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What Marine Engineers and Naval Architects Do

Marine engineers and naval architects design, build, and maintain ships from aircraft carriers to submarines, from sailboats to tankers. Marine engineers work on the mechanical systems, such as propulsion and steering. Naval architects work on the basic design, including the form and stability of hulls.


Marine engineers typically do the following:

The people who operate or supervise the operation of the machinery on a ship are sometimes called marine engineers, or, more frequently, ship engineers. Their work differs from that of the marine engineers in this profile. For more information on ship engineers, see the profile on water transportation occupations.

Marine engineers are increasingly putting their knowledge to work in power generation. Companies that formerly concentrated on other activities, such as papermaking, are now increasing their efforts to produce and sell electricity back to the power grid. These engineers’ skills are also useful in the oil and gas industry, including offshore drilling operations.

Naval architects typically do the following:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition