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Marine Engineering

Marine Engineer


Brief description of the position:

Marine engineers design, plan, build, and maintain ships, including submarines, barges, aircraft carriers, tankers, and sailboats. In 2007, approximately 630 billion tons of cargo were moved throughout the U.S. on inland waterways alone. This translates to approximately $73 billion in transported goods, which shows how important marine engineers are to keeping the nation's economy moving. Marine engineers focus on the design of mechanical systems like propulsion and steering, while naval architects focus on the basic design of the body of ships, including their form and stability. Other duties for marine engineers include preparing system layouts and detailed drawings and schematics; inspecting marine equipment and machinery to draw up work requests and job specifications; and conducting environmental, operational, and performance tests on marine machinery and equipment. They are sometimes responsible for designing and overseeing the testing, installation, and repair of marine apparatus and equipment, and investigating and observing tests on machinery and equipment for compliance with standards. In addition to being responsible for design, marine engineers can also be required to coordinate activities with regulatory bodies to ensure that repairs and alterations are conducted safely and at minimal cost, They also prepare technical reports for use by engineers, managers, or sales personnel; prepare cost estimates, design schedules, construction schedules, and contract specifications; and maintain contact with contractors to be sure the work is being done correctly, on schedule, and within budget.

Compensation range:

Between $74,920-$84, 920 annually, or, $6,260-$7,060/month


Secondary and Postsecondary Education

Marine engineers should have a firm background from high school in advanced math and science classes like calculus, physics, and chemistry. At the college level, marine engineers take advanced engineering courses like engineering mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and mechanics of materials, which all require a strong base in both calculus and physics. They should also have some background in computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) before entering college. Marine engineers may have a bachelor's of science degree in marine engineering, and may need to pass both the fundamentals of engineering and professional engineering exams. It is required for a marine engineer to have a Mariner's License from the U.S. Coast Guard.