Naval Architecture

Naval architecture is one of the most exciting branches of engineering. A naval architect is a professional engineer who can be responsible for the design, construction, operation, maintenance and repair of a wide variety of ships and floating installations, including:

  • Ships for the carriage of cargo – container ships, passenger ferries
  • Offshore mobile installations – drilling rig semi–submersibles, crane barges
  • Warships – frigates, submarines
  • High speed craft – Hovercraft, Hydrofoils, SWATH
  • Yachts and other small vessels – racing and pleasure craft

Ships will continue to provide a vital and necessary service for mankind all over the world. The volume of world trade, marine activities around our coasts and in deep water, and a booming leisure industry all require ships and boats of many different types, sizes and configurations. We need to transport raw materials and manufactured goods, to ferry people, to cruise on ocean liners or simply to ‘mess about in boats’. There are naval and strategic defence requirements as well as vessels for scientific exploration of the oceans. Then there is the oil business, which requires the service of floating craft able to continue operations safely on the high seas. To give an example, there is impetus to extend the need for floating production plant in place of installations fixed to the seabed.

The conventional route to becoming a naval architect is to take an accredited undergraduate course leading to the Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) degree at a higher educational institution, either straight from school or following some years of work experience. Sufficient practical training and work experience will be necessary before you can become a Chartered Engineer (CEng) or an Incorporated Engineer (IEng). At a lower level, but still highly important, is the Engineering Technician (EngTech). Standards within the engineering profession have recently come under rigorous scrutiny and improved Standards and Routes to Registration (SARTOR) have been agreed by the Engineering Council. For instance, after 1999 the traditional three years BEng honours course will not be sufficient for CEng status.

A naval architect requires a creative, enquiring and logical mind, together with the ability to communicate with people clearly. Although you may train as a Chartered Engineer, later in your career you may transfer to a management role in which academic experience, training and career achievements are drawn together.

The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA), founded in 1860, is the professional engineering institution which governs the progress and conduct of those wishing to seek a career in this part of the marine business. As a learned society, the Institution supports activities that will enhance the knowledge and skills of its members and their work.

For more information on typical companies, see our current list of corporate members and please use the search engine provided for areas of interest.

For further information contact:

Manager Professional Affairs
The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology
1 Birdcage Walk, Westminster, London SW1H 9JJ
t 020 7382 2600

The Education and Training Officer
The Royal Institution of Naval Architects
10 Upper Belgrave Street
London SW1X 8BQ
t 020 7235 4622
f 020 7259 5912