What Is Marine Engineering: Courses, Job Description & Salary

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 that but 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 such as mechanical, electrical, civil, electronics, computers etc and have something or the other incorporated from them. One such branch is that of marine engineering.

Marine engineering is the field of study that deals with the design, development, production and maintenance of the equipment used at sea and onboard sea vessels like boats, ships etc.

Read how to become a marine engineer here.

Marine Engineering Job Description 

A marine engineer is a professional who has studied marine engineering (sometimes also called maritime engineering) and is responsible for the operation, maintenance and repair of all major mechanical and engineered equipment onboard a ship.

There are several 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.

Duties of Marine Engineers

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

Monitoring and maintenance of mechanical systems – Engineers of each rank on board ship is allocated specific machinery and systems for maintenance and monitoring purpose.

Machinery systems are divided among all engineers and it is the duty of each engineer to 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 the maintenance of all machinery systems is carried out 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 handle the transfer of fuel oil to the ship from a bunker station or barge. It is usually the duty of the 4th engineer, who also takes regular soundings of the fuel oil tanks and report it to the chief engineer for planning bunkering operations.

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

Apart from the above-mentioned duties, a marine engineer on ships is required to follow all the instructions of the chief engineer, the head of the engine room department on the ship.

marine engineer


A variety of marine programs, conducted by engineers also fall under this area of study, like 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 travelling 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 are 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 :

  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 ship (Tugs, barges etc)

In recent times, this field of study has caught on the imagination of many around the world. The interest was 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 equipment and machines also hire these professionals to work in their production houses.

In some countries, a marine engineer can switch over to an armed navy (after giving physical and medical fitness exams) as the technical qualification requirement are already achieved by a seagoing 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.

Marine Engineering Lifestyle 

The life after doing marine engineering on board ship is demanding both physically and emotionally. Though most marine engineering graduates (also called maritime engineers) go onboard ships for work, there are a few who 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 the time of emergency, the work hours can stretch for hours without any major breaks until the machinery/system is brought back to normal working condition and there is no threat to the ship of any kind.

When in a port, a marine engineer can go onshore, if time permits and after taking 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.

Marine engineers, just like any other ship’s crew, 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 doing 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 six months 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 give Class II exams to become a second engineer.

Similarly, on completion of necessary sea time and gaining a good amount of experience, a second engineer can give Class I exam to get promotion as chief engineer.

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

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

marine engineering

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

After marine engineering, a candidate has to do 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 full 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, then check out marine engineering ebooks by Marine Insight. These ebooks are written by experienced marine engineers and can be read on any device.

Click here to view the marine engineering ebooks collection

Marine engineering Salary

The salary of marine engineer mainly depends 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.

successful marine engineer - 1

A Guide To Become Successful Marine Engineer

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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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