Maritime Jobs - A Week in the Life as a Senior Maritime Engineer

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Maritime Engineering work is a very widely varying job, or to be more accurate a grouping of jobs that takes in a very broad range of definitions from the everyday grind work like loading and unloading. The Engineering officers on any seagoing craft are responsible for keeping the ship going. In a very real sense they are the engine room of the ship – literally and figuratively. The variety of work for which the rest of the ship depend on the engineering crew means that there is a need for a large staff of engineers on any ship that will be carrying a significant load. The typical setup contains

  • Chief Engineering Officer CEO
  • First Assistant Engineer/Second Engineer
  • Second Assistant Engineer/Third Engineer
  • Third Assistant Engineer/Fourth Engineer
  • Trainee Engineer/Fifth Engineer/Cadet

Normally the term senior marine engineer covers the top two ranks

Senior Engineer Role

To oversee the work of the engineering staff, a ship requires a Senior Maritime Engineer. The job of the senior engineer is to ensure that all the work that is carried out by the engineering staff is carried out satisfactorily within the job description and pertaining to the requirements laid down by the ship’s own rules. It does not stop there, however, with the senior engineering staff having a large impact on the design of systems that allow work to be more efficient, and the ship to operate without any unnecessary hitches. In many ways, the Senior Engineering Officer more than anyone sees to it that life at sea for the crew and passengers is as easy as possible.


To qualify as a Senior Maritime Engineer a candidate needs to have an incredibly broad skill set that takes in the mundane – compliance with general rules, supervision of the engineering staff and the everyday tasks that allow the smooth running of the ship – and the potentially revolutionary such as design work that can make a profound impact on the inner workings not just of the ships on whoosh they work but on others far beyond that. As well as this, the senior engineer needs to know just about everything there is to know about different forms of engineering – from the simplest mechanical techniques to the more esoteric side of things, taking in chemical, hydraulic and even nuclear engineering.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the engineering staff are the heart and lungs of a ship’s crew, and in a lot of ways the senior maritime engineer is a major part of its brain. Without a sound engineering mind – or a few sound engineering minds – the ship cannot function as normal, as the engineering staff do not just see to it that the propulsion system of a seagoing craft is functional, but also oversee the sound functioning of the living systems on board – so without them the plumbing, electrics and atmospheric technology on a ship would soon fall into disrepair. Jobs like this are invaluable enough on dry land, but on the open seas where you cannot reasonably call out an engineer by looking through the telephone book, they are all the more vital.


A marine engineer needs to clear certifications to progress along the rank hierarchy starting from OOW exam right upto the Chief’s Ticket apart from numerous short courses which are all carried out under the umbrella of the STCW regulations. The remuneration starts from few hundred dollars as trainee to nearly USD 12,000+ pm at the CEO level and this could be much more depending on the type of ships