A career at Sea is an exciting way to get to travel the world whilst working, and becoming an engineer in the merchant navy is a fantastic route to get the most out of this endeavour. With vessels ranging from cargo ships to private yachts, there is no limit to the experiences you can have as a member of this sector. Like with any career path though, there are different factors to consider and it’s important to have a firm grasp of expectations and job roles before you apply.
This article will explain the engineering department and the role of being a maritime engineer in the merchant navy, including how to apply for this position.
What is the Engineering Department?
The main responsibility of the engineering department is to monitor and maintain the running of all machinery on board, including keeping a watch over the engine room and all machinery up on deck. Daily shifts will include both observation and repairs that keep the propulsion of the ship working at its most efficient.
What is an Engineer Officer?
This is a term given to members of the team that make up the engineering department, all reporting to the Chief Engineer. Within the hierarchy, there will also be a Second Engineer and possibly a Third and a Fourth depending on the size of the vessel.
Engineering cadets are a crucial member of the team that help with the day to day running and watches of the engine room and they report to the Second Engineer.
How to Become a Marine Engineer
To ensure the safety of the vessel, staff and any passengers, the STCW convention lays out strict rules of necessary experience and education before you can be classified as an engineer officer. You also need to be aged 18 and over. However, to begin your training and gain the experience you need, there are cadetships available to jump-start your merchant navy career.
A marine engineering cadetship is usually a 3-year course which, once completed, will ensure that you are a capable and confident engineer. The course is similar to an apprenticeship, so you can earn a wage whilst gaining practical experience, and learning in a college environment, and sea time through placements on different vessels.
These cadetships are sponsored by marine charities or commercial companies and can be applied for with GCSE’s or A-Levels, making a merchant navy cadetship a great alternative to University.
Engineering Cadetship Entry Requirements
There are different qualification streams you can apply for through Chiltern, including an HND or a foundation degree in marine engineering.
The entry requirements for the HND course are GCSE grade of 5 or above in maths (or Scottish Standard Level 5), and GCSE grades of 4 or above (or Level 4 Scottish Standard Level) in English, physics (or combined sciences) and at least two other subjects. These entry requirements also apply to the foundation degree course, in addition to applicants requiring a minimum of 48 Tariff points through A-Levels or equivalent, preferably in maths or at least one science-based subject.
You can also apply to study towards an Honours Degree in Marine Engineering with all of the above criteria, but with a requirement of 80 tariff points in A-Levels including maths or a science-based subject.