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Design & planning

Naval architect

Naval architects design, construct, refit and repair marine vessels and offshore structures.

Annual Salary

£25,000 to £65,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; occasionally

Future employment

There will be 3.4% more Naval architect jobs in 2026.

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • coordinate the work of engineering design teams
  • make sure that designs are safe, seaworthy and cost-effective
  • prepare design plans using computer software
  • check and test specifications using computer simulations and 3D models
  • make sure that designs meet operational requirements
  • coordinate manufacturing or repair work

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in an office, at a shipyard, on a rig, on a ship or in a laboratory.

Your working environment may be at height and outdoors some of the time.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course

Most naval architects have a degree or postgraduate qualification that is recognised by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects. This would usually be an engineering subject like:

  • naval architecture
  • ocean, offshore or marine engineering
  • ship science

You may be able to get onto a degree course if you've got qualifications from working as an engineering technician.

Degree courses that offer practical work experience through a year in industry, summer placements or internships may give you an advantage. Your university careers service can help you find suitable opportunities.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics
For more information

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Royal Institution of Naval Architects for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a naval architect from:Royal Institution of Naval Architects; Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology; British Marine

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With experience, you could progress to senior positions. You could become a consultant, providing technical and commercial guidance, support and project management for research, design, construction, refits or conversions.

You could also move into other areas like procurement, sales and marketing.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to read English
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
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