Careers & Training


This is where it all begins for the thousands of commercial vessels that do vital work in transporting people and goods, and undertaking specialist roles such as fishing, pipe laying and offhshore wind farm support. 

Every vessel starts off with a design. The more complex vessels require a naval architect to complete a design and costing for the vessel, just like building a house or commercial building.

Once the design is agreed the boatbuilders get underway. Today boatbuilding uses the latest computer technology but it's based on hundreds of years of expertise in how to craft the best vessels for going to sea to work.

Once the vessel is built the owner has to make sure the vessel stays fit to go to sea. Marine surveyors do the job of inspecting vessels to check they are good to put to sea again.

Here you will find information on becoming a Naval Architect, follow the links for information on becoming a boatbuilder or marine surveyor.


A Naval Architect is a professional engineer who is responsible for the design, construction and repair of ships, boats, other marine vessels and offshore structures, both civil and military, including:

Merchant ships - Oil/Gas Tankers, Cargo Ships, Cruise Liners, etc
Passenger/Vehicle Ferries
Warships - Frigates, Destroyers, Aircraft Carriers, Amphibious Ships, etc
Submarines and underwater vehicles
Offshore Drilling Platforms, Semi Submersibles, FPSOs
High Speed Craft - Hovercraft, Multi-Hull Ships, Hydrofoil Craft, etc
Workboats - Crew Transfer Vessel, Fishing Vessels, Tugs, Pilot Vessels, Rescue Craft etc
Yachts, Power Boats and other recreational craft  

Qualifications and Training

Most naval architects have a degree or postgraduate qualification that is recognised by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects. This would usually be an engineering subject like:
Naval architecture
Ocean, offshore or marine engineering
Ship science

You may be able to get onto a degree course if you've got qualifications from working as an engineering technician.

Degree courses that offer practical work experience through a year in industry, summer placements or internships may give you an advantage. 

Entry requirements
You'll usually need:
2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including maths and physics

Salary Brackets

Starting salary around £25,000 - £65,000 with experience


University of Southampton

University College London

Strathclyde University

Newcastle University


You could work in an office, at a shipyard, on a rig, on a ship or in a laboratory.

Your working environment may be at height and outdoors some of the time.

You may need to wear protective clothing.



Intermediate apprenticeships Advanced apprenticeships Higher apprenticeships Degree apprenticeships
Intermediate apprenticeships are the entry-level apprenticeship for those looking to make a start in the world of work. Available to anyone from the age of 16, with no maximum age limit, they’re also a great option for anyone looking to make a career change. You’ll need five GCSEs grade A*-E/ 3-9 including Maths and English, as well as a Science subject to apply for an engineering or technical role, or two National 4s including Maths and English (or equivalent). You can apply for an advanced apprenticeship if you have five GCSEs or National 4 (or equivalent), including Maths and English, as well as a Science subject to apply for an engineering or technical role, or you’ve completed an intermediate apprenticeship or similar Level 2 qualification. They’re full-time roles, with a competitive salary and they’re a great way to develop specialist skills. Higher apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 18 who is looking for an alternative to attending university. You’ll need at least five GCSEs or National 5 + Highers (or equivalent) including Maths and English, as well as a Science subject to apply for an engineering or technical role. Additionally, you’ll require a minimum of two A levels or a level 3 equivalent qualification. Degree apprenticeships are great for 18–19-year-old school leavers looking to gain a degree while also starting their career journey. It’s the perfect option for those who can’t decide between an apprenticeship and university. They’re also a great option for anyone looking to make a career change.



Contact: Anastasia Finch
Address: 1 Birdcage Walk
City: London
Postcode: SW1H 9JJ
Country: United Kingdom
Tel: +44 2073 822 609

Address: 8-9 Northumberland Street
City: London
Postcode: WC2N 5DA
Tel: +44 207 235 4622
Fax: +44 207 245 6959



United Kingdom




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United Kingdom

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