Merchant Navy engineering officer

Merchant Navy engineering officers maintain the mechanical and electrical machinery and instruments on board a ship.

Average salary (a year)

£8,000 Starter


£70,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

52 to 54 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become a Merchant Navy engineering officer

You can get into this job through:

  • sponsored training

Other routes

You'll need to be sponsored by a shipping or engineering company, to become an engineering officer.

You would train towards a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in marine or mechanical engineering. It would 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
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

  • have good eyesight
  • pass a medical check

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your work will depend on which level of engineer you are:

  • As chief engineer you’ll be planning engineering tasks and allocating staff
  • As second engineer you’ll be supervising the day-to-day duties of staff and engine crew
  • As third engineer you’ll be helping the second officer and looking after electrical systems and machinery
  • As junior/fourth engineer you’ll be carrying out general machinery maintenance, often the first posting for an officer trainee

Your role could also include:

  • running maintenance checks on machinery and systems
  • responding to equipment failure alerts and repairing faults
  • maintaining fuel levels and stocks of spare parts
  • updating record management systems
  • mentoring and supporting trainees

Working environment

You could work on a ship.

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

You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become captain or 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.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Marinas and Boatyards apprentice

  • Wage : £138.75 Weekly
  • Location: Salcombe TQ8 8NQ

Apprentice Boatbuilder

  • Wage : £200.00 Weekly
  • Location: Gosport PO12 1AH

Courses In England

Level 2 Diploma in Engineering

  • Provider: Hull College
  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: HULL

L1 Diploma in Engineering Level 1

  • Provider: Blackburn College
  • Start date: 03 September 2019
  • Location: BLACKBURN

Get help using this service

Call 08000 150 950

8am to 10pm, 7 days a week

More ways to contact us

Is this page useful?

Yes No