Marine engineers control the installation, operation and maintenance of machinery and equipment on ships and vessels. Marine engineers work in the engine departments of cargo ships, dredges, offshore supply and drill vessels, floating production storage and offtake facilities, oil tankers, passenger ships and tugs. They need to be familiar with various types of diesel engines, steam plant and gas turbines.
There are a number of pathways to become a marine engineer. The two main ways are through an Engineer Traineeship or Engineering Cadetship. To become a Trainee Engineer, you must complete an engineering trade approved by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. A Trainee Engineer can then become a marine engineer by completing a Certificate of Safety Training followed by at least 36 weeks of qualifying sea service on board an appropriate vessel. An approved Training Record Book must be completed during the sea service. A Trainee Engineer must also complete an approved VET qualification in maritime operations (engineer watchkeeper). On completion of the course, having met sea service and legislative requirements, the trainee will be examined by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for an Engineer Watchkeeper Certificate of Competency. The trainee may then undertake more advanced VET qualifications in marine engineering and gain further seagoing marine engineer qualifications. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. To become an Engineer Cadet you must complete Year 12 and an Engineer Cadetship approved by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. This requires the same initial training as an Engineer Trainee, plus completion of a VET qualification in maritime operations, specialising in marine engineering class 2, and a minimum of 36 weeks of approved workshop trade training. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.
Marine engineers may perform the following tasks:
Marine engineers may work onshore or at sea, or both. Those who work at sea may be away from home for long periods. They may work long shifts and be on call to work in emergencies. Engine rooms can be very noisy, hot and dirty. Physical exertion is required when repairing machinery.
Marine engineers are employed by shipping companies, including general cargo, container, bulk carrier and tanker companies. Opportunities also exist in the offshore industry, such as on tugs and supply vessels, drilling platforms and government agencies operating dredges and other port maintenance craft. Fully qualified marine engineers may be able to secure a range of shore-based positions, such as engineering superintendent or marine surveyor. With further sea service, training and examinations, a marine engineer watchkeeper may advance to first engineer and chief engineer. Australian Certificates of Competency may be internationally recognised.