Is a Marine Engineering Career Worth it? I (26m) have some questions about the job. Thanks in advance

Hey, r/ Maritime

I am going to be returning to school, from an IT Help Desk job, and wanted to do Engineering since I have a chance to work with physical systems. I saw Marine Engineering, and it sounds very interesting, however, I have a few concerns.

1.) The noise level of the engine room I hear is extremely loud. Are the vibrations physically harmful (like those at a hard rock concert), or will earplugs cancel the sound out?

2.)Is an academy worth it? I dont have a degree now, so I would be getting my first one, and I figured even if I didnt like sailing, that Engineering also offers shoreside options.

Any help or any advice really would be great. It sounds like an awesome career as you can work months on, and take months off. Be on the open ocean. Learn more than any other engineering profession/skilled trade and work with your hands and mind. I’m a very introverted person right now anyways, and wouldn’t mind being at sea.

Thank you.

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The info is basically the same. Also do some searching on this website, . The short answer is yes even at 26 You could go back to school and pursue this, if you meet the requirements. The engine room, you’ll wear hearing protection, just like any other industrial work around loud machinery.

I will echo what has been said. It is an interesting career and can also lead to other shoreside opportunities, too (as you have stated). Funny that you mention the noise, but the real sacrifice (or blessing, depending on your perspective) is the isolation and time away from home, family, etc.

As a career-change person, consider Great Lakes Maritime Academy. I did not attend but visited and it is a program more geared towards people with some work experience rather than those just out of high school. If you don’t want to commit to a full 3-4 year program, consider one of the QMED programs at various places around the country. However there are so many STCW classes required these days that I think it would be easier just to go the GLMA route.

The job varies greatly between different areas of the industry, so I would say the best advice when starting out is to sail a little bit on different types of vessels and see what you like best. Even for those with years of experience it can be a mystery trying to learn about different companies/vessels and what they have to offer.

The skills you’ll learn from engineering at sea translate to all sorts of shoreside jobs - think power plants, building managers, hydraulics companies, any of the many engine manufacturers, etc. If you’re willing to move to one of the coasts you might be able to find a job on a vessel where you’re still home every night or at least every few nights.


For someone considering a transition from sea to shore as an engineer I would suggest strongly considering the degree received at any potential Academy of choice. GLMA offers a degree in Marine Technology whereas the other Academies offer degrees in Marine Engineering.

This very well could have a large impact on potential shoreside employment opportunities.

Also consider if the degree is ABET accredited. Not all the degrees at all the academies are.

Also know the difference between having an ABET accredited degree and have an Engineering degree from a university which has at least one course of study which is ABET accredited.