Ship Engineer

Operate the moving parts below decks and make repairs on the open seas.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$38,000 – $113,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Ship Engineers do?

Ship Engineers manage all the moving parts below a ship’s deck. While the Captain oversees crew members and staff, and charts a boat’s course, you oversee Maintenance Workers and ensure all the boat’s mechanics are functioning normally. Typical duties include maintaining engines and boilers, repairing generators and pumps, and operating machinery.

If you find true freedom in the vastness of the ocean, and love taking mechanical objects apart and putting them back together again just to see how they work, a job as a Ship Engineer might be the perfect choice. As a Ship Engineer, you can choose to work on huge cruise ships, small tugboats, and everything in between. When you’re not sailing, you remain very close to the water. You work in shipyards fixing docked boats, providing routine maintenance, or putting ships together. You can also specialize in building a particular kind of vessel or fixing a common ship problem.

When a ship is out on the ocean, far away from land and other resources, it’s important to be able to think on your feet in case something goes awry. It’s your job to repair parts when they break while you’re out on the open water. You might need to fabricate a viable fix using spare parts at hand until the boat has the opportunity to dock.

Sometimes, your job will require you to work long and odd hours. During a long voyage, if something goes wrong at three in the morning, expect to get up and address that issue immediately. But take comfort in the fact that your dedication keeps people safe and sound at sea.


Should I be a Ship Engineer?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Cadet Engineer, Engineer, Fishing Vessel, Engineer, Second Assistant, Engineer, Third Assistant, Harbor Engineer See More

    How to become a Ship Engineer

    Most Ship Engineers have a Certificate. Chart?chd=s:k9aiaa&chl=no+college+%2813%25%29|certificate+%2877%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2810%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,13,77
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