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Port management

Marine engineer

Marine engineers design, build, test and repair boats, ships, underwater craft, offshore platforms and drilling equipment.

Annual Salary

£24,000 to £55,000

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 / bank holidays; away from home

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Marine engineer jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

Depending on the industry you work in, you could:

  • build and repair ships and boats
  • work on leisure boats
  • install and repair onboard systems
  • design, build and operate offshore gas and oil platforms
  • undertake marine surveying
  • make sure engines, instruments and systems work safely
  • keep up to date with laws for safety and environmental protection

Working environment

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

You could work at a shipyard, in an office, on a ship, at a port or underwater.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, physically demanding and you may spend nights away from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
University

You would normally need to complete a foundation degree or degree to become a marine engineer. Courses include:

  • marine engineering
  • marine technology
  • naval architecture
  • offshore engineering

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and a science for a degree
For more information
Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a marine engineer advanced apprenticeship, then take further training on the job to qualify.

As a qualified engineer, you may be able to apply for a marine technical superintendent degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information
Work

You could train as a marine engineering technician with the Merchant Navy or Royal Navy, then study for a marine engineering degree while working.

More information

Further information

You can find more advice about careers in engineering from the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and British Marine.

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With experience, you could specialise in project management, research and development or consultancy.

There are also opportunities for experienced marine engineers to work in shore-based roles with responsibility for vessel refits, legal work in maritime engineering safety and shipping fleet management.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of physics
  • design skills and knowledge
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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