Merchant Navy engineering officer | Selby College
Skip to main content

Merchant Navy engineering officer

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

Potential salary

£8,000 to £70,000

Employment by 2024


Working hours

52 to 54 variable

  • 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
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

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

You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.

You could work on a ship.

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

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.

You can find out more about becoming a Merchant Navy engineering officer from Careers At Sea and Merchant Navy Training Board.

Powered by Pathways.