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Life As a Ship Engineer

Occupation Description Supervise and coordinate activities of crew engaged in operating and maintaining engines, boilers, deck machinery, and electrical, sanitary, and refrigeration equipment aboard ship.

Life as a Ship Engineer: What Do They Do?

  • Maintain electrical power, heating, ventilation, refrigeration, water, or sewerage systems.
  • Maintain or repair engines, electric motors, pumps, winches, or other mechanical or electrical equipment or assist other crew members with maintenance or repair duties.
  • Maintain complete records of engineering department activities, including machine operations.
  • Perform general marine vessel maintenance or repair work, such as repairing leaks, finishing interiors, refueling, or maintaining decks.
  • Operate or maintain off-loading liquid pumps or valves.
  • Perform or participate in emergency drills, as required.

Ship Engineer Needed Skills

Ship Engineers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Equipment Maintenance: Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.

Troubleshooting: Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

Other Ship Engineer Job Titles

  • Barge Engineer
  • Assistant Engineer
  • Chief Engineer
  • Ferry Engineer
  • Operating or Equipment Maintenance Marine Engineer

What Kind of Ship Engineer Job Opportunities Are There?

There were about 10,100 jobs for Ship Engineers in 2016 (in the United States).

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.5% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 700 new jobs for Ship Engineers by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 1,300 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Ship Engineers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Ship Engineers are Virginia, Texas, and Washington.

Watch out if you plan on working in Indiana, Pennsylvania, or Missouri. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Ship Engineer Make?

The typical yearly salary for Ship Engineers is somewhere between $40,330 and $123,670. A Ship Engineer median salary is $71,130.

Salary Ranges for Ship Engineers

How much do Ship Engineers make in different U.S. states?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

New York












South Carolina












New Jersey














North Carolina


What Tools do Ship Engineers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Ship Engineers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Excel

How to Become a Ship Engineer

What education is needed to be a Ship Engineer?

Ship Engineer Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Ship Engineer?

Ship Engineer Work Experience

Where Ship Engineers Work

Ship Engineer Sectors

Similar Careers

Career changers with experience as a Ship Engineer sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

  • Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators


Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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