Marine Engineer

South Africa has a lucrative trade industry with 96% of imports and exports transported by sea through its eight major ports. The marine transport and manufacturing economic sectors contribute around R56 billion to the economy annually, indicating its significance in sustaining a broad spectrum of jobs. These maritime operations rely on the efficient and effective functioning of vessels which ideally have a minimal impact on the marine environment and associated biodiversity and ecosystems.

Marine engineers design, develop, construct and install new equipment for marine vessels. They create blueprints and design engines, propulsion systems and power supply systems, test prototypes and supervise the construction of ships to ensure equipment and machinery follows required standards. They conduct performance, operational and environmental tests and perform inspections of machinery and equipment. Some can build and operate offshore oil and gas platforms, rigs, pipelines and equipment.

Marine engineers can work as part of a ship crew or independently. They can work at a shipyard, in an office, on a ship, at a port or underwater. They may be at sea for months at a time and are exposed to dangerous conditions that require safety training and protective clothing.


Marine engineers require a comprehensive knowledge of engineering principles, an extensive knowledge of maritime engineering and associated regulations, processes and challenges, coupled with:

  • Ability to apply engineering science and design
  • Extensive logical and analytical thinking
  • Excellent problem-solving capability
  • Good verbal and written communication and presentation skills


Design, develop, construct and maintain marine vessels

Oversee and inspect installations, engines, instruments and other systems

Establish control standards and safety procedures

Ensure equipment, operations and maintenance comply with design specifications


B.Sc.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering at UCT, UKZN and Wits

B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering at NWU, SU, UJ and UP

Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Mechanical Engineering at CPUT, CUT, DUT, MUT, TUT, UNISA, VUT and WSU


Military services.

Large and small marine vessel manufactures.

Public and private shipping companies.

Private consultancies.

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