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Marine engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the construction as well as the operation of mechanical equipment of seagoing craft, docks, and harbor installations.
Marine Engineers are responsible for the design and connstruction of seagoing vessels and structures, focusing primarily on their internal systems. Simply put, they design the onboard electrical, environmental and propulsion systems aboard everything from oil platforms to cruise ships.
No environment on Earth is as demanding as the sea. Designing and building vessels and structures that can withstand the wind, waves and salt exposure requires special education and experience. The modern world’s global commerce is largely enabled by the ocean-going technological marvels created by Marine Engineers.
Today’s oceans are plied by oil and cargo ships that are amazingly huge and complex. The largest ship ever built, once named Seawise Giant, was over 1500 feet long. Royal Caribbean International recently launched 2 Oasis class cruise ships, floating paradises that routinely carry over 5000 happy cruisers on vacation. The Marine Engineering involved in assuring the safety of the crews and passengers of these behemoths is challenging and exacting. Marine engineers routinely break records and create new technology as a normal course of doing business.
Like any engineering field, Marine Engineering requires a strong background in math and science. Pursuing and engineering degree is a serious commitment and is not to be taken lightly.
Along with math and science skills, you’ll probably do well if you’re fascinated by the ocean and the engineering involved with in harnessing the power of the sea. Not all Marine Engineers work safely behind a desk designing systems. If you don’t think you ever want to spend time on a ship or other off-shore structure, you might think about a different career choice. However, if ships and the sea call to you, this is a rewarding profession worthy of consideration.
The normal path to becoming a Marine Engineer is to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited university. Many public and private colleges offer undergraduate degrees in Marine Engineering, but there are some schools that specialize in this arena. Marine Engineers are highly involved in the design and operation of shipboard electrical and environmental systems as well as power plants, so you’ll take courses in electrical engineering, fluid dynamics and power production.
Moving on to a Master’s Degree in Marine Engineering will often encompass a broader area of study including Naval Architecture. Naval Architecture involves the overall structural design of ships and other vessels.
At the pinnacle of Marine Engineering are professionals who have earned their Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.) in the field. With the complexity involved in many of these large-scale systems, the sky is the limit.