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Salary Range
€28k - €50k
Career Zone

In Brief...

Designs and oversees the construction of ships and other naval vessels.

In Summary - Naval Architect

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Further Information

The Work - Naval Architect

Naval architects design ships and similar marine vessels, and oversee their construction and maintenance.  
Many naval structures, such as cruise liners, warships and oil tankers, are very large and complex. Modern engineering on this scale is therefore very much a team activity, involving professional engineers from different fields and disciplines. However, naval architects have overall responsibility for the project.  
They also have a special role in making sure that the team produces a safe, economic and seaworthy design for a new naval structure.  
Naval architects need an understanding of many branches of engineering, as well as being experts in all aspects of ship design, including function, appearance and safety. They must also keep up-to-date with advances in high technology areas.  
They are in charge of the smooth and efficient operation of all the ships systems. They use very important skills to design a safe and seaworthy vessel.  
In construction and repair, naval architects take responsibility for sections of the shipyard. They organise the supply, inspection and testing of materials and parts. They are also responsible for deciding how many employees a project will need.  
In technical departments, architects deal with costs and supply matters. They look into ways to obtain the components and equipment they need for the project, and manage the budget.  
Some naval architects work as ship surveyors. They work world-wide to make sure ships are safe. They examine plans of ships in their design stage, looking at their strength, stability and life-saving features.  
During construction, ship surveyors carry out inspections to make sure the quality of the work and materials meets rules and regulations. Once a ship is in operation, surveyors continue to do routine inspections, making sure the ship's owners have repaired any defects and are maintaining safety standards.  
Naval architects may also work as consultants, providing clients with engineering solutions, technical and commercial guidance, support and project management.  
There are research and development opportunities for naval architects. There are also opportunities for naval architects with above average qualifications to work in colleges and universities as professors and l

Interests - Naval Architect

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:


Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.


The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.


To be a naval architect, you must be creative, with strong engineering design skills. You also need a logical approach to solving problems.  
You must have good team work skills; you will need to communicate well with other engineering professionals. You also need good communication skills to give clear professional advice and technical support to customers of the maritime industry.  
As project leaders, naval architects must have strong leadership and managerial skills. Project work demands good organisation skills. You must be able to co-ordinate resources, and work within a budget and agreed time scale.  
You must be able to supervise employees; you need the ability to encourage and motivate others. Naval architects may manage repair teams that deal with emergency repairs as well as routine checks, so architects need to be resourceful, able to improvise and make decisions.  
You will need to develop knowledge of legal rules and regulations, especially those concerning safety. Naval architects who work as ship surveyors need a great deal of patience and high levels of concentration to check ship plans for strength, stability and life-saving features.

Entry Requirements - Naval Architect

A Degree or Higher National Diploma in an engineering discipline is required. In particular, the following subjects may improve your chances:

  • Marine engineering
  • Aeronautical engineering
  • Civil/structural engineering
  • Computer-aided engineering
  • Mechanical engineering

There are no specific naval architecture courses available in Ireland. Interested candidates would usually apply to a U.K university. Applicants should ensure that their chosen course is accredited by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA). For more information on a career in Naval Architecture log onto the RINA Website

Last Updated: April, 2015

Pay & Salary - Naval Architect

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €28k - €50k

Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Naval Architect

Useful Contacts - Naval Architect

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