Marine Engineers and Naval Architects

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Also known as:
Marine Architect, Marine Equipment Engineer, Marine Structural Designer, Naval Engineer, Ships Equipment Engineer

Video transcript

Whether it's a motorboat or a cruise ship, someone has to design it and figure out how to make it move. Naval architects work in the basic design and oversee construction. From the shape of the hull to the size of the captain's bridge, they consider every aspect of the way a ship will look and perform.

To do this, they work closely with marine engineers, because the engineers develop, inspect, and help operate the systems for propelling the ship safely and efficiently. Both the architect and the engineer must consider the demands that will be placed on the boat - in all kinds of conditions.

And while ships have sailed the seas since ancient times, in the modern era, computers are needed to help with the complex calculations, such as determining where the ship's center of gravity will be, and how much weight it can carry.

Naval architects and marine engineers require specialized training in college-level programs. Their work calls for strong math, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. While this is not a field that is growing quickly, the need for these experts is expected to be steady. This is because marine engineers and naval architects design vessels that are indispensible to world commerce.


Design, develop, and evaluate the operation of marine vessels, ship machinery, and related equipment, such as power supply and propulsion systems.

Daily tasks

Evaluate operation of marine equipment during acceptance testing and shakedown cruises.

Confer with research personnel to clarify or resolve problems and to develop or modify designs.

Analyze data to determine feasibility of product proposals.

Coordinate activities with regulatory bodies to ensure repairs and alterations are at minimum cost and consistent with safety.

Investigate and observe tests on machinery and equipment for compliance with standards.

Review work requests and compare them with previous work completed on ships to ensure that costs are economically sound.

Prepare, or direct the preparation of, product or system layouts and detailed drawings and schematics.

Prepare technical reports for use by engineering, management, or sales personnel.

Oversee construction and testing of prototype in model basin and develop sectional and waterline curves of hull to establish center of gravity, ideal hull form, and buoyancy and stability data.

Determine conditions under which tests are to be conducted, as well as sequences and phases of test operations.

Conduct analytical, environmental, operational, or performance studies to develop designs for products, such as marine engines, equipment, and structures.

Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
Operations Analysis Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.