About a century ago no one would have heard about a marine engineer, but today it is a profession which is as established as any other famous ones. Over the last 100 years, engineering as a field of study has developed and diversified far beyond what could have been imagined prior to this period. Not only this, it has also branched out into various specialised fields that have achieved great progress. Most of these new fields are aligned to any of the basic engineering branches like mechanical, electrical, civil, electronics, computers etc and have something or the other incorporated from them. One such branch is called marine engineering
Marine engineering is the branch of study that deals with the design, development, production and maintenance of the equipments used at sea and on board sea vessels like boats, ships etc. As a matter of fact, it is quite a vast field and it also has many sister arenas like naval architecture and nautical science.
A marine engineer is a professional who is responsible for the operation, maintenance and repair of all major mechanical and engineered equipments on board a ship. There are many mechanical systems that help in the operations of any vessel like the propulsion mechanics, electricity and power generation system, lubrication, fuel systems, water distillation, lighting and air conditioning system etc. These are all included in the technical responsibilities of a marine engineer.
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A variety of marine programs, conducted by engineers also fall under this area of study, like an underwater vehicle research, cable laying work, renewable energy production in marine areas etc. In the latter half of the 19th century, marine engines for propulsion arrived and revolutionised the sea traveling vessels. It was about this time that the marine engineer began to stamp his importance over the scheme of work and transformed from a ‘stoker’ to an engineer.
In recent years, there have been many new introductions to the marine technologies that have further enhanced the machines and the services like the fuel cells and magneto hydrodynamics etc. Further research and development is also in progress and newer details emerge every now and then. It would thus be safe to state that marine engineering is a very dynamic field.
A marine engineer can opt for different types of vessels, depending upon his/her background training and expertise, which can be categorised to :
- Foreign going dry vessels
- Foreign going tanker vessels (oil, gas , chemical etc)
- Coastal trading dry and tanker ships
- Passenger vessels
- Dynamic position vessels
- Offshore platforms and ships
- Port assisting boats and ship (Tugs, barges etc)
In recent times, this field of study has caught on the imagination of many around the world. The interest shown by students of various countries and the response at the concerned departments in the universities bears testimony to this. The increase in the employment opportunities in this field has added to the lure of a job as a marine engineer. Both merchant navy and armed navy have immense opportunities for the students of this field. In addition to this, various manufacturing industries and units that produce shipping equipments and machines also hire these professionals to work in their production houses.
In some countries, a marine engineer can switch over to armed navy (after giving physical and medical fitness exams) as the technical qualification requirement are already achieved by a sea going engineer.
Also, budding field jobs as trainers and teachers at various institutions are available and suitable candidates are very much 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.
Career Path after Marine Engineering
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 advance courses and management studies to opt for shore job even having sailed as a chief engineer.