A naval architect is a highly skilled engineer who designs, constructs, and maintains different sorts of marine vessels.
These include merchant ships like oil or gas tankers, cargo ships, ferries, cruise ships, etc. Apart from this, naval architects also look after manufacturing and designing or even repairing ships, yachts, powerboats, steamers, tugs, fishing boats, Warships like Frigates, Destroyers, Aircraft Carriers, Amphibious Ships, etc. Submarines and underwater vehicles, Offshore Drilling Platforms, Semi Submersibles, FPSOs. Special aircraft that are designed for water landings are also designed and built with the help of a naval architect.
Naval architects’ job does not restrict to only designing a marine vessel. They have to usually oversee and even help with the building process. While doing so, they can quickly and accurately catch and correct any shortcomings of the construction. They also evaluate how the ship does during trials both at the dock and at sea and change the design as needed to make sure the ship meets national and international specifications.
- A naval architect conducts extensive discussions with the client to evaluate his needs. He and his team then determine the basic characteristics of the intended marine vessel like weight, size, type of vessel, and purpose.
- Once the above step has been done, a naval architect and his team discuss the design of the marine vessel with the help of sketches and intense brainstorming.
- After the broad design has been agreed upon, the naval architects design the hull and ship.
- Once the superstructure has been designed, the layout of the ship’s interiors is designed.
- The naval architect also has to consult with marine engineers for crucial sections of the ship such as boiler room equipment, HVAC, refrigeration equipment, and propulsion.
- The naval architects then present the final detailed design of the vessel covering every minute part.
- Once, the design has been approved other teams takeover to build and test prototypes and suggest any changes if required.
- A naval architect also evaluates ship’s performance trials both at the dock and at sea and rectify the design if needed.
Also read: How To Become A Naval Architect?
Naval Architects have to be creative. They must have a deep understanding of all aspects of ship design – function, design, and safety. Since they have to head a team, they should have the leadership skills to build a cohesive and friendly work environment.
Naval architects should also be proficient in maths and modeling so that the vessel designs meet all national and international safety standards.
A ship, boat, or offshore structure must be stable, seaworthy, and have adequate strength in all weather as well as the hydrodynamic (and, for sailing craft, aerodynamic) performance to give economic propulsion and safe and comfortable motion in all sea states. The design process demands the extensive employment of computer-based information and communication systems.
Naval architects should always be in good terms with the team as it is extremely vital to establish firm team coordination and manage things accordingly. If you want to be a successful naval architect, then you must have the following characteristics present in you:
- Patience and understanding
- Good leadership qualities
- Good communication skills
- Man management
- Observant for the minute details
- Tolerance to withstand pressure and stress, so that you can work calmly in every situation.
The life of naval architects is thrilling and full of challenges being thrown. You will constantly learn and adapt new skills throughout your journey, things you never knew you could do before.
Also read: Ocean Engineering vs. Naval Architecture
Some positions that naval architects hold in worldwide are:
1) Marine engineer (Engineering/Stability/Systems/Structural)
2) Marine Surveyor
3) Marine Consultant
4) Production Manager (in shipyards)
5) Offshore Structures Designer
These are some of the roles that a naval architect can play. There is a wide range of roles that are offered to naval architects, which depends on the organization.
The average salary for a naval architect in the USA is around $90,000 to 150,000 per year. This can vary with experience and country.
The number of academic institutions that provide courses related to this industry is only numbered, but in the coming times, keeping in view the growth of this industry over the past few years, you will notice more number of institutes offering courses. It will emerge to become one of the promising careers. You can go for a bachelor’s degree from the universities offering naval architecture, including B.Tech.
Apart from this, you can also pursue any specialization out of the following- ship design, structural design, marine structures, hydrodynamic design, and offshore structures design.
Here are some of the top reputed universities offering courses in this field.
- Osaka University, Japan
- The University of New Orleans, USA
- University of Southampton, UK
- University of Strathclyde, UK
- University of Michigan, USA.
- Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IITKGP)
- Indian Maritime University, Visakhapatnam Campus (IMU, Vizag)
- Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM)
- Academy of Maritime Education and Training
- Delhi Maritime Academy
- CUSAT – Cochin University of Science and Technology
- Andhra University, Visakhapatnam
- School of Ocean Engineering, VELS Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies
- IMA – International Maritime Academy
To qualify for the above Indian universities you need to go through their terms and conditions, like some demand clearance of IIT-JEE and so on. It depends on the university criteria of selection.
These universities provide world-class opportunities for higher education and research in the field of naval architecture