Marine Engineering

Everything You Need to Know About a Career in Marine Engineering

Marine engineers are responsible for a ship’s onboard mechanical and major equipment. They help in managing a ship’s operation, maintenance, and repair. There are several mechanic operations and systems that contribute to the functioning of a ship. These systems require a professional with in-depth knowledge about a ship’s body and its various systems.

A century ago, marine engineering was not a popular topic. But in today’s modern world, with technology having its reach in every field, marine engineering is a career that has flourished far and wide.

As a Marine Engineer, you will get to work on a large marine vessel such as a cargo ship, a passenger ship, an oil tanker, or a luxury cruise liner. The job itself can be quite demanding.

When on the job, you will sail with a ship and work in shifts to ensure that all of the ship’s mechanical, electrical, and electronic systems are in working order.

You will frequently be required to work hands-on and spend time in the engine compartment. As Junior Engineers, such hands-on work will be more important at the start of your career. The majority of the basic maintenance work will be done by technicians, but you will also need to be ready to get your hands dirty.

Career Path and Requirements:

After completing a four-year marine engineering degree program, a candidate is qualified to work on ships. A fresh marine engineering graduate will work as a trainee or junior engineer on a ship for six months. A set of supplementary courses might also be required before getting boarded on ships. After completing the necessary training and sea-time, a fifth engineer is eligible to sit for class IV exams, after which he or she will be able to join as a fourth engineer.

A company will promote the third engineer after gaining sufficient experience and based on performance. After completing the necessary courses, candidates can opt for lucrative career options in public and private shipping companies, shipbuilding and designing firms, the navy, and research bodies. The job itself is very demanding as the engineers might have to be at sea for long durations of time. But the pay is highly lucrative and can be very rewarding.

The minimum requirements for a UG course in marine engineering would be that the individual must possess a 10 + 2 PU degree in physics, chemistry, and mathematics as compulsory subjects. The individual must also be around 17- 25 years. The admission process is either merit-based or entrance-based. The minimum education period would be around 4 years.

The Exams and Courses:

  • After entering the marine engineering course and having completed your B.Tech, you must devote a certain amount of sea time before giving your MEO exams. The sea time can vary anywhere from 6 months to a year. After completing your time at sea, you must appear for your first MEO class exam, which is the MEO 4th class exam for junior engineers. Once you complete your 4th class MEO, you can sit for your MEO class 2 exams, which can get you jobs as a 2nd class engineer on the ship.


  • Before you sit for your MEO class 2 exams, you must gather one year of experience at sea as a 4th engineer. One year of onboard experience is a pre-requisite for you to be eligible for the MEO class 2 exam. On passing the examination, you can join aboard as a second engineer. Once you gather experience for about 1-1 ½ year at sea, you are now eligible for the class 1 MEO exam.


  • Once you pass your class 1 MEO exam and got through some amount of training, you can join aboard as a chief engineer. The various levels and examination process at each level is a key requirement before appointing you to your respective job role at each class or level. These examinations and training mold you into the perfect marine engineer, capable of dealing with any problems at sea.


  • A career as a Marine Engineer is a dream job for many people. It’s difficult to break into this field because it’s very competitive. The pay is successful in the market. You would be earning 5 lacs or more per month before the age of 30 or 35. If you are wise, you will be able to save a lot of money if you work onboard for about 15 years.


  • Life on board may seem a bit difficult. Every glitz and glam is reserved for cruise ships. You may be able to find work on oil tankers that pay better


  • The only drawback as a marine engineer would be your extensive time at sea and time away from your family and friends. But due to the high salary package, you could also save and get into early retirement as soon as you’re 40 or 35. If you’re passionate about the sea, then this job is for you. The rewards are plenty and the sea is waiting for you.