Marine Engineering Technologist

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Marine Engineering Technologist


Marine engineering technologists perform technological functions in various aspects of marine engineering, primarily in support of design and development of vessels. They are also responsible for investigating recurring machinery failures to determine design deficiencies.

Marine engineering technologists help engineers design and oversee the installation and repair of marine power plants, propulsion systems, heating and ventilating systems, and other mechanical and electrical equipment in ships, docks, and marine facilities. They study and sometimes even create blueprints to perform complex calculations and maintain marine crafts.

The technology of marine engineering focuses on power cycles, principles, and methods used to convert the energy in fossil fuels into useful power, and the selection, operation, and maintenance of major components and support systems in the power cycle.

Marine engineering technologists work in teams with engineers, technicians and tradespeople. They must be very knowledgeable about materials and equipment needed to design, construct, operate and maintain ships and related water vessels. They must identify safety and environmental concerns and suggest ways to eliminate or reduce potential problems. Some marine engineering technologists also estimate constructions costs and suggest materials to be used in particular projects, while others survey land-sites, prepare sketches and drawings and monitor instruments used in different research studies.

Computers are commonly used by marine engineering technologists to process laboratory test data and prepare computer-aided designs (CAD). Specializing in quality control involves inspections and studies on improving already existing mechanical processes and machinery on ships. Tests must routinely be performed in order to examine the existing quality of boat structures. Marine engineering technologists are required to constantly update their skills and knowledge in order to keep up with technological advancements in this quickly changing field.
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  Interests and Skills  
Marine engineering technologists should have a natural affinity for mechanics, mathematics and electronics. Since imprecise calculations could cause major disasters and expensive mistakes, they must be able to spot potential problems before they happen or make quick decisions in emergency situations. Their jobs are extremely technical therefore they should be organized and methodical in their working habits. They need to work well with both physical and mental challenges.

Marine engineering technologists must have good hand-eye coordination, be patient and attentive and be in good shape. Finally, they should hold a love of the marine environment, a respect for the way the ocean works and a sense of curiosity.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Prepare marine engineering designs, drawings and specifications for machines and components, power transmission systems process piping, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems
  • Ensure that the main engines and associated machinery on ships are operating efficiently
  • Inspect mechanical installations and construction
  • Monitor automatic data recording equipment and analyze data to make adjustments as required
  • Manually record all necessary readings from machinery operation to make similar analysis and adjustments
  • Carry out regular maintenance of the main engine and also repair defective auxiliary equipment
  • Stand engine room watches at sea and in port
  • Ensure that the operations of the vessel do not lead to pollution
  • Prepare cost and material estimates, project schedules and reports
  • Maintain engine room stores and record usage of parts and equipment
  • Supervise major maintenance work while the ship is in port
  • Marine engineering technologists may work on-shore, when a boat is docked or at sea on voyages. Those working on ships work in all weather conditions, which can sometimes be hot, noisy, dirty and dangerous. It is common for some technologists to match days on work with days off. For example, if a marine engineering technologist works on a ship for two months, they will usually have two months off when the voyage is over. Those who work primarily on docked ships will work standard hours, except for when there is an emergency situation requiring longer hours.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Marine engineering technologists work in ships' machine or engine rooms and on other parts of passenger and cargo ships and ferries. Some work onshore in offices and get called onto docked boats for repairs. When doing these repairs, marine engineering technologists must adhere to a very tight sailing schedule, because it costs ships a great deal of money to stay in port. They work for both the public and private sectors on passenger lines and ferries, cargo ships, offshore oil and gas suppliers, warships and submarines. They may work through a union or get directly hired by shipping companies that need an engineer on staff.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Experienced marine engineering technologists may advance to become chief technologists or managers. They may go to school and become marine engineers and start designing blueprints for underwater machines used for mapping ancient shipwrecks and underwater imaging.

  Educational Paths  
There are a few ways to become a marine engineering technologist. A number of colleges and technical institutes offer two-year programs in marine technology. Accordingly, these programs are usually coupled with an apprenticeship program, in which the student gets hands-on experience, working directly under the supervision of an experienced marine engineer. It is important that marine engineering technologists keep up to date with training and the latest marine technology to stay current at their jobs.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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