10 Engineering Jobs on Ships (Plus Duties)

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What are engineering jobs on ships?

Professionals who work in engineering positions on ships are responsible for the operation of a ships propulsion systems, which include the propeller that the ship uses to thrust and push itself forward. An engineering crew also maintains the main and auxiliary engines and handles the technical operations aboard ships. Handling and repairing mechanical equipment is also the responsibility of the people who occupy these roles. Depending on their job title, engineering employees might have duties related to a ships electrical systems, HVAC systems and waste disposal systems.

On many ships, the engine department offers two types of jobs for engineering personnel—engine ratings or engine officers. Engine rating positions require less experience and training to pursue than engine officers. Their key duties often include assisting engineers in maintaining various equipment and machines aboard a ship. Some engine rating positions include a motorman, fitter, oiler, plumber or engine utility man. Becoming an engine officer involves more training depending on the specialty in which youre interested, but some positions include chief engineer, staff chief engineer, hotel services engineer, HVAC engineer and engine cadet.

10 engineering jobs on ships

Here are 10 engineering jobs on ships along with their job descriptions:

1. Chief engineer

A chief engineer is responsible for the technical processes onboard a ship, including the mechanical, electrical and engineering sections of a vessel. They may approve designs, communicate with team members, negotiate contracts and calculate costs of a project. They hold the highest position in the engine department, and its their duty to ensure that all technical operations aboard a ship operate properly. They accomplish this by acquiring assistance from the staff chief engineer, HVAC engineer, hotel service engineer and electrical engineer, who are all leaders in their respective departments.

2. Staff chief engineer

The staff chief engineer is the second-ranking officer in the engine department and supervises the daily processes of the entire engineering department. They instruct and train all members of the engine departments officers and ratings. Other duties of theirs include assisting the chief engineer in all technical matters on the ship, handling responsibilities regarding HR in the engine department, ordering parts and equipment as needed and creating budget proposals.

3. First engineer

The first engineers primary duties include handling all work completed in the engine room and ensuring proper maintenance of the main and auxiliary engines of a ship. Theyre also responsible for the operations of the technical and engineering operations of the ship, as directed by the staff chief engineer. Other duties include scheduling the work of other engineers and engine ratings, noting all overtime hours worked and ensuring that all safety equipment in the engine room works properly according to safety regulations.

4. Engine cadet

An engine cadet, or junior third engineer, follows instructions given by the first engineer and assists in the repair and maintenance of mechanical equipment throughout a ship. A chief engineer assigns an engine cadet other duties performed in the engine department as part of their training for promotion to third engineer status.

5. Hotel services engineer

A hotel services engineer reports directly to the staff chief engineer, and their primary duties include the repair and maintenance of all machinery, systems and equipment outside of the main engine room. Theyre responsible for all personnel whose jobs focus on the electronic, plumbing, electronic and HVAC systems of a ship. They also oversee the proper filtration of drinking water and the distribution of water in swimming pools and hot tubs aboard a cruise ship.

6. Chief electrical engineer

A chief electrical engineer oversees the maintenance of an electrical plant and other electrical systems on a ship. Theyre responsible for supervising the work of other members of the ships electrical team including the first, second and third electrical engineers. Other duties include ensuring that elevators, fire alarm systems, navigation equipment, diesel electrical propulsion systems and all other associated systems are functioning properly and operate according to regulations.

7. HVAC engineer

8. Motorman

A motorman is the highest-ranked engine rating on board a ship and handles the daily cleaning and maintenance of specific engine parts as requested by the chief engineer. Other duties include inspecting equipment and lubricating machinery, such as steering systems, generators and lifeboats.

9. Oiler

An oiler is a member of a ships engine rating personnel, and their primary duties include assisting ship engineers in lubricating bearings and other mechanical equipment. They participate in the maintenance of a ships main power plant, generators and auxiliary engines so oil gauges can operate properly.

10. Engine utility man

An engine utility man is an entry-level rating position whose responsibilities include providing assistance to engineers and other members of an engine rating team. They complete general tasks, such as maintaining and repairing different equipment on board a ship, cleaning and painting the engine room and organizing the engine room to ensure a productive environment.


What does an engineer do on a ship?

Ship engineers operate and maintain a vessels propulsion system, which includes the engine, boilers, generators, pumps, and other machinery. Large vessels usually carry a chief engineer, who has command of the engine room and its crew, and a first, second, and third assistant engineer.

How much does an engineer on a ship make?

Marine engineers are also known as marine design engineers or marine mechanical engineers and are responsible for the internal systems of a ship, such as the propulsion, electrical, refrigeration, and steering systems.

How much does an engineer make on a cruise ship?

A Ship Engineer gets an average compensation that can range from $43,440 and $131,570 depending on experience and talent. can expect an average compensation of eigthy-one thousand one hundred and ten dollars on a yearly basis.

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