We have been exploring seas and oceans since times immemorial. Even today, seas and oceans are being explored for trade and commerce between nations, for exploration of energy resources and for scientific research purposes. Whatever the purpose maybe, the fact is oceans form an integral part of our life directly or indirectly and hence it becomes important to study the various parameters associated with it and the oceans themselves. To explore the vast oceans that are covering vast expanses of the planet, boats, ships and other vessels are needed. Marine engineers or naval architects design such boats, ships and vessels that traverse the oceans.
Marine engineering is concerned with the construction of ports and other cargo facilities and the operations of the ships and other support vessels. Thus, not only marine engineers design the ships, they also determine how to operate them. Marine engineers are responsible for selecting ships’ machinery, which may include diesel engines, steam turbines, gas turbines or nuclear reactors. Marine engineers are also responsible for the design of the mechanical, electrical, fluid and control systems throughout the vessel. Ranging from aircraft carriers to oil tankers, marine engineers design all kinds of vessels. While marine engineers may work on the machinery of the ship, naval architects work on the basic form of the ship, designing the hull and its stability. Marine engineers are responsible for conducting environmental, operational or performance tests on marine machinery and equipment. They are responsible for coordinating activities with regulatory bodies to ensure that the repairs and alterations are done safely and at minimal cost.
Ocean engineers study the environment of the seas and the ocean and also effect of oceans on the ships, under water vessels and structures such as off shore oil rigs. Ocean engineers are also involved in deep sea exploration and may design or operate ocean platforms or sub surface vehicles. The field of ocean engineering plays a vital role in linking various disciplines related to the study of oceans such as marine biology, chemical and physical oceanography, marine geology and geophysics. The oil industry, military and marine navigation fields also require the service of ocean engineers. Some ocean engineers may be involved in remote sensing while others work on climate monitoring, environmental protection, oil recovery, underwater vehicle development or defense.
Thus, ocean engineers explore the deep seas to study the habitats and discover new life forms and study how the marine ecosystems are maintained. They are also involved in oil exploration and in searching for rare minerals and materials under the floor of the ocean. Ocean engineering is actually a mix of several branches of engineering such as mechanical, civil, electrical, acoustical and chemical engineering techniques and skills, combined with knowledge of how ocean works and its environment.
Thus, the fields of marine engineering and ocean engineering are two interesting fields which are enhancing our knowledge of the oceans and the water environment. As we are exploring more and more about oceans and knowing its implications in the fields of clean energy, enhanced trade and commerce between nations and in the area of national defense, we are getting to know its importance in our lives. Marine engineers and ocean engineers help us to understand the oceans better so that we can harness the power of the seas to our benefit.
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