Marine Engineering Beginners

I am currently completing my engineering apprenticeship and i am very new to the marine engineering world. I was wondering if anyone could give me any tips or any good study material as i am struggling on where to start. Hope this forum can help any other beginners also:)

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Principles of Naval Engineering is a good, if somewhat dated, place to start.

You can get a very old copy in PDF format here:

The Reeds Engineering Series is also very good.

There are at least 16 volumes to that and you can pick and choose the topics that interest you most.

Any of the Navy NonResident Training Courses that are applicable would be good to look at as well. Take this one for instance:

Do a Google Search for “NAVEDTRA” to find more of them.

Hope that helps!


Current edition of Reeds books are garbage. The Thermo book is particularly appalling.

Not an engineer, but have found that some books put it into terms easier to digest and comprehend are helpful. As an example the book that explains “Ship Handling in Narrow Channels”. Written by a pilot who made it simple to understand. I am sure with all the the qualified engineers on this site they can direct you to those type publications in the engineering department. Good luck in your chosen occupation, it is complicated, but much appreciated.

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Haven’t read the thermodynamics volume. What other books would you recommend?

I found Taylor to be very helpful for my first round of orals.

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It’s been the '85 since I tested for Chief Motor. Some of the best study material, dollar for dollar I used over the years were U.S. Navy pubs. Engineman 3rd and 2nd. Basic Electricity and electronics. I’m sure they have been vastly upgraded since then!


Agree re: Navy rate training publications. The Coast Guard even derives a lot of test material from them.

If you hunt around, you can usually find them online as pdf copies. Some test prep software vendors include them with their product.

You’ll want Electrician’s mate, Machinist’s Mate, and Engineman for sure.

Also, if you can get your hands on a reasonably priced set, Modern Marine Engineer’s manual vol 1 and 2 is good. I snagged free pdf copies that were (crudely) scanned by some enterprising person years ago. But I also have the hard copies which I bought.


I still have both volumes of the Modern Marine Engineer’s Manual. I also had one of the Navy soft cover books, but I don’t see in on my book rack here at the office, so it must be at the house. Both are kind of dated, and steam heavy, though.

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Thank you so much thats amazing!

injunear is right, bang for the buck would be navy pubs. There are plenty others but with those and some online looking at the new questions you’ll probably nail 75% of it !!

Also online review of the USCG questions helps quite a bit to define where you are and what you need to concentrate your efforts on. I use USCG Exam Prep because it is free and has an expansive section on Engine subjects:

reminds me of the guy who actually memorized enough of the questions to pass his 3ae exam for he didn’t really have what it took to figure them out. a monumental effort but a ideal case for having some actual ‘interaction’ with testing … oral exam etc.

I think oral exams would be great. Allows for real explanations and going through reasoning rather than the answer itself. The problem with these tests is half the questions are trying to trick you so you spend all your effort figuring out the trick rather than deepening your actual knowledge.

i learned that for good when mixing certain soaps you’d get phozgene gas … we all knew that but the new uscg question instead of broaching the subject of phozgene gas it gave the chemical symbol/ingredient for it.
now where is the benefit of retaining ww1 history of the gassings and things like that?, pretty simple when you tell your underlings don’t mix this shit cuz you’ll make phozgene gas … and a little history. now it’s like ““it’ll make you cough”” !!

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I recall that an acetylene flame in the presence of R-22 freon refrigerant would produce phosgene gas. Also recall a test lamp “sniffer” to detect freon leaks as the flame would change from white to green.

Yes freon burned will produce phosgene gas. Also halon heated under compression will do the same.

and brake-kleen

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I suppose when you HAVE to get something fixed reading the equipment manuals … well, it’s saved my bacon a few times.

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Agree, to read the equipment manuals can be very useful.