Marine engineers design, operate, maintain, and repair the mechanical systems of ships. Working closely with the architect who designs the ship structure, a marine engineer designs the propulsion, auxiliary power machinery, and other equipment needed to run the ship. Most marine engineers are employed by private firms that build ships or make the equipment used in them. A few engineers do freelance work as consultants to these firms. Some are civilians employed by the U.S. Navy's Naval Sea System Command.
Marine engineers may specialize in certain kinds of equipment such as pumps, engines, gears, heaters, or deck machinery. Others concentrate on certain steps in shipbuilding, such as estimating the cost of the equipment needed. Still others may deal largely with one area of a ship's functions, such as lubrication. Marine engineers may also be inspectors. Inspectors make sure that the equipment works properly before the ship is launched. Some engineers specialize in the repair and maintenance of a ship when it is in dry dock.
Marine engineers are sometimes responsible for installing equipment in ships. They may, for example, supervise the crews that install electrical equipment. Others may be in charge of crews that build heating and cooling systems to protect the cargo. When marine engineers design systems within a ship, they must make sure that these systems cannot be damaged during an ocean voyage.
Some marine engineers work with ship officers who train crews to operate the ship's equipment at sea. These engineers may also help officers select tools and spare parts that may be needed for emergency repairs. Some marine engineers write technical reports and manuals for other engineers and for members of a ship's crew.
Marine Engineers make about $75,000 a year. The young ones make less, the old ones make more. The good ones make more then the not so good ones, and the great ones, well, they make a great deal more.
Most are graduates of marine academies and receive the required U.S. Coast Guard license along with their bachelor's degrees upon graduation. The accredited marine academies in the United States include the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and state academies in California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Texas. (if you go elsewhere, you may end up graduating from an non-accredited university or academy - and wasting your time and money.)
Happy and Safe Boating,