Some level of engineering skill or aptitude is required if you are wanting to pursue a career in Marine Engineering.  A student can study all the theory that is available to him/her at accredited training and higher education institutions. It is definitely good to have all that knowledge, but putting that knowledge to work in a practical sense in the working environment is a different story. The importance of practical experience should never be underestimated.  Practical experience is extremely valuable.  The following methods can be used to hone your engineering skills and enhance your practical experience whilst gaining valuable knowledge:

1. Be Hands-on: Don’t be afraid to do work that will take you away from your desk and get your hands dirty.

2. Do Practical Assignments.

3. Learn-See-Apply-Perform (Self-check). Noting down your process for the purposes of record-keeping will go a long way when you need to determine where you went wrong. This will result in self-improvement.

4. Project Team Work Coordination: Every single team member is important; this includes their opinion and views on the subject matter. Always consider that someone in your team might know more than you regarding a certain aspect of the ship design. Use this opportunity to learn from them!

5. Inter-Dependent Relationships Between Disciplines: A Marine Engineer cannot do everything in a project, even though they will tell you that they can. The Marine Engineer needs the Naval Architect; the Mechanical Engineer needs input from a specialized Structural Engineer; the Workshop Foreman needs to inform the Project Manager what his/her team’s capabilities are; etc.

Basic Engineering Skills

Some basic engineering skill you will require in the marine industry or will need to acquire or focus on for the purposes of continuous development are:

Reading Drawings. Allow yourself time for more exposure.

Technical Writing. Must be able to complete assignments in the form of reports.

Rough Order of Magnitude Hand Calculations. Develop yourself to become less dependent on computers.

Project Complexity. Understand the project complexity and its multidisciplinary nature.

Practicality. Always remember the practicality of the engineering solutions. Over the design of a ship is expensive and time-consuming.

Use of Computer Aids

Computer aids can speed up the design process considerably.  It must be noted that computers are here only as a tool to help us and not to replace us, as we are still making the decisions.

You might spend all that time using software and computers to get some results, but think about what you will say if your employer asks: “And what now with all these numbers and nice pictures…?”, will you be able to fully explain your output data?

When using software and computers, avoid the most common errors made by applying the following rules:

  • Confirm the proper application of the software.
  • Make sure the methodology you are following is acceptable for the specific case.
  • Always do a results self-check.
  • And lastly, validation and verification of your results.


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