Marine And Ocean Engineer Information Technology Essay

My paper is about what it is like to be a Marine and Ocean Engineer. A Marine and Ocean Engineers basically handle anything that has to do with engineering on the ocean. Simple yet put into a simple sentence like that, but Ocean and Marine Engineering can actually be a difficult, yet fun and changing career.

The field of ocean engineering provides an important link between the other oceanographic disciplines such as marine biology, chemical and physical oceanography, and marine geology and geophysics. Just as the interests of oceanographers have driven the demand for the design skills and technical expertise of ocean engineers, the innovations in instrumentation and equipment design made by ocean engineers have revolutionized the field of oceanography. This is especially true within the last three decades.

The invention of thousands of oceanographic instruments and devices has changed the way oceanographers study the oceans and coasts. Examples include: computer- and satellite-linked buoys and floats, sediment traps, ocean seismometers (instruments that measure seafloor movement in a manner similar to the way seismographs measure earthquake activity on land), underwater video equipment, acoustic measuring devices (instruments that make it possible to “sense” underwater objects and seafloor formations), and underwater vehicles, including submersibles and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).

Information that once took years to compile, and that frequently involved sampling in harsh weather conditions, can now be accomplished in minutes, often from remote locations, including ships and laboratories. The innovations of ocean engineers have enabled oceanographers to travel farther offshore and deeper into the sea, and to stay there for longer periods of time. Because of ocean engineers, major oceanographic discoveries — including hydrothermal vents, ocean volcanoes, thousands of miles of underwater mountain chains, “new” species, and biological, chemical, geographical, and physical processes and phenomena — have been made.

Ocean engineering is actually a combination of several types of engineering: a mix of mechanical, electrical, civil, acoustical, and chemical engineering techniques and skills, coupled with a basic understanding of how the oceans work. The importance of working in partnerships with oceanographers from other disciplines is critical, as the challenge of working in the ocean environment requires a range of backgrounds and skills.

College Course Program Outline

OE 501 Oceanography

Geophysical description of the earth; the extent, shape and structure of ocean basins; relief of the sea floor; chemistry of sea water; geochemical balances; physical properties of water and sea water; solar and terrestrial radiation; evaporation and precipitation over the oceans; dissolved gases in sea water; distribution of variables; general oceanic circulation.

OE 503 Seminar in Ocean Engineering

Seminar course in which you report on selected topics in ocean engineering; emphasis is on the problems encountered in performing engineering tasks in the ocean and methods employed to surmount them; you are encouraged to devise alternate methods to improve existing techniques.

OE 505 Introduction to Maritime Systems

An introductory course intended to acquaint students with the various components of maritime systems, including shorefront and inland infrastructure and waterborne (vessel) transportation technologies. Students are introduced to the concepts of port and marine terminal design, cargo handling equipment and optimization, and intermodal transportation networks. The course emphasizes the application of new and emerging technologies to enhance port productivity, drawing on developments within an array of fields, including naval architecture, civil and ocean engineering, and systems engineering. Students are provided with practical examples of the application of these concepts in actual port design projects.

OE 525 Principles of Naval Architecture

Basic principles and design calculations in naval architecture; terminology, delineation of hull form, loading and stability, trim and effects of flooding; freeboard and tonnage regulations; introduction to design of hull structure; nature of resistance and its variation with hull form and proportions; introduction to propellers and propulsion. Basic theories in maneuvering and sea-keeping characteristics, computer application in naval architecture and ship design.

OE 526 Computer-Aided Aspect of Naval Architecture*

Basic principles and design calculations in naval architecture as an extension of OE 525 PNA course with emphasis placed on the application of computers. Computer-aided studies of hull-forms, intact stability, damaged stability, resistance and propulsion characteristics, course-keeping analysis, ship motion predictions. Problems in the area of naval architecture will be considered on computers through time-sharing systems.

OE 527 Laboratory in Naval Architecture*

Solution of problems in naval architecture through model testing, actual conduct of a wide variety of model tests at Davidson Laboratory, prediction of prototype performance.

OE 528 Computer-Aided Ship Design*

Computer-aided design procedures to achieve mission requirements for various ship types through design spirals. Determination of major dimension and performance analysis during preliminary design stage. Computer graphics on mainframe and microcomputers as design tools. Pertinent design procedures are covered in a computer-aided manner.

OE 530 Yacht Design*

Calculation of hydrostatic curves to determine trim and sinkage and sailing yachts, static and dynamic stability, calculation of resistance and side force by expansion of tank test results, sail force coefficients, prediction of comparative performance based on tank test results, application of lifting surface theory to the design of keel and rudder, consideration of structural strength and stiffness. Prerequisite: OE 525 or equivalent.

OE 539 Introduction to Underwater Acoustics

Applications of underwater acoustics; wave equation; plane, spherical, and cylindrical waves; transmission and reflection of sound waves; ray acoustics; radiation and reception of sound; monopole and dipole sources; acoustic array; sound propagation in deep and shallow ocean; passive and active sonars; the sonar equation; transmission loss; ambient noise in the ocean; target strength.

OE 589 Coastal Engineering

An introductory course covering the fundamental principles of coastal engineering. The initial stages of the course are intended to provide an understanding of the physics of the coastal environment. Topics will include basic wave theory (wave generation, refraction, diffraction and shoaling), wave prediction techniques, tides and coastal circulation, and sediment transport. The latter stages of the course will be devoted to the application of these basic principles such as to stabilization and harbor development. The course will culminate in a substantial design project, which will incorporate all aspects of the course material, ranging from the estimation of design wave conditions to the actual design of a shore protection structure. Prerequisites: Ma 227 or the equivalent, Fluid Mechanics.

OE 591 Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology

Introduction to meteorology presents a cogent explanation of the fundamentals of atmospheric dynamics. The course begins with a discussion of the Earth’s atmospheric system including global circulation, climate and the greenhouse effect. The basic conservation laws and the applications of the basic equations of motion are discussed in the context of synoptic scale meteorology. The thermodynamics of the atmosphere are derived based on the equation of state of the atmosphere with specific emphasis on adiabatic and pseudo-adiabatic motions. The concept of atmospheric stability is presented in terms of the moist and dry lapse rate. The influence of the planetary boundary layer on atmospheric motions is presented with emphasis on topographic and open ocean frictional effects, temperature discontinuity between land and sea, and the generation of sea breezes. The mesoscale dynamics of tornadoes and hurricanes are discussed as well as the cyclogenesis of extratropical coast allows. The course makes use of a multitude of web-based products including interactive learning sites, weather forecasts from the National Weather Service (NWS), tropical predictions from the National Hurricane Center and NWS model outputs (AVN, NGM, ETA, and WAM). Cross listed with CE 591.

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OE 610 Marine Transportation

This course introduces students to the history and technical description of the cargo-carrying vessel. Students are given instruction in the basic principles of vessel design, and the various types of ocean-going and inland waterway cargo vessels. Issues related to the introduction of new vessel types are discussed, particularly as these new designs affect port infrastructure and capacity, harbor dredging requirements, and the intermodal transportation network.

OE 612 Environmental Issues in Maritime Systems

An introductory course intended to familiarize students with the array of environmental issues related to inland, estuarine, and oceanfront port facilities. Particular attention is paid to water quality and bottom sediment contamination problems associated with the construction and operation of port facilities. Students are introduced to the various types of analysis tools -including field measurements and computer models – employed in the examination of port and harbor environmental problems. Practical examples of their use are provided from actual projects in the New York/New Jersey region. Students are also instructed in the use of emerging technologies in the prevention/remediation of identified pollution problems. Relevant State, Federal, and international regulations are also discussed.

OE 614 Economic Issues in Maritime Systems

This course introduces students to the unique economic issues facing today’s port developers and operators. The economic considerations essential to the efficient movement of cargo from vessels to inland transportation systems are discussed. Students are introduced to concepts related to the optimization of port manpower, energy, and infrastructure as a means of assuring competitiveness in the global marketplace. Students are also introduced to the principles of port financial strategies, with examples given from port authorities in the United States and abroad.

OE 616 Sediment Transport

Theory of sediment transport in open channel flow, including applications to riverine, ocean, and coastal environments. Topics covered include boundary layer dynamics, the initiation of motion, sediment characteristics, suspended load and bed load. Applications include the estimation of transport rates in waves and currents, and the influence of hydraulic structures.

OE 618 HAZMAT Spill Response Planning

This course is designed to introduce students to the state-of-the-art in spill response planning. Numerical and analytical techniques for the prediction of fate and effects of in-water spills are discussed. Spill cleanup technologies are introduced, including mechanical (e.g., booms, skimmers), chemical (e.g., dispersants), and biological. Students are instructed in the essential steps toward developing an effective spill response plan. Special attention is paid to the influence of spill characteristics and environmental factors – waves, currents, shoreline geometry, sensitive ecological areas, etc. – in the selection of an appropriate planning strategy. Examples are given of existing spill response plans in the New York/New Jersey region, and case studies of actual spills are discussed as a means of providing students with an understanding of the complexities of operational spill response planning. Also offered as EN 618.

OE 620 Design of Coastal Structures

This course is intended to provide a detailed understanding of the design process in coastal engineering, including the statistical evaluation of oceanographic and meteorological forces and the use of physical and computer models in the assessment of design performance. The essential features of the design of several types of coastal structures will be presented, along with the relevant design relations and/or publicly available design software. The potential environmental impacts of the construction of the various coastal structures considered will also be discussed. A series of case studies and a comprehensive design project provide the opportunity to apply the principles examined. Prerequisites: undergraduate fluid mechanics, statics and dynamics or equivalent.

OE 622 Design of Port Structures I

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of port structures design, including design codes, guidelines, and functional requirements. Students are instructed in optimization procedures for port and marine terminal layout, including issues related to navigation channels and dredging, shore infrastructure and utilities, land reclamation, and environmental and economic considerations. Structural, geotechnical, and materials considerations are discussed for a variety of environmental conditions, including extreme wave and current environments, ice, and seismic loading. Examples and case studies from actual port design projects are utilized to a great extent in the delivery of the course material.


Q1 – Why did you become interested in Marine Engineering?

A1 – A great way to make a living. Decent money, big chunks of time off, almost no commute. Somewhat of an adventure, interesting, challenging, industrious are some words I like, which describe what I do. 

Q2 – Have you always wanted to be a Marine Engineer? or What made you become a marine engineer?

A2 – Not really. I have always like machinery or structures: drawing trucks and buildings were always my favourite pastime. LEGO were my favourite toys. I always wanted to do something creative which would perform a function. I originally wanted to get into graphic arts and advertising, but was lured away by the honesty of the sea and nature.

Q3 – What do you like most about your job? or What is the best part of your job?

A3 – Standing between two main engines while we are full away; the car size turbo-chargers whining, the “rumble” shakes your very core; it is very awe inspiring. Then to think, it’s your responsibility!

Q4 – What tasks does your specific job involve?

A4 – The list is very big. Too big in fact. The engineer is in charge of everything mechanical, electrical, or structural on the ship. The toilets don’t work, we go find the problems – and it’s usually not pretty. From the computers to the crankshaft, air conditioning to refrigerators, doors to windshield wipers, you name it, we must be able to make it work. I say that because we usually know how to fix, but as you can well imagine, a person can’t know it all. So basically, we must be knowledgeable enough to recognize a problem, then either fix it, make due, or call in the specialists. We deal with it! out in the middle of the Atlantic, there’s not many auto parts stores, and even less room for excuses.

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Q5 – Are you given a variety of projects to work on so that the job does not become boring? or Is it fun and exciting?

A5 – The nature of the Job always poses a large variety of challenges, everyday it’s a different one. But boredom is definitely present on some ships. For instance search and rescue ships, like the one I’ve been on, we did allot of waiting and “sitting around”, just like a fire dept. So we keep busy doing “rabbits” -a personal project. One guy machined an entire miniature steam engine over a period of time. It is a bit mundane at times, but I think I am too new, 5 years, to the biz to really feel bored.

Q6 – What kinds of challenges are you faced with while on the job? or What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do at your job?

The biggest challenge is getting along with people you have never met before and intrusting your life to them, like you would to your best friend. Might seem a bit dramatic, but I think it’s the most challenging task. You don’t have the option to go to a warm home and “recharge your batteries” if you’ve had a bad day. As for the rest of the tasks, you do what you can. Generally everyone on a ship is qualified to be there and somewhat competent. You can work together to tackle big technical challenges, which goes to the top of the answer, getting along is the biggest challenge.

Q7 – What sort of risks do you deal with? 

A7 – Life threatening risk are very present everywhere on a ship. The sea itself is not always picturesque, large machines moving fast, lots of fuel to fuel fires, a multitude of chemicals, large quantity of electromagnetic waves: The ship in itself can be a very hazardous place to be, it is always moving, even more so when you’re doing work like commercial fishing, or replacing a ten ton buoy while at sea.

Q8 – What physical condition must you be in?

A8 – The mental state is most crucial. But you’re physical well being contributes a great deal as well. Most ships have work out rooms where you can exercise. You have to be reasonably in good shape, this is to climb all those stairs. You need people that can, and will react in times of emergencies -such as firefighting on board.

Q9 – What does one need to do in order to succeed in Marine Engineering?

A9 – Good questions, when you find out, please let me know. I think its a matter of living in harmony, with people, machines and the environment. You give respect, and hopefully you get it in return. Respect, in my opinion, is based on knowledge, the more you know the better decision you can make, the better things go, the more respect you can command.

Q10 – Is there an equal opportunity for women. Is it a popular career with women?

Q10 – Not really. It is a worldwide occupation and allot of the seafarers in the modern merchant marine come from third world countries, where it is not readily accepted to work for a woman. So allot of companies, I think, tend to shy away from crewing with a mix. This is changing, albeit slowly, but changing. 

Q11A – I heard its tough to move up through the ranks, is Marine Engineering a serious career consideration for young Canadian?

Q11B – Did you experience any challenges in your career?

Q11C – Would you recommend this career to any student? 

Q11D – Do you have any tips or advice on becoming a Marine Engineer? 

A11A – Your questions, which seem to me to be as simple as “I’m I going to have a tough time feeding myself with dignity” the short answer is perhaps. It is a very reasonable question since your candidate profession is not an easy choice. You would be better off getting a BSc from UBC since it cost about as much, but you wont deal with isolation from civilization and probably wont have a tough time finding a job after your final year because “people” are more familiar with what a University or College is. 

A11AB – The main reason for this answer is that our profession is an international one, and the realities is that Canada, and our standard of pay is higher due to our high cost of living compared to other countries. As a result it will be hard for you, at first, to find a job that you would be happy with internationally; and locally you will not be taken seriously because you haven’t been in the field for 20 years. That’s just the way it is.

A11C – Having said that, I love my job. I love being around machinery, being around different people, and the ability to work in environments people only fantasize about. It was tough at first, matching the needed ambition to complete the program, with the realities of the work, and its availability, but things are getting better now. With self confidence that comes with experience, I believe my outlook is very bright in Canada, and overseas. …but it has taken me almost ten years !

A11D – Another words, if you are into instant gratification, marine engineering is not for you. You are getting into a field that requires a great deal of long term investing towards something where the payday is, in monetary terms, generally not that impressive compared to other viable avenues for young Canadians. There are allot of unknowns, upsets, tough times, but if you can keep focus on the big picture and persevere, you will be able draw much satisfaction and pride that comes from working in environments that challenges most human faculties. You’ll have the have the confidence to tackle just about anything, and generally never be out of work. Some other benefits are – reasonably good pay, legislated jobs opportunities (you’ll always be needed), when you are not away working, your home for months at a time without having to take work with you (unless you have a website), you can work anywhere in the world equally well. And you can branch out into numerous career alternatives to sea going. 

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So its up to you to decide. If you play the lottery all the time hoping for a big payoff, then this career may not be for you. If you feel gratified by displaying patience, dedication, and applying yourself to hard work, then you will appreciate this line of work. There is not easy meals, but you’ll never go hungry being a Marine Engineer in any part of the globe.

Q13 – How much time do you spend on ships?

A13 – That depends on the company or the type of work. Generally, as an officer, you get one day off the ship for everyday worked. Right now (2006) I work 14 weeks away working on a ship, then I go home for 14 weeks. 

Q14 – Do you travel a lot for your job? 

A14 – A ship by its very nature is always moving, not always to new places, but yes we travel allot. Signing on the ship and signing off the ship, on the other hand, means we travel on buses, trains, vans, cars, water taxis, walking and spending lots of time in airports. But that really only happens twice a year when go or come back from the ship. 

Q15 – Do you design new equipment for ships?

A15 – Currently no. I work on a cruise ship on the operational side of things, so just maintaining the machine is a big enough job. We always have some improvements to machines designs or processes but these are usually minor in nature.

Q16 – How long have you been a Marine Engineer?

A16 – I started as a Marine Engineering Apprentice in 1996, achieved my first license level in 1999. I achieved my second license level in 2002. There is four license levels.

Q17 – What do you do on a daily basis? or What exactly do you do?

A17 – In 2006, I worked on a large passenger ship in the capacity of Second Engineer. At any given point in the day there is two officers in charge of the operations of the ship; one is on the Bridge – the Navigational Officer of the Watch (OOW) – one is in the Engine Room – the Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOW) – I am the one in the engine room. I am in the control room of the ship (see picture), and monitor the engines and just about every other system on the ship – from elevators function to fuel temperature, to water pressure for the showers. If there is any problems, I rely on my experience and expertise to figure where the problem is and formulate a response. We have three Engineers in this particular position and we are assisted by 1-3 other crew in the actual engine room. The OEW work 8 hours a day in the Control Room, and we also have areas of responsibility in the engine room, where we spend an additional 3-4 hours maintaining “our” equipment.  

Q18 – Where do you do your work? and How long did it take to get to your current place in your career?

A19 – Right now (2006), I work on the Rhapsody of the Seas, and large passenger cruise ship operating out of Galveston, Texas, in the Gulf of Mexico. It has taken me about 6 years to get to this current position of responsibility. 

Q19 – How many years of college did you go through? and What college would you recommend to pursue a career in marine engineering? or What type of education do you need to get to your current place in your career?

A19 – On the Training Page you will find most answers to these questions. As for me, I completed a four year Marine Engineering Apprenticeship which means that I was hired by a company, then sent to a dedicated school, BCIT’s Pacific Marine Campus in North Vancouver, where I had structured formal training for about 4 months every year. Currently, its a little different, you sign up as a Cadet with the school and then you do your practical time at sea with various companies. Check out the Training Page for further info.  

Q20 – What was the best moment in your career?

A20 – There is no particular best moment I can remember. They’re are so many, even more that I forgotten until someone brings it up again over beers. So there is no answers to this question. As most everyday, something new and sometimes exciting happens.

Q21 – Did you ever come across something you couldn’t do in your career?

A21 – As engineers, most people turn to us for answers and results, generally there is nothing we can’t do; and those things are only restricted by preconceived notions of what should be and accountants.

Q22 – What college degree do most marine engineers have ?

A22 – Most Marine Engineers do not have a degree per se, if they work on a ship. There is a title of Marine Engineers that some people carry, because they have gone to University, have taken Mechanical Engineering and specialized in marine structures such as wharves, oil rigs, ship design, etc. Marine Engineers referred to in this website, are operational engineers for the most part. They have taken pretty much the same basic courses as a Mechanical Engineer, but also have much more hands on courses as well. Ship’s engineers do not specifically hold a “Degree” but instead hold a “License” which is issued by Government, and is recognized internationally. The license is what allows persons to claim the title of Officer on a Ship. Some marine university offer “bridging” courses which will enhance the Officer’s training to achieve a “land recognized” University Degree.  

Q23 – What subjects in school would you need to excel at to become a marine engineer?

A23 – Physics, calculus, trigonometry, algebra, so on and so forth play a major role in the training, also sciences are pretty important, in particular Chemistry. Anyone considering any engineering path should feel comfortable challenging these subjects.


Marine and Ocean Engineering is a field that you should go into if you love working on anything and everything that has to do with the ocean. It is also a good field to go into if you love to live on the ocean.

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