Our vision is a world where marine resources and activities are sustained, managed and developed for the benefit of humanity.
IMarEST is the international membership body and learned society for all marine professionals. The IMarEST has registered charity status and is the first professional institution to bring together marine engineers, scientists and technologists into one international multi-disciplinary professional body. It is the largest marine organisation of its kind with a worldwide membership of over 18,000 individuals based in over 120 countries.
Our purpose is to work within the global marine community to promote the scientific development of marine engineering, science and technology, providing opportunities for the exchange of ideas and practices and upholding the status, standards and knowledge of marine professionals worldwide.
Members include those working in:
- Ports & Shipping
- Offshore Oil & Gas
- Maritime Services
- Marine Science
- Naval & Defence
- Marine Leisure
- Marine Renewables
- Fishing & Aquaculture
…and many others involved in marine science, engineering and technology disciplines and applications.
Sea Your Future
Working at sea:
With 70% of the earth’s surface covered by oceans, and 90% of the world’s trade carried by ship, it’s hardly surprising that there are lots of related career opportunities, especially if you’re interested in engineering, science and technology! Our oceans and seas are of great importance – not only are they used for shipping, they are also important for sources of food, raw materials, energy and leisure.
IMarEST wants to introduce you to some of the exciting careers available in marine engineering, science and technology. In particular the professional engineers, trained scientists, skilled technicians and support workers who are needed in:
- Marine engineering
- Naval architecture
- Shipbuilding and boatbuilding
- Shiprepair and conversion
- Ofshore engineering and technology
- Hydrographic surveying
- Oceanography and marine meteorology
- Marine biology
- Diving or working with underwater vehicles
- Marine leisure
- Marine surveying
The marine environment offers a range of varied, challenging and fascinating careers. In many cases you’ll be working with cutting-edge science and technology. You could be in charge of the machinery on a cruise liner, making a significant contribution to designing a new ship, helping to protect an endangered species or developing sources of renewable energy! Marine engineering, science and technology careers offer excellent opportunities for specialisation and career development.
A career all over the world:
In the marine industry there are career opportunities all over the world. There are a growing number of interesting roles in the maritime sector of shipping and ship support, and in the marine environmental and research areas of marine science and operational oceanography.
To find out more about careers in the marine industry take a look at our Sea Your Future guide.
Hydrographers produce accurate plans and charts of the seabed. depths, shapes and contours. It’s vital to know about the shape and features of the seabed — for example, plans for new shipping routes need to take into account any large rocks and sand banks which could be hazardous, and engineers building off shore wind farms need to know if the seabed will support new structures. Hydrographers (also known as hydrographic surveyors) use state-of-the-art technology to produce detailed charts of the seabed from the deep ocean floor to harbours, showing depth, shape and contours. In order to carry out their work, hydrographers use sophisticated technology such as satellite-positioning systems, multibeam echo sounders and computer-aided design packages. The work usually involves periods onboard survey ships, drilling platforms and other vessels.
Hydrographers may be involved in gathering information for:
- Predicting the effects of proposed developments on the environment, and of the environment on new and existing developments.
- Finding out whether channels used for shipping are being altered by silting or erosion, and if so, at what rate.
- Planning and monitoring dredging work to ensure safe navigation, or to allow new construction work.
- Exploring sites to extract minerals from the sea.
- Advising on the location for offshore wind turbines, oil platforms and subsea cables.
Find out more about Hydrographic Surveying here.
Marine Biologists study the fascinating world of animals, plants and microscopic life in the oceans. An estimated 80% of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface! Plants and animals act as indicators of the effect
of human activities on the planet, including pollution and climate change. Marine biologists play a vital role in studying these changes.
Marine biologists investigate all kinds of issues and problems. Here are some typical areas of concern:
- Changes to biodiversity due to man-made operations or nature.
- Over fishing has led to a reduction of worldwide stocks of certain fish species.
- Pollution has contributed to the loss of coral.
- The release of hot water and other effluents by various industries has altered the ecological balance of the oceans.
- Pollution has caused an increase in water-borne infections in humans.
- The use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers in farming has had serious consequences on food chains.
- Chemicals can cause ‘gender-bending’ and fertility problems in fish, shellfish and other aquatic organisms.
Find out more about becoming a Marine Biologist here.
Marine engineers are responsible for the efficient, safe and environmentally clean operation of machinery and systems onboard a ship or a rig, and for the men and women in their charge. They are involved with the design, construction, installation, operation, maintenance and repair of the main propulsion engines and auxiliary machinery and systems found in all kinds of ships, boats and o shore installations. Depending on the job, they may also be responsible for everyone working in the engine room. Professional engineers are supported in their work by engineering technicians.
What does a marine engineer do?
Those operating at Incorporated and Chartered Engineer level ensure that engines and systems work efficiently and develop and deal with new and emerging technology. These professional engineers need management expertise in order to employ staff and operate plant efficiently and within the law for safety and environmental protection. Engineering Technicians deal with day-to-day engineering work, typically leading specialist teams.
Engineers could be employed by:
- Shipbuilding and marine engineering companies.
- Merchant navies.
- Defence navies (such as the Royal Navy).
- Marine surveyors.
Find out more about Marine Engineering here.
Marine leisure is a broad term covering the thriving global leisure boating/watersports industry. More and more people are spending their leisure time at the coast, or at sea. Careers are varied and include: the engineers and naval architects who design powerboats and yachts, crewing yachts (as skipper, staff, chefs and more), watersports instructors and brokers in boat and yacht sales. There can also be a whole range of jobs at marinas all over the world (St Tropez? Florida?), these roles include: marina managers, boat handlers, riggers, crane operators, engineers, boat repairers, as well as for security, administrative, restaurant and retail staff.
Find out more about Marine Leisure here.
A career in marine surveying offers a challenging and varied occupation that can see the surveyor travelling extensively. Surveying is a multi disciplined occupation requiring a wide range of skills. It is usually a second stage career, utilising the experience built up during training and the early years in whichever discipline has been originally chosen. There are opportunities for Naval Architects, Marine Engineers and Mariners. Surveyors are recruited from seagoing and shipyard environments, with some training opportunities for appropriate degree graduates.
There is a shortage of skilled surveyors; the hiatus in training in the Merchant Navy since the late 70’s has led to a shortage of experienced Class 1 Mariners and Engineers who have traditionally progressed into the ranks of classification societies and independent consultancy companies. There are various training courses and diplomas available but there is still a need for experience.
The term ‘surveying’ is a catch all for a multitude of tasks that require an equal number of skills. They include:
- Cargo surveying for quantity and condition of both wet and dry cargoes before loading or after discharge.
- Towage surveys for disabled vessels, barges, platforms etc.
- Condition surveys for ships, yachts and any marine structures.
- Damage surveys which can often lead to expert witness work assisting the courts.
Find out more about Marine Surveying here.
Naval architects are professional engineers who specialise in the design, construction, repair, surveying and decommissioning of ships, boats and offshore structures.
World trade, the leisure industry, o shore oil and gas and renewable energies and national defence of coastal waters and overseas interests, all mean that ships and boats of all types will continue to be required. New challenges, such as the need for environmental protection and security, also impact on vessel technology and design.
Naval architects are primarily involved in the design of vessels which move just above, on or under the sea. These include tankers, containerships, passenger ferries, warships, drilling platforms, submarines, hovercraft, yachts and other vessels – such as landing craft, diving support vessels and unmanned submersibles. Naval architects work on the safe, economic and seaworthy design of small boats and yachts as well as on commercial and military ships and submarines. They can specialise in construction/conversion, managing the whole process from the drawing board to the finished vessel.
Find out more about Naval Architecture here.
Oceanography and Marine Meteorology
Oceanography is the scientific study and description of the oceans. Oceanographers try to understand and predict how oceans work, and help us to use and conserve their resources. Because the oceans and the atmosphere are linked, marine meteorology is a related area of expertise. Marine meteorologists provide ocean and weather observations and forecasts. For people who work at sea, or who live on the coast, such information can be vital!
Oceanography combines many different scientific disciplines. A range of professionals may contribute to any one piece of research. Oceanographers can specialise in the following areas:
- Physical oceanography – studying the physical characteristics of the oceans such as temperature, and salt content (salinity), as well as tides, currents, waves and ocean circulation.
- Chemical oceanography – focusing on the chemical composition and properties of seawater and marine sediments, and the behaviour of pollutants.
- Geological oceanography – concerned with the seabed, its composition, structure and formation.
- Biological oceanography – studying the many life forms that live in the sea and how they interact with their surroundings.
Find out more about Oceanography and Marine Meteorology here.
Offshore Engineering and Technology
The offshore sector includes everything from oil and gas exploration and extraction, and telecoms and power cabling, to wind farms, wave power, and o shore minerals mining.
There are three main areas of work in the offshore oil and gas industry:
- Exploration – conducting surveys and tests to find worthwhile reserves of oil and gas.
- Field development – deciding how to extract the fuel, setting up production facilities and drilling wells.
- Production and maintenance – operating and maintaining equipment. There are jobs offshore on support vessels, platforms and drilling platforms and onshore at terminals servicing the equipment and constructing new platforms.
Find out more about Offshore Engineering and Technology here.
Offshore Renewable Energy
The world has an abundant source of natural, clean power, derived from the wind, waves and tides. Unlike traditional fossil fuels, this energy will never run out. Renewable energy is essential for reducing the potentially devastating effects of climate change, and protecting the natural environment for future generations. Offshore renewable energy includes offshore wind, wave, and tide, where the strength of the wind, the pull and rise and fall of the tides, and the movement of waves, produces a vast amount of power that can be harnessed by modern technology.
Opportunities exist all over the country, not just near the coast and many companies have offices overseas so there are opportunities for travel. There are a vast number of areas of employment from working outdoors at a renewables site, in a laboratory or in an office.
You could work in:
- Research & Design
- Development and Consenting
- Technical Analysis
- Construction and Installation
- Operation and Maintenance
Find out more about Offshore Renewable Energy here.
Shipbuilding and Boatbuilding
Shipbuilding is the business of building large and small ocean-going vessels, usually of steel. Boatbuilding is the term used term used for the construction of smaller vessels from materials such as wood, steel, aluminium, glassfibre or
new composite materials. There are opportunities in ship- and boatbuilding at every level.
There are various levels of employment:
- There are many specialised craft jobs. Skills include; welding, steel-cutting and bending, assembling sections, pipework, installing engines, plumbing, carpentry, boat- fitting, painting, rigging and sailmaking.
- Technicians are employed on such work as drafting, estimating, testing, quality control, building/manufacture, surveying and production control. Skilled technicians are also needed to install the sophisticated electrical and electronic systems in boats and ships – such as navigation systems and communications equipment.
- Professional engineers are highly-qualified people who design vessels, and may oversee their manufacture and production. Designers often specialise in a particular aspect of the design. Specialist interior designers are also needed.
Find out more about Shipbuilding and Boatbuilding here.
Shiprepair and Conversion
If you are thinking about a career in shipbuilding, you may easily overlook the opportunities presented in the ship maintenance, repair and conversion industry. The UK is still a key destination for shiprepair and conversion and has a number of large and small yards dotted across the country. UK yards not only provide ship maintenance facilities but specialise in major conversion projects.
The employment opportunities are similar to those described for shipbuilding, with opportunities at craft, technician and professional level. So at craft level, in shiprepair and conversion, the work requires the skills of steelworkers, welders, joiners and carpenters, plumbers, painters and electricians. At professional level, the skills of mechanical, electrical and electronic engineers, marine engineers and naval architects are all needed.
Find out more about Shiprepair and Conversion here.
Underwater Vehicles and Diving
Diving can offer an interesting and often very well-paid career with many options for physically fit men and women who don’t want to work at a desk. Some say it’s the closest job to an astronaut’s without going into space.
- Commercial divers: Divers work offshore, at the coast and in inland waters inspecting and repairing structures such as lock gates, bridge supports, fish farm cages, oil production platforms, wind farms, and the hulls of ships and submarines. They take part in salvage and recovery of sunken ships and aircraft. Specialist divers are employed by television and film production companies to obtain high quality images from the underwater environment.
- Scientific research diving: This is carried out by a small number of marine biologists, oceanographers and underwater archaeologists. Specialisations include diving under ice in polar regions, working with marine mammals, and cave exploration.
- Police and military divers: Specialists chosen from personnel already in service, and they undertake a range of duties in an underwater context including searching for missing persons and weapons, detection of intruders and underwater demolition.
- Recreational or sports diving: A popular hobby and all of these divers need to be trained by professionally qualified divers who are accredited by relevant training agencies.
Find out more about Underwater Vehicles and Diving here.
Working in Ports
In Europe alone over 1,000 ports deal with 3.5 billion tonnes of cargo every year. Ports can be busy places and o er exciting opportunities in many different areas. Jobs in ports range from stevedores to harbour masters!
- Marine/port operatives.
- Passenger operatives.
- Stevedores (load and unload cargo).
- Vessel traffic services operatives.
- Marine pilots.
- Harbour masters.
- Port managers.
Find out more about Working in Ports here.
Find out more
To find out more about the Sea Your Future campaign or IMarEST the please visit the website.