How to become a Merchant Navy engineering officer

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

Apprenticeship

You can do a maritime mechanic intermediate apprenticeship. You will cover both electrical and mechanical engineering work.

You would take further training to qualify as an officer after completing your apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

You can apply to sponsoring shipping or engineering companies to train as an engineering officer.

You will do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in marine or mechanical engineering. Your training will also include the Certificate of Competency, which you need to work at sea.

You'll normally need:

  • GCSE grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English, maths, and a science, preferably physics
  • 2 or 3 A levels or equivalent qualifications

If you've worked as a mechanical engineer elsewhere, for example in the fishing industry or the Royal Navy, you may be exempt from some of the training to become an engineer. You'll still need to find a company to sponsor you.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a Merchant Navy engineering officer from Careers At Sea and Merchant Navy Training Board.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • business management skills
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

  • pass a medical check

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You'll work with the engines, ventilation systems, navigation and communications equipment, and deck fittings like cranes, hoists and landing craft.

On a typical day you will:

  • monitor hydraulic and control equipment
  • run maintenance checks on machinery and systems
  • respond to equipment failure alerts and repair faults
  • maintain fuel levels and stocks of spare parts
  • update record management systems
  • inspect equipment
  • mentor and support trainees

As you move up through the ranks to senior engineer you'll also supervise a team of engineers.

Working environment

You could work on a ship.

Your working environment may be cramped, at height, outdoors in all weathers and you may spend nights away from home.

You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could work your way up to third, second and then senior engineer before taking on the role of chief engineer. You could also work towards chartered status with the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST).

If you decide to work onshore you could move into management, ship surveying, lecturing or research.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Merchant Navy engineering officer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

90-credit Diploma in Engineering

  • Provider: CHESTERFIELD COLLEGE
  • Start date: 07 September 2021
  • Location: CHESTERFIELD

Engineering BTEC (Foundation Diploma)

  • Provider: KING EDWARD VII SCHOOL
  • Start date: 01 September 2021
  • Location: SHEFFIELD

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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