We're building a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Naval architect

BETATry an improved version of this page

  1. More about how to get into this career
  2. We've included current opportunities to help you with your next steps
Try it out

Naval architects design, construct, refit and repair marine vessels and offshore structures.  

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £25,000 to £65,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll usually need a degree or postgraduate qualification in naval architecture, ocean, offshore or marine engineering, or ship science that's recognised by The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA).

The RINA also has more information on becoming a naval architect.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • engineering skills
  • excellent IT and computer-aided design (CAD) skills
  • sound judgement
  • leadership and management skills
  • an analytical and creative approach to problem-solving

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • coordinating the work of engineering design teams
  • making sure that designs are safe, seaworthy and cost-effective
  • preparing design plans using computer software
  • checking and testing specifications using computer simulations and 3D models
  • making sure that designs meet operational requirements
  • coordinating manufacturing or repair work

You could specialise in design, construction and repair, research and development, or consultancy. You could also work for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as a ship surveyor, assessing the safety of ships and marine structures.

4. Salary

Starter: £25,000 to £30,000

Experienced: £35,000 to £50,000

Highly Experienced: £65,000 or more

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work around 40 hours a week but you may sometimes need to do extra hours to meet deadlines.

You’ll usually be office-based, but you may also work in test laboratories or on the floor of a production facility. You may spend some time on board vessels or rigs, which can involve working at height.

You'll need to be comfortable working in all weather conditions.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to senior positions. You could become a consultant, providing technical and commercial guidance, support and project management for research, design, construction, refits or conversions. 

You could also move into other areas like procurement, sales and marketing

Related careers

You may be interested in:

Last updated: 13 September 2018