Marine Engineering Apprenticeship

Marine Engineering Apprenticeship

Maritime engineers are technical professionals who design, develop, build, install, inspect, and maintain propulsion systems, engines, pumps, and other equipment required to function boats and other marine vehicles effectively. These guys run various vessels, including ferries, cargo ships, hovercraft, cruise ships, and military vessels, including frigates, battleships, and submarines.

Most marine engineers seek to specialise in a particular discipline. For instance, engine and propulsion system repairs may be prioritised when ships are in dry dock. Alternatively, you might become a marine design engineer and spend most of your time developing complex equipment using computer-aided design (CAD) software.

Your responsibilities will vary depending on your area of expertise. However, in general, you will be responsible for talking with the client to identify the project’s precise requirements.

You will play an integral role in the research, design, development, testing, tweaking, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance of a mechanical solution that satisfies the project’s goals and conforms to rigorous time and cost constraints.

However, marine engineering encompasses more than technical labour; senior marine engineers sometimes have project management and budget control responsibilities.


Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:

  • build and repair ships, boats and onboard systems
  • design, build and operate offshore gas and oil platforms
  • do marine surveys
  • make sure engines, instruments and systems work safely
  • keep up to date with laws for environmental protection and safety.


  • Apprentice marine engineers tend to earn between £20,000 and £24,000 per year.
  • Senior qualified professionals, however, can earn up to £80,000 and beyond.
  • Freelance contractors can earn considerably more.

Working hours

Your hours may vary depending on the type of job you are doing. For instance, if you are doing preliminary design work, you may be required to work a typical nine-to-five day—however, engineers who spend most of their time on-site work longer hours on average.

Working environment

You might work at a shipyard, office, port, or underwater.

Your job may force you to spend the night away from home, be physically demanding, and include working outdoors in all weather.

You may be required to use protective equipment and gear.


Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice marine engineer include:

  • Level 3 Marine EngineerEntry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science. This qualification will take 48 months to complete.


On a marine engineering apprenticeship, you’ll learn:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of physics
  • design skills and knowledge
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently.

Professional development

Numerous firms give organised apprenticeship development courses. As part of these training programmes, you will acquire practical experience via many placements in different organisation departments. In addition, as you work toward becoming a marine engineer with incorporated or chartered status, you will likely get in-house training and financial support.

Training courses often span two to three years, depending on business standards and the professional qualification you want.

Career prospects

You may pursue executive positions inside the same organisation as your career advances. Alternatively, you may explore the intriguing subject of naval architecture; however, this may need further study.

Freelance consulting is a standard option for marine engineers with a strong reputation, a lot of experience, and recognised credentials.

Membership in the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science, and Technology (IMarEST) may be beneficial for networking and professional development.

Updated on January 1, 2023

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