The Marine Chief Engineer has to oversee the operation of a sea vessel's engines; its mechanical and electrical machinery. On the other hand, does he need to have managerial skills, in order to effectively supervise the engine crew and their work (conditions). Other tasks are: initiating safety drills and training crew members on how to act in case of emergencies. On board of some vessels specialist knowledge might be required. For instance, some ships have refrigeration equipment, which calls for the skills to maintain and repair such equipment.
Marine chief engineer vacancies indicate what language is required, in order to ensure smooth communication with the crew. As a matter of fact, for a chief engineer, people management skills are a lot more important than engineering skills.
Although all chief engineers work at sea, their work can be in vastly differing environments. Most of the jobs are in cargo - especially container ships, which form the backbone of international trade. However, some jobs are at cruise ships, with holidaymakers on a sea adventure. While other chief engineering jobs involve working on board of fishing ships, something which calls for additional skills.
The type of ship can also differ greatly: some run on diesel, others on gas or steam, or use two stroke engines. Even the tonnage of a ship can disqualify a certain candidate. Many factors determine whether a particular chief engineer fits on a specific vessel. In fact, there are licenses that make a huge difference, while trying to secure a position as Marine Chief Engineer.
Most Marine Chief Engineers are men. It is estimated that about 99% of chief engineers are male. This is merely because there are hardly any female engineers, while engineering is a prerequisite for being a marine chief engineer.
In fact, Marine Chief Engineer jobs are typically short term, with contracts that mostly last for 3 to 6 months at a time. However, some of the online job postings do not reveal the length of the contract period, while others inform applicants that the job may last a month more or less than the listed duration of the contract.
A marine chief engineer’s salary is generally one of the best paid jobs in the shipping industry. Basically, marine chief engineers make from about $8,000 to around $10,000 a month, even with just a year or two of experience. This translates into about $96,000 to $120,000 a year.
But, as mentioned earlier, these jobs are mostly short term contracts that generally last for less than six months. So, the average salary is usually much lower, however the top 10% generally makes well over $100,000 a year. Salaries largely depend on experience - entry-level chief engineers earn about 40% less than what experienced engineers with over 20 years of experience receive.
At times, a marine chief engineer job vacancy pertains to a position that is more permanent. This is usually the case when working with shipping companies that operate LPG tankers and other cargo vessels. In these cases, annual leaves of about a month or more are offered to the chief engineers, in addition to other perks, which generally are not available to those taking short term contracts.
A marine chief engineer position usually comes with some health benefits. The most popular of these is a medical insurance, which applies to 60% of all chief engineer jobs. Dental and vision health insurance is available in respectively 13% and 8% of the cases. Mind you, about 36% of all chief engineering jobs go without any form of health insurance!
Chief engineer jobs are broadly posted on regular job boards. These positions are advertised with the help of maritime agencies. This makes that the applicant, before securing the position, needs to contact the agency.