What do Ship Engineers do?

Supervise and coordinate activities of crew engaged in operating and maintaining engines, boilers, deck machinery, and electrical, sanitary, and refrigeration equipment aboard ship.

  • Monitor the availability, use, or condition of lifesaving equipment or pollution preventatives to ensure that international regulations are followed.
  • Monitor engine, machinery, or equipment indicators when vessels are underway and report abnormalities to appropriate shipboard staff.
  • Maintain electrical power, heating, ventilation, refrigeration, water, or sewerage systems.
  • Record orders for changes in ship speed or direction and note gauge readings or test data, such as revolutions per minute or voltage output, in engineering logs or bellbooks.
  • Perform or participate in emergency drills, as required.
  • Maintain complete records of engineering department activities, including machine operations.
  • Start engines to propel ships and regulate engines and power transmissions to control speeds of ships, according to directions from captains or bridge computers.
  • Monitor and test operations of engines or other equipment so that malfunctions and their causes can be identified.
  • Maintain or repair engines, electric motors, pumps, winches, or other mechanical or electrical equipment or assist other crew members with maintenance or repair duties.
  • Perform general marine vessel maintenance or repair work, such as repairing leaks, finishing interiors, refueling, or maintaining decks.
  • Operate or maintain off-loading liquid pumps or valves.
  • Clean engine parts and keep engine rooms clean.
  • Supervise the activities of marine engine technicians engaged in the maintenance or repair of mechanical or electrical marine vessels and inspect their work to ensure that it is performed properly.
  • Order and receive engine room stores, such as oil or spare parts, maintain inventories, and record usage of supplies.
  • Act as a liaison between a ship's captain and shore personnel to ensure that schedules and budgets are maintained and that the ship is operated safely and efficiently.
  • Install engine controls, propeller shafts, or propellers.
  • Fabricate engine replacement parts, such as valves, stay rods, or bolts, using metalworking machinery.

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