What Is Ocean Engineering?
Ocean engineering is a field of study that can be vaguely defined as an advanced part of the other marine technology studies like maritime engineering or offshore engineering or marine electronic technology. If defined in detail, it would be mentioned as a branch of technological studies that deal with the design and operations of man-made systems in the ocean and other marine bodies. However, it should not be confused with oceanography as is a common problem. This is because oceanography is the study of the natural aspects of the oceans and their dynamics, but not the artificial influence.
Who is an Ocean Engineer?
The ocean engineers get to know the details about the ocean policies and the areas of concern for modern navigators as well as the technological requirements for further establishment of engineering wonders across the seas. There are various new products and technologically advanced systems that are developed under the guidance of the ocean engineering departments in various countries across the globe. Underwater navigation, communication as well as positioning have since long, have been active areas of research in this branch of technology. In addition to this, the development and creation of an unmanned underwater vehicle are on the priority list of the companies and firms all over who deal in this field of engineering.
As in any other field of study, ocean engineering is also grown over the years and has a very huge compilation of data and its representation. The introduction of the advanced computers and other electronic systems made the task of research and analysis a lot easier and this was of the utmost value and importance for a relatively younger branch of engineering. This field makes the best use possible of all the electromagnetic equipment as well, this is quite evident in the strong structures and designs of all the offshore technical platforms and advanced sea vessels and even submarines.
Many organizations that deal with this subject appoint engineers to study the environment of the ocean to understand its impact on the marine structures. Also, the reverse effect needs to examine and this is again a forte of this branch of research. The department of ocean engineering also looks into the impact and effects that the activities of man are having on the natural environment of the oceans. This involves research on the sensors and the predictions on the acoustic as well as the non-acoustic sensor with respect to the environment. Ocean Engineering also deals with the energy resources that are available in the ocean and means to tap them.
Over the years since its establishment as a separate branch of engineering, this field has seen a rapid increase in the number of students who have enrolled in the courses, so much so that the governments in many countries had to establish a separate university that deals with the various details of this fascinating subject. And the interest has multiplied since then. Now ocean engineering is a much sort after branch and the professionals are in huge demand, something that augurs well for the industry and indeed the world.
What Do Ocean Engineers Do?
Professionals who take education and training in the field of ocean engineering are called ocean engineers. They have the technical expertise and skills to find solutions to problems related to oceans. Technically, ocean engineering is a combination of different types of engineering such as mechanical, civil, chemical etc. in relation to the oceans.
Ocean engineers closely work with marine biologists, oceanographers, geophysicists etc. to find solutions and create tools to help in research work. Some of these devices by ocean engineers are used to study underwater activities, oil and gas exploration, seismic research etc. They have contributed immensely in the field of
Ocean engineers are often required to work on ships, rigs, or submersibles in harsh working environments. They are mainly hired by government, oil and gas companies, ocean research organisations etc. Their work mainly involves designing, construction and maintenance of equipment and systems ocean for marine environments.
Types of Ocean Engineering Jobs
There are plenty of career options when you decide to pursue ocean engineering. Most of the jobs would have you working in the vast ocean or even underwater. Ocean engineers can expect to be work in dangerous conditions. Passion is just as important as knowing when you decide to be an ocean engineer. The works done by these people have saved lives, so there is a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.
Ocean engineers will be knowledgeable of ocean policies and information that pertain to ocean navigators. They also continue to learn about innovative means and technologies to establish further technology across the seas. Ocean engineers across the globe are overseeing several projects where new products and pieces of equipment are being developed. Their innovation can help ocean navigation, ocean studies, and environmental safety. Underwater navigation, communication, positioning are actively researched technologies where ocean engineers have made tons of progress. As of now, many companies are devoting their resources onto the research on the design and development of unmanned underwater vehicles.
The field plays a huge role in other fields like oceanography, transport, oil and gas, international trade, underwater exploration and even national defence. An ocean engineer can also use their expertise to work as mechanical engineers and environmental engineers. They have many possibilities when it comes to career choices.
If you pursue ocean engineering, you have the option to become an:
- Ocean Engineer
- Naval Architect
- Marine Engineer
- Environmental Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Petroleum Engineer
Jobs like naval architects and marine engineers are related to the core subject of ocean engineering. The main and basic task of the engineer will be around the design and construction of ships, dams and other marine related structures. However, other options like an environmental engineer, mechanical engineers, and petroleum engineers are related to ocean engineering but are also influenced by other subjects. An environmental engineer will be tasked with research and development of environmentally safe products and the monitoring of the environment concerning the ocean. Petroleum engineers will be tasked with the construction of oil rigs along with identifying and extracting oil.
There are plenty of organizations willing to hire ocean engineers. These companies oversee research and development of many marine technologies, so they demand the best manpower on to their teams. The work as an ocean engineer can be of many sorts. They can either be directly involved as designers and construction supervisors. Or they can work as consultants taking part in regulation, surveying and overseeing. Research and development teams are another great option for an ocean engineer that wishes to put their knowledge to make strides in the field. Experienced engineers can turn to education and training as well.
Ocean engineers can take up work with private industry or even work with the government. In practice, their work could be related to remote sensing, monitoring changes in the climate, protection of environmental bodies using engineering principles, building marine transportation on the surface and underwater.
These are some of the popular organizations that hire ocean engineers
- Rockwell Aviation
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- National Science Foundation
- Northrop Grumman
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection
- S. Environmental Protection Agency
How much salary ocean engineers get?
Websites like payscale.com cannot ascertain the entry level salary for an ocean engineer because of its specialized nature. It mostly depends on the project you work on, the team you are working with, etc. However, the entry-level salaries of other similar engineering jobs can give you an idea of what you will be starting with.
Mechanical Engineer: $60,100 – $91,900
Environmental Engineer: $47,900 – $89,700
Petroleum Engineer- $55,347 – $124,611
In the year 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary of an average ocean engineer who has sufficient experience is around $92,000 per year or more than $44 per hour. In 2016, they reported that the median salary of a marine engineer is approximately $93,350. On the lower range of income, marine engineers and naval architects that got paid the least claim a yearly income of $72,600 which is among the 25th percentile salary. 75 percent of engineers make more than that amount. The 75th percentile salary is $120,210 as of 2016. The 2016 report also shows that in the United States, more than 8200 people were employed as marine engineers and naval architects. So while the median salary has not made drastic changes, it is steadily rising. An ocean engineer can be expected to pay a hefty amount. The experience and roles they take within their companies can guarantee a much higher amount of annual salary.
Ocean Engineering’s Colleges Around the World
We’ve comprised a list of the best colleges around the world that can provide you with the skills required to be successful in the profession. These universities are among the most internationally known and nationally ranked in the quality of their course.
- Massachusetts Maritime Academy
- The United States Coast Guard Academy
- Texas A & M University
- Florida Atlantic University
- University of Rhode Island
- University of Hawaii at Manoa
- California Maritime Academy
- Marine Engineering and Research Institute (MERI)
- Australian Maritime College
- Dalian Maritime University
Future Prospects of Ocean Engineering
Taking a master’s degree after graduation is a great way to solidify your skills, learn further about the field and prepare yourself for the responsibilities that your work will put you into. There are multiple master’s programs offered by the universities mentioned above that you can enrol in.
- Master in Hydrodynamics for Ocean Engineering
- Master’s degree of Engineering in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering
- Master of Engineering in Water Management
- Master of Science in Ocean Engineering (SMOE)
- Master of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (SMNAME)
- Master of Science in Oceanographic Engineering (SMOGE, joint MIT/WHOI degree)
- Naval Engineer’s (NE) degree
- Master in Offshore Engineering
A master’s degree will help you specialize in your field and give you the expertise required to excel at your work. They also open the doors for all the marine engineering related jobs and senior roles within the company you work for.
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