When it comes to design rules, ships have to meet very exacting specifications – it is not simply a matter of ‘looking good’. Highly skilled Naval Architects take on the task of designing ships that will remain stable, optimizing speed and living space without compromising the cargo capacity. As specialist engineers, naval architects are responsible for engineering, designing, building, maintenance, and ensuring regulatory compliance of marine vessels and structures. Due to the complex nature of the marine environment, naval architecture is co-operative effort between specialized groups, coordinated by a lead naval architect.
While most work could reasonably be expected to be carried out in the office, there is sometimes call for site visits to shipyards to oversee construction progress. Also competition for jobs in this specialist sector is fierce, almost always calling for a degree in an engineering subject. As to career progression, a naval architect could move from technical to general management and on to a senior post or directorship, enter another branch of engineering, or even become self-employed.