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What’s the Difference Between Marine Engineering and Nautical Science?

The difference lies in their scope of work.


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It’s a common confusion among laymen about the difference between nautical science and marine engineering, because both work on and with ships. It’s as if both have the same job descriptions when actually there is a line separating the two.

Which job really is which? Here are definitions of their scope of work that will explain the difference.

Marine Engineering


Source: Marine Knowledge

Marine engineering is that engineering field that deals with machinery on ships, boats, yachts or any sea going vessels. Basically, marine engineers are in-charge of the engineering in the maritime industry. The field of study is focused on the specialized knowledge of both theoretical and practical marine and mechanical engineering. Operation and maintenance of machinery on board ships is an important competency as a marine engineer, which is why the course is filled with laboratory and workshop training to be able to have hands-on knowledge of dismantling and maintenance of machines on ships.

Nautical Science


Source: K Columbus

Nautical science, on the other hand, is more on the theoretical and practical knowledge required for navigation, cargo operation, and ship maintenance and operation. This is that field in the maritime industry where hands-on training as a deck officer and detailed procedure and maintenance techniques of deck machinery are valued. This science also studies special training on sailing, boat handling, rope and rope ladder climbing. One starts in nautical science as a trainee cadet officer, until necessary requirements such as sufficient time at the sea and passing competency exams that one is promoted to become a deck officer.

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