Naval Architect

Job Description:

Naval architects design, construct, refit and repair marine vessels and offshore structures.

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • coordinating the work of engineering design teams
  • making sure that designs are safe, seaworthy and cost-effective
  • preparing design plans using computer software
  • checking and testing specifications using computer simulations and 3D models
  • making sure that designs meet operational requirements
  • coordinating manufacturing or repair work

You could specialise in design, construction and repair, research and development, or consultancy. You could also work for a Maritime and Coastguard Agency as a ship surveyor, assessing the safety of ships and marine structures.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • knowledge of math & physics
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • the ability to read English
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a naval architect in the UK, you will need to focus on subjects that provide a solid foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). While there are no specific GCSE subjects required for naval architecture, certain subjects can be particularly beneficial for preparing you for this career, such as:

  1. Mathematics: Advanced math skills are crucial for naval architecture, as it involves complex calculations and problem-solving in the design and construction of marine vessels.
  2. Physics: Understanding the principles of physics is essential for analyzing forces, dynamics, and hydrodynamics that affect ship and boat design.
  3. Design and Technology (Engineering): This subject can provide practical skills and knowledge related to engineering principles, design processes, and materials used in naval architecture.
  4. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Familiarity with computer-aided design (CAD) software is important in naval architecture, as it is extensively used for designing and modeling ships and boats.
  5. Additional Sciences (Optional): While not mandatory, subjects like Chemistry and Biology can provide a broader scientific understanding, which may be useful in certain aspects of naval architecture, such as marine materials and environmental considerations.

It’s important to note that naval architecture is a specialized field, and after GCSEs, you will need to continue your education to pursue a career in this area. Here are the typical steps you would take:

A Levels (or equivalent)

After completing your GCSEs, you would typically take A Levels or equivalent qualifications in subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, and Design and


These subjects are commonly required for admission to engineering and naval architecture degree programs.

Higher Education

Pursue a degree in naval architecture, marine engineering, or a related field at a reputable university. Many universities in the UK offer specialized programs in naval architecture and marine engineering.

Internships and Work Experience

Seek internships or work placements with shipyards, marine engineering firms, or naval architecture companies to gain practical experience and make industry connections.

Professional Development

Join relevant professional organizations and pursue continuous learning to stay updated on the latest advancements in naval architecture.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work around 40 hours a week but you may sometimes need to do extra hours to meet deadlines.

You’ll usually be office-based, but you may also work in test laboratories or on the floor of a production facility. You may spend some time on board vessels or rigs, which can involve working at height.

You’ll need to be comfortable working in all weather conditions.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could progress to senior positions. You could become a consultant, providing technical and commercial guidance, support and project management for research, design, construction, refits or conversions.

You could also move into other areas like procurement, sales and marketing.