What is Marine Engineering: Courses, Job Description & Salary

marine engineer

About a century ago, no one would have heard of marine engineering, but today, it is a profession as established as any other famous one.

Over the last 100 years, engineering as a field of study has developed and diversified far beyond what could have been imagined. Not only that, but it has also branched out into various specialised fields that have achieved significant progress.

Most of these new fields are aligned with any primary engineering branches, such as mechanical, electrical, civil, electronics, computers, etc., and incorporate something from them. One such branch is marine engineering.

Marine engineering is the field of study that deals with the design, development, production, and maintenance of equipment used at sea and onboard sea-going vessels such as boats, ships, oil rigs, etc.

Marine Engineering Job Description 

A marine engineer is a professional who has studied marine engineering (sometimes also called maritime engineering) and is responsible for operating, maintaining and repairing all major mechanical and engineered equipment onboard a ship.

Several mechanical systems help operate vessels, such as propulsion mechanics, electricity and power generation systems, lubrication, fuel systems, water distillation, lighting, and air conditioning systems.

These are all included in the technical responsibilities of a marine engineer.

Duties of Marine Engineers

Some of the essential duties that people who have done marine engineering (maritime engineering) perform are:

Monitoring and maintaining mechanical systems — Engineers of each ship’s rank are allocated specific machinery and systems for maintenance and tracking.

Machinery systems are divided among all engineers, and each engineer must ensure his/her machinery is running at all times. Marine engineers are also required to look after the machinery on deck.

Proper record-keeping and planning maintenance – The engine room department works as a team to ensure all machinery systems are maintained according to the planned maintenance system. Precise record-keeping of various parameters is carried out for official paperwork and reporting.

Fuel oil bunkering — Marine engineers also transfer fuel oil from a bunker station or barge to the ship. This is usually the duty of the fourth engineer, who also takes regular soundings of the fuel oil tanks and reports them to the chief engineer for planning bunkering operations.

Emergency breakdown and repair – The study of marine engineering also teaches how to deal with significant maintenance and breakdown of machinery systems at sea. Though marine engineers are quite capable of the same, there are times when experts might be needed. In such cases, marine engineers must work with the experts to repair and resolve the issue.

Apart from the duties mentioned above, a marine engineer on ships must follow all the instructions of the chief engineer, the head of the ship’s engine room department.

marine engineer


A marine engineer can opt for different types of vessels, depending upon his/her background training and expertise, which can be categorised into:

  1. Foreign going dry vessels
  2. Foreign going tanker vessels (oil, gas, chemical, etc)
  3. Coastal trading dry and tanker ships
  4. Passenger vessels
  5. Dynamic position vessels
  6. Offshore platforms and ships
  7. Port assisting boats and ships (Tugs, barges etc.)

The increase in employment opportunities in this field has added to the lure of a job as a marine engineer. Merchants and armed navies offer immense opportunities to students in this field.

In addition, various manufacturing industries and units that produce shipping equipment and machines also hire these professionals to work in their production houses.

In some countries, a marine engineer can switch to the defence navy (after taking physical and medical fitness exams) as a seagoing engineer already achieves the technical qualification requirements.

Also, budding field jobs as trainers and teachers at various institutions are available, and suitable candidates are in demand. Judging by the developments and the interest, it would not be wrong to assume that this field of study would continue to leave an indelible mark on the world.

Marine Engineering Lifestyle 

Life after doing marine engineering on board a ship is physically and emotionally demanding. Though most marine engineering graduates (also called maritime engineers) work onboard ships, a few choose a shore job as well.

A marine engineer’s job on a ship is challenging as the engine room is a complex mechanical system with a hostile environment. Engineers mainly work in four-hour shifts and have to do additional hours of maintenance work.

However, during an emergency, work hours can stretch for hours without any major breaks until the machinery/system is brought back to normal working condition and the ship is not threatened.

When in a port, a marine engineer can go onshore if time permits and after getting permission from the chief engineer and captain.

With the advancement of technology, the amount of time a ship stays at the port has drastically reduced, leaving the ship’s crew with no time to go out on shore leave.

Like any other ship’s crew, Marine engineers work on a contract basis. Shipping companies usually offer four to six months of a working contract, depending on the experience and rank of the marine engineer.

Jobs & Career Path after Marine Engineering

After 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 a six-month working contract.

After completing the training and the necessary sea-time, a fifth engineer is eligible to appear for class IV exams, clearing which he or she can join as a 4th engineer.

After gaining a good amount of experience and based on performance, a company will provide a promotion to the third engineer. On completion of the required sea time as a third engineer, one can take Class II exams to become a second engineer.

Similarly, after completing the necessary sea time and gaining a good amount of experience, a second engineer can take the Class I exam to get promoted to chief engineer.

Note that the promotion will solely depend on the company’s decision, even if the marine engineer has experience and a certificate.

The process might also differ depending on the country and company one belongs to.

marine engineering

The above graph provides a brief overview of the hierarchy and job opportunities for Marine engineering candidates. The Shore Job entirely depends on the candidate’s capability/experience and the requirements of the shore company.

After marine engineering, a candidate must take various advanced courses and management studies to opt for a shore job, even if he/she has sailed as a chief engineer.

marine engineer

Marine Engineering Books

If you are a student of marine engineering or just seeking knowledge on the maritime domain, there are some very popular marine engineering books written by some of the finest experts in the industry.

These books have been used for several years now by both maritime students and experienced professionals.

Some of the famous marine engineering books are:

– Introduction to Marine Engineering – D.A. Taylor
– General Engineering Knowledge (Marine Engineering) – H.D McGeorge
– Marine Auxiliary Machinery – H.D McGeorge
– Lamb’s Question and Answers on Marine Diesel Engines – S. Christensen

Read the complete list of marine engineering books here. 

Marine engineering ebooks by Marine Insight 

If you are a maritime professional looking for to-the-point practical knowledge of marine engineering, check out Marine Insight’s marine engineering ebooks. Experienced marine engineers write these ebooks, which can be read on any device.

Click here to view the marine engineering ebooks collection

Marine engineering Salary

The salary of a marine engineer depends mainly on the type of ship he/she is working on, the shipping company, and the level of experience.

The salary structure can also vary based on one’s nationality and the country one belongs to.

For. e.g. marine engineers from India have salaries in the range mentioned below ( in USD$/month):

Fifth engineer – $350-800
Fourth engineer – $2500-4000
Third engineer – $3500-5000
Second engineer – $5000 – $10500
Chief engineer -$7000 – $13000

Please note that this is just a rough estimated range and varies according to the factors mentioned earlier.

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In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.

Disclaimer :
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.

About Author

Raunek Kantharia is a marine engineer turned maritime writer and entrepreneur. After a brief stint at the sea, he founded Marine Insight in 2010. Apart from managing Marine Insight, he also writes for a number of maritime magazines and websites.

Read More Articles By This Author >

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  1. I’m in search of a sponsor. I really want to study marine engineering. Could u be of help to me? Thanks

  2. i want to be a Marine Engineering because i want to buildup my country name Pakistan and want my parents happiness back which will come when my vision is come true …….Best Wishes to all of u
    but I’m in search of a sponsor .could u help me out thanks>>>>>

  3. Dear Anish
    I love this web I ned maritame book
    And my web.
    Mr chris zalowo

  4. I have always love to become a structurer engineer,an even obtain a professor in the field,that’s my dream.to build up a rare structure in the MARINE ENGINEERING WORLD..to make my home,country,co-engineers and above all my GOD proud about me.but I humbly need the help of one in this discipline to please guild me through.

  5. what is mean by marine engineering? it is useful in this century or not . it contains job facilites . reply me please.

  6. The first part of your question was already answered in the above article.

    It is very important for the shipping industry as without marine engineers the international trade will come to a halt.

    The current job situation is bad.Many fresh engineers and operation level engineers/officers are facing the job crunch.

  7. I really want to be a marine engeeneer in future, but i need a helping hand to archieve this. Can you help me please?

  8. It has always been my desire to start studying marine engineering.I’m willing to die for it can someone help me start doing it

  9. My dream is to become a marine engineer, please I need a sponsor so I can help
    my self, my family and my belove country nigeria. THANKs.

  10. Is it true somebody told me marine engineering job facilities are rare and for fresher no chance everybody need 10 years experience
    With regards,

  11. Am really mad with this marine engineering, I love it, I need it but my education background has been a collection of different coins from different parts of my location ….to support my O-level education and in our village after one is through with the FORM 4 education, the help is being cut off and now am hire …yawning for marine engineering! looking my family, am just seeing the end of my education. In short I REALLY NEED HELP AND KENYA IS MY COUNTRY. SPONSORS PLEASE HAVE MERCY ON.

  12. I love marine engineering work please can you tell me the subject to study please this is my number +123408100637129 I will be glad if my Requees is granted thanks a lot.

  13. Hi I like to be an engineer(marine). But money is always my pro… But I wish nd pray one day I will make it

  14. By next year, I will going to finished my 3 year lecture in Marine Engineering, so at the same time to finish my profession, I’m humbly looking forward to find some shipping company that is willing to offer an apprenticeship and willing to accept me as there apprentice….

  15. it my dream to become an engineer especially marine engineer
    i need to build up my country Ghana. i need a sponsorship


  17. I study marine engineering in academy, and I’ve all my documents including my international passport, which I will like to work with your company as an engineer.
    Am going to be very grateful to be a member of the company .
    I speak fluent english and good french language.
    This is my contact +2348079753785.

  18. There is a possibility that I can become a marine eng if I do mechanical engineering First? Plz help marine engineering (my destiny)

  19. father God please help me, make my dreams come true, i believe i can make it as a marine engineer

  20. I am inlove with marine engineering but i don’t knw the requirements of it.plz help i am in grade 11.namibia

  21. Im Studying Marine Engineering , But Teachers Doesnt Really Know How To Teach ,

  22. I am an undergraduate student studying marine engineering. I so much love the course and will wish to further for my masters either in India or Singapore. Please I want to ask how much would it cost. i want to specially either in Marine Automations and controls or power plants

  23. I am a 17 year old girl who offered the science course and just completed high school and wanted to know which aspect of marine engineering was the best and if i would be paid well.

  24. I read psychology first degree but I am in love with marine engineer I want to study it but I don’t have sponsor I need sponsor,I am ready to serve.thank


  26. If job opportunities are available for ME, Are there companies that would train and employ Marine Engineer newbies in Asia?

  27. am under going the study of marine as a motorman. but i still need some assistance to in other to get my peppers . ready before my graduation day.. who ever that is willing to assist GOD will never stop you half way in JESUS name Amen..

  28. my dream is to become a captain as well as a competent marine engineer.I too need a sponsor who will help me pursue broadly in this field.I will greatly appreciate for the help

  29. please i need a sponsor to educate GOD for marine engeeneereng

  30. I am a student at delta state school of marine burutu I study marine engineering its a good course

  31. Sir, I have completed my mechanical engineering last year and if I take 1 year GME course, then it is 100% sure that I will get the placement ?

  32. @Rajat: No college will give you the 100% sure guarantee. It will an assurance, depending on your performance and college ability to get the companies for placement. Better go for those institutes which provide sponsorship.

  33. Can you give me the name of the Engineer in the picture in this article, please? Thank you

  34. Hey. ANISH…I am also from India…I want to be a marine engineer from 8th grade…but now everyone is telling me this field is not so secure as a profession…what’s your opinion?

  35. @Anamitra: As you are in 8th standard, you still have 4 years to see if the job situation improves or worsens.

  36. my name is Alaba Paul from Nigeria i really want to become a maritime engineer have had a love for it since when i was a kid and pls need assist to achieve this would be very happy if my plee is considered.Heres my mobile number +2348148913799

  37. I just completed diploma in mechanical engineering which course should I persue for merchant Navy Engineer

  38. i need to become a marine engineer at all coast i really need a lot of help

  39. sir I was recently passed a 12th class from kendriya vidyalaya iti naini prayagraj.sir I want to admission in marine engineering so please give me a full information about the admission

  40. I want to be a marine engineer in tugs please hw do I start the marine courses please teach me

  41. Pakistani citizens will have to get various security clearance as the country is tagged with terrorism. Better study the course elsewhere

  42. Ohhh, this has been my dream since my 1st day 2 navigate on water 15 years back during my childhood till now ,buh i dont know how i can beat this dream how, i wish ts simple as i think

  43. Hello, please can you help me out with some electrical engineer books about Marine engineer.Thank you

  44. Sir I completed my final year in this month only and I am looking for TME, which company provide TME.Because in my college side no company will recruit the fresher I am good in practical knowledge so please suggest me sir.

  45. I am an engineer and am into the mechanical part and i really need a job, please can you help?

  46. I am a Navy Nuclear Machinast mate a veteran now exploring my options..any advice would be greatly appreciated. I live in South Florida.

  47. I love Marine engineering, its my best course am looking towards but I just don’t know the best school which can offer it. Please if you you are interested to help me Anish, the doors are open for you any time. Thank you.

  48. Usually I by no means touch upon blogs however your article is so convincing that I by no means prevent myself to mention some thing approximately it. Really useful.

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