A seafaring career begins as a Junior or Fifth engineer. The ranks progress to Fourth Engineer, Third Engineer, Second Engineer and finally at the apex - Chief Engineer. At this level you will be the technical equivalent of the captain.
Marine Engineers for the most part of their lives work at sea. But there are plenty of shore-based jobs available. You can work in the shipping industry for trading, buying, freighting and selling cargo.
A marine engineer may find opportunities in: -
In large passenger ships you could function as a Hotel Services Engineer. You will take care of galley equipment, air conditioning and passenger lifts.
In ships that carry perishable items such as frozen foods etc., you could function as the refrigeration engineer.
On scientific survey ships or those involved in cable laying you will be in charge for the use and maintenance of diving equipment.
In the Indian navy, in addition to maintaining the ship's engines, you will also have the opportunity to operate complex weapon systems on ships and even submarines.
Offshore, you could find employment in dockyards as well as companies engaged in ship building. You can also take up jobs with a harbour or port department. But for these offshore posts some experience at sea is required.
In the beginning of your career, expect a salary of Rs 30,000 a month as a Fifth Engineer on a merchant marine vessel. The pay scales are much lesser in Indian Navy.
Heading for the Merchant Navy is extremely lucrative. Just look at the money - a First Officer in the Merchant Navy gets up to Rs 1 lakh every month! And the Chief Engineer earns as much as Rs 1.5 lakh per month!
Shipping has always been a big industry. Although there isn't much indication of any great surge in the industry, there isn't any decline either. The job opportunity has remained stable and the demand supply ratio has remained constant. A large number of engineering graduates opt for this field and so competition remains high.