Marine Engineering



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MARINE ENGINEERING (and Naval architecture)



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 In our Boat Building section we described how in the realm of smaller craft the role of the boat wright and the naval architect divided over a century ago. However even today in the recreational boating industry and yachting the two roles merge. If you are concerned with design don't limit your book search to Marine Engineering alone but be sure to check our Boat Building section as well. 

 Basically "marine engineering" literature divides along two interrelated lines related to the two types of licensed and graduate engineering disciplines  followed. Each of these disciplines must know a fair amount of the other's body of knowledge. Chronologically we might say the first discipline is closely related to naval architecture and that is marine mechanical and electrical engineering the disciplines that fill in the details of the naval architect's plans before the ship can be brought to life. We have not yet decided whether or not we will have a separate Naval Architecture section or not, since so much of the literature of this discipline must appear in Boat Building, and Marine Engineering. The second engineering discipline that comes on line as the ship starts its service life is Marine Operating Engineering.

 Ships have elaborate propulsion systems, and service systems, generating their own electricity and hydraulic power. These system are operated and maintained by marine engineering "ratings", or "technicians" or "petty officers" under the leadership and management of licensed or commissioned "Engineering Officers". This is operating engineering at its highest and yet grittiest level. 

Below is a link to a minute and half video explaining in very basic terms the different roles of Naval architects and Marine Engineers. Since many operating Marine Engineers (licensed Merchant Marine Engineering or Commissioned Naval Engineering Officers are graduates of maritime or naval academies with degrees in mechanical engineering, the film makes only passing mention of the operating engineer's role, and no mention of marine engineering "ratings" or technicians. We will off other videos that address these aspects of marine engineering. (Obsolete link) 

Here is a short video depicting the work of Naval Engineering (operating) Officers in the Canadian Navy: (good link) 

Here is an interview with an Engineering Officer aboard a Canadian Coast Guard vessel. Note the contrast between the size of the work force on the Canadian naval ship and the Coast Guard vessel. The Canadian Coast Guard vessel is manned more in keeping with typical Merchant marine of commercial standards. The Engineering Officer has more hands on duties and is assisted on his watch by only one "oiler" or technician.  (good link) 

Here is a Royal Navy video on the "engineering "rating" (petty officer ot "technician level", requiring extensive technical training but not a four year degree in mechanical engineering. The U.S. Coast Guard has a similar rate called "Machinery Technician". The U.S. Navy tends to break the engineering technician rates into more specialized areas like "Engineman, MAchinest Mate, etc.. The American Merchant Marine and commercial services refer to the apprentice technician grades as "wipers" and "oilers" and the certified technician rate as "Qualified Member of the Engine Department or QMED. (good link)

Now lets take a look at an American commercial marine engineering technician at work, someone trained like the Naval and Coast Guard ratings or petty officers you met earlier but working in a commercial setting, mega yacht service and trained in a post high school, non university tech school. (good link) 

Lets take a look inside a 3 year commercial training institution preparing both deck and engineering licensed officers. The students depicted are preparing for operating positions shipboard in the commercial sector or "Merchant marine"

Finally lets take a look inside a U.S.state maritime college's engineering department.

We hope that we've helped the curious career seeker sort out the differences between Naval Architects, Marine Engineers(design planning), and Marine Engineers (Engineering Officers, Operating Engineers) and Marine Technicians or ratings. In all of the English speaking nations high school graduates may qualify for technician training at no cost, indeed for pay and benefits while in training in national navies and Coast Guards. Additionally Naval and Coast Guard 4 year Academies provide training for the degreed professional in exchange for commitments to military service. Numerous state colleges, junior colleges, private technical schools and formal apprenticeship training is available in the commercial sector. Technicians and petty officers often advance into the officer grades after initial training and service experience through continuing education. There are also technician opportunities as engineering technicians and draftsmen in the design and planning branches of marine engineering. 

 We will be examining and reviewing books from all branches of the naval architecture. marine engineering fields. It will take us a while to get through large body of literature.
In the mean time here is the link to amazon's collection of related books so that you may begin your own search:






Marine Learning Alliance (MLA)

 We recently learned of this organization and felt it was well worth your attention. This is a partnership with Plymouth University in the UK. This seems an excellent way to improve your professional competence in navigation, or to prepare for a career related to the sea vice one at sea. The system works in or out of range of the internet. If you are going to be at sea download before you go and you can complete a course or course segment from anywhere in the world. Send in for evaluation once you regain internet access. MLA is not a paid advertiser of this site. MLA joins the U.S. Naval Institute as simply one of the institutions that we recommend to professional mariners that can prove vital to your professional development. 



E-courses in meteorology, oceanography, data management, hydrography, marine operations, navigation, underwater acoustics, maritime law: Study on line for degree and certificate programs or down load & study from your lap top at sea. 




    Thanks to an astute comment by one of our visitors MS Anu Radha we have decided to insert some information on "Stationary", or "Power", or "Operating Engineering", the shore side "kissing cousin" of "marine engineering".  Indeed, Wikipedia describes "marine engineering" as a subset of "stationary engineering". Stationary engineers, like marine engineers operate and maintain engines, generators, electrical systems, etc. associated with large commercial buildings like hotels, factories, power plants, and high rises office buildings . In the United States such engineers are usually licensed by municipalities. There is a growing movement in the United States for a universal licensing exam. This could lead to some recognition between and among municipalities and states easing the licensing process when relocating. As we write this our research indicates that average salaries in this career field, which is shore based employment, run between $42,000 and $62,000 annually ( based on 2013 data). While not maritime in character we felt that we would be remiss if we did not include some information on this closely related field and possible shore side opportunity for our skilled marine engineers in need of some protracted shore side time. Here are some links to stationary engineering information.  Our book reviews on marine engineering subjects follow this grouping of stationary engineering links.

General Description and Discussion of Training, Licensing, Etc. :

American Society of Power Engineers:

Power Engineering Videos:

Stationary Engineers



 We have two recommended texts for the maritime professional who needs some familiarity with the principals of Naval architecture but who is not a marine engineer or naval architect.


by Harry Berford

ISBN: 10-0939773562
ISBN: 13-978-0939773565

 This is the reference book we recommend for non engineering maritime professionals such as admiralty lawyers, maritime investigators, and insurance professionals. It also may b ethe only such reference needed by some marine surveyors. Surveyors who deal in complex stability issues may need more math content than is found in this work and we a different recommendation for those needs. Also licensed deck officers faced with unique and dynamic stability issues may need more in the way of formulas and equations so this may not be the book for you unless you are seeking a primer. But for the most non engineering marine professionals this is the only book that you'll probably ever need on naval architecture and it belongs in your professional library.


For those of you who need more in the way of formulas and equations we suggest:


by E.C. Tupper
ISBN : 10: 0080982370
ISBN: 13: 978-0080982373



 We also suggest for either the new marine engineering, naval architecture student, or non engineering maritime professional who needs a  little more depth than our recommended text, INTRODUCTION TO NAVAL ARCHITECTURE by Thomas Gillmer and Bruce Johnson. (ISBN: 10-0870213180  and ISBN 13-978-0870213182)




By D.A. Taylor

ISBN 10: 0750625309
ISBN 13: 978-0750625302

AAB: RECOMMENDED for international marine engineering students and SUGGESTED for U.S. marine engineering students.

 This work is focused on comprehensively on all major aspects of ships engineering (operational, maintenance) from the propulsion machinery, to auxiliaries, and electrical. The scope of the book covers the standard of instruction for the various International third and fourth class engineering certificates and most of the standard for the engineering module on many masters examinations. We recommend this book for those seeking international merchant marine engineering officers license such as those offered by the various open registry nations (which issue licenses to non citizens) and suggest it as background reading to U.S. Merchant Marine Engineering Officer candidates. It will have some redundancy with other books that are more focused on the U.S. Coast Guard examination factors, but covers some gaps that result from such focus.



ISBN 10:0870334962       

This is volume 1 of a 2 part set that can be very helpful in preparing for the U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Exams in the engineering rates 

and licenses.  Many people preparing for these professional exam also buy the books indicated below but we think that's still not a complete set of what you need for American professional license preparation. 


Frequently Bought Together

Modern Marine Engineer's Manual, Vol. 1+Modern Marine Engineer's Manual(Volume 2): Everett C. Hunt, Editor-In-Chief ; Contributing Editors, Gus Bourneuf, Jr. ... Et Al+Diesel Engines, Third Edition (Step-By-Step)
Price For All Three: Click on the book cover icon above for pricing individually or for a complete set.
Buy the selected items together
If you are preparing for an American merchant Marine exam you will definitely also need :


But Besides that you are going to want a good question and answer work book.

The best are produced by Marine Education Textbooks

              124 North Van Avenue , Houma, LA  70363-5895      

                                       Phone: (985) 879-3866


 A click on the link above will bring you to the MET WEB SITE IF you are  preparing for an examination involving vessels under 1600 gross registered tons we recommend that you go to this site first. They offer a free reading guide for such exams. In fact save your self a lot of trouble if you are working on an exam for vessels under 1600 gt and call the store during regular working hours and ask for advice on the publications you need to prepare. They can send you all or part of them with a credit card order over the phone. Their prices on everything are always competitive and no one can sell you their own MET study guides (the famed "Blue Books" cheaper)



The Maritime Engineer: Careers in Naval Architecture and Marine, Ocean and Naval Engineering

THE MARINE ENGINEER: Careers in Naval Architecture and Marine and Ocean Engineering byCeleste Baine

ISBN: 10:0981930026
ISBN : 13:978-0981930022

 If you are an aspiring engineering student Ms Baine is probably on the top ten  list of engineers you should meet, even if it is only through her writings. She is the winner of several awards for her writing explaining and fostering careers in engineering. 

American Admiralty Books recommended for students interested in engineering careers and their parents.

 click on this book cover icon to read more or order


  1. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

    1. Thank you. Like the entire site the Engineering section is "under construction" and we will have more content in the future. Meanwhile don;t forget that the professions of Naval Architect and Ship Wright or Boat Wright only separated a little over a century ago. So be sure to visit our "Boat Building" section for posted information, site links, video links, books suggestions and video suggestions that are closely related to Naval Architecture. Then don't forget the impact of design upon global distribution economics, think of the tanker and the container ship's impacts on the world, and the effect that increasing ship speed had upon economies. These sorts of developments are often featured in our Merchant Marine Interest Section. Finally think of iron clads over wooden hulls, steam vs sail in the realm of naval developments. Those sorts of subjects are often covered in our Naval Interests section. So when perusing readings and videos , and links to web sites on subjects related to Naval Architecture, don't forget BOAT BUILDING, MERCHANT MARINE INTERESTS, and NAVAL INTERESTS. Thank you for writing.

  2. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!
    Naval architecture

  3. Thank you, we are trying. We appreciate having our efforts appreciated. Don't forget that many maritime subjects have redundant aspects with other maritime subjects. For example here in MARINE ENGINEERING we note the distinction between operating engineering and design engineering including Naval Architecture. Don't forget that the trade of Boat or ship Wright and the profession of Naval Architect historically only separated about a century and half ago. So our BOAT BUILDING section should have books and videos of interest to those interested in Naval Architecture. Our BOAT BUILDING section is also where we feature boat and ship modeling information. Modeling skill can be important in Naval Architecture. Finally some design and engineering application items wind up in the MERCHANT MARINE INTEREST SECTION, or the NAVAL INTERESTS Section. The Nautical Arts and sciences are a very integrated body of knowledge.

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you Praveena for the kind words and please tell others regardless of the nature of their maritime interest,professional or recreational to visit us often. In the coming days we are going to release some research and introduce all of our readers to some very important developments that affect all of us as users of the oceans and waterways. Those who have been regular visitors a while will notice one recent change to our daily "STATION IDENTIFICATION AND NOTICE BOARD, the first window that most people see when they enter the site. On a daily basis we are following the fund raising for the Coral Bot a project with great potential for repairing distressed coral reefs. Our recent research has shown us certain areas of vital scientific research and remedial actions that our ocean planet needs that are totally dependent on public interest and the private donations of ordinary people. These are activities that will probably never see government or corporate funding until the not for profits, non profits, academics, and visionary start ups lead the way. Without donations from the general public the projects we will begin to introduce our visitors to would disappear and with them important parts of the environment of our shared ocean world. We urge all of our visitors regardless of which special interest page they may visit regularly to check the "Station Identification and Notice Board" daily and monitor progress of these super worthwhile activities. Thank you again, Praveena for visiting, every visitor counts.

  5. Thank you so much... i didnt have the knowledge in this now i get an idea about this.. thks a lot

    MSc-Naval Architecture & Ship Building

  6. Anu:
    Thank you for your comment. You sound like someone interested in starting a career. Don't forget that shipboard engineering utilizes many of the same skills as "operating engineering", sometimes also called "stationary engineering". This is the practice of operating and maintaining the engines, generators, and other systems associated with very large commercial buildings, hospitals, power plants, and factories. Many stationary engineers have started their careers as seagoing engineers. Believe me if you can practice your profession at sea you can practice it eventually anywhere. We don't usually delve into non maritime occupations but this connection between Marine Engineering and Stationary Engineering is well known among maritime professionals. Here are some links to information on the land side of the profession: General Description:

    Large Union:

    Look for an expansion of coverage on this subject in the Marine engineering section in the near future. Clearly stationary engineering is a subject that not only is related to marine engineering, of interest to new career seekers but also of vital interest to our existing working mariners looking for a career transition ashore. Thank you very much for writing. Your very short comment has caused a major editorial change on this end. Good luck in finding a career thatyou can truly enjoy.

    Johnas Presbyter-Editor in Chief

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