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Marine engineer

Marine engineers design, build, test and repair boats, ships, underwater craft, offshore platforms and drilling equipment.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £24,000 to £55,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need an HNC, HND or degree in an engineering subject to get into this career. 

Relevant subjects include:

  • marine engineering
  • marine technology
  • naval architecture
  • offshore engineering

You could also: 

  •  train as an engineering technician with the Merchant Navy or Royal Navy, studying for a degree while on the job
  • get into this career through a marine engineering technician apprenticeship
The Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology (IMarEST) and the British Marine Federation have more information about becoming a marine engineer.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • strong problem-solving skills
  • excellent maths and IT skills
  • communication and negotiating skills
  • excellent technical knowledge
  • the ability to manage a team
  • computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) skills
  • the ability to prioritise workloads and plan effectively
  • budget management skills
You may need diving skills if your job involves underwater work.

3. What you'll do

You’ll need a detailed technical knowledge of naval construction, and mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering systems.

Depending on the industry you work in, your duties could include:

  • shipbuilding, boat-building and repair
  • working in the leisure boat industry
  • designing, building and operating offshore gas and oil platforms
  • marine surveying
  • making sure engines, instruments and systems work safely

4. Salary

Starter: £24,000 to £28,000

Experienced: £30,000 to £40,000

Highly Experienced: £45,000 to £55,000

These figures are a guide

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll be expected to work flexible hours, which may include shift work and weekends.

If you work in ship design or construction, your job would be shore based. 

You could also be away from home for long periods, working on ships, submarines or offshore installations. 

This job can be physically demanding.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could specialise in project management, research and development or consultancy. 

There are also opportunities overseas for experienced marine engineers.

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Last updated: 21 December 2016