As an engineer officer, you'll operate and maintain all the mechanical and electrical equipment throughout the ship. You'll be responsible for power generation and distribution systems and for other equipment such as lifts, refrigeration plant and pumping and ventilation systems.

Via a bank of high-tech instrumentation, you'll monitor mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and control equipment, and have charge of sophisticated engine management systems. You'll overhaul and maintain equipment throughout the ship, where your engineering problem-solving skills will be your greatest asset. At sea, if equipment goes wrong you can't just pull in to the nearest garage! It will be up to you to diagnose the fault, get the equipment dismantled, repaired and reassembled and back into operation. As a senior engineer officer, you'll lead a team of professional engineering personnel and supervise their work at sea and in port. You can aim for the top position in the engineering department - the Chief Engineer.

What qualities & skills will you need?

You'll need to be practical, resourceful and have a real interest in mechanical and electrical systems, with good mathematical ability. Like deck officers, you'll be decisive, calm and able to inspire confidence in others. Good written and verbal communication skills are required. Beyond this you'll need to be prepared to learn about new technology and adapt your skills to its use.

Below you can see the epaulettes (the ornamental shoulder piece or decoration used to show job roles (ship ranks) in the Merchant Navy).

Trainee Engineer
Junior Engineer/Fourth Engineer
Third Engineer
Second Engineer
Chief Engineer