineer – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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