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Marine Systems Engineering Officer

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What They Do

Marine Systems Engineers are responsible for the readiness, operation and maintenance of propulsion and ancillary systems, power generation and distribution, auxiliary systems, ship’s service systems, ship and machinery control systems, hull structure, ship’s stability, damage control, and the integration of these systems.

They analyze the state of their systems, equipment and personnel, predict their requirement for Naval operations and advise Command accordingly. The primary role of a Marine Systems Engineer is to provide technical expertise, advice and leadership in support of:

  • Day-to-day naval operations and maintenance of marine systems in ships and submarines
  • The continuous renewal of the Fleet through modernization and replacement of Naval marine systems and equipment, including:
    • Design
    • Development
    • Acquisition
    • Construction
    • Disposal
  • Maintenance of infrastructure needed to support Naval operations and missions in times of emergency, mobilization and war
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Working Environment

Marine Systems Engineers are employed in ships and submarines as the Head of the Marine Systems Engineering Department, where they are responsible for the leadership and well being of a large team of highly trained technical professionals committed to assuring the equipment’s peak performance.

Marine Systems Engineers may work in a range of roles in support of the continuous maintenance and renewal of the fleet including providing expert engineering advice, project management, advising on the acquisition of new equipment, training and administrative positions requiring engineering expertise.

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Career Development

The starting salary for a fully-trained Marine Systems Engineer is approximately $51,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and on the length of service as an officer. Once promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (Navy) their salary is approximately $74,000 per year. Marine Systems Engineers who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion through the senior officer ranks and advanced training.

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Related Civilian Occupations

Although this occupation has no direct related civilian job, the management, leadership and instructing skills developed in this position are highly valued by employers.

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Basic Military Officer Qualification

After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 15 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Forces, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.

Following basic officer training, official second language training may be offered to you. Training could take from two to nine months to complete depending on your ability in your second language.

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Naval Officer Training

All officer candidates in the Navy attend a nine-week Naval Environmental Training Program held at the Naval Officer Training Centre in Victoria, British Columbia. This course introduces the Naval environment and includes four weeks on board a minor war vessel for officers to experience life at sea.

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Professional Training

The professional training for Marine Systems Engineers consists of several courses held at the Canadian Forces Naval Engineering School in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The first course, Naval Engineering Indoctrination, lasts 11 weeks and introduces the systems, equipment and personnel of the two engineering departments of the ships in the Fleet. This course includes seven weeks on board a major warship.

The next course, Marine Systems Engineering Applications, lasts 22 weeks and provides detailed instruction in the theory, application, operation, maintenance, personnel and management of Marine Systems Engineering in the Navy. On completion, officers join the ships of the Fleet for one year in order to consolidate their skills and knowledge of Marine Systems Engineering.

Throughout training, officers develop the general and personnel management skills required to successfully fill engineering positions.

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Specialty Training

Marine Systems Engineers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered specialized training in the following fields:

  • Marine Propulsion Control System Analysis
  • Cargo Management
  • Vibration Analysis
  • Gas Turbine Engineering
  • Reliability Centered Maintenance
  • Advanced Ship Production


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Advanced Training

Marine Systems Engineering may also be offered the opportunity to further enhance their engineering credentials through fully funded post-graduate education in Canada or abroad, in the following fields:

  • Naval Architecture
  • Marine Engineering
  • Heavy Electrical Engineering
  • Control and Instrumentation Engineering

Now Hiring: We are now accepting applications for this job through Direct Entry and Paid Education.

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Direct Entry

If you already have a university degree, the Forces will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.

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Paid Education

Regular Officer Training Plan 

Because this position requires a university degree, the Forces will pay successful recruits to complete a Bachelor degree program at a Canadian university. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full-pay in exchange for working with the Forces for a period of time. Typically, candidates enter the Canadian Military College System as an Officer Cadet where they study subjects relevant to both their military and academic career. In some instances, the Forces is able to pay for Officer Cadets to attend other Canadian universities in a relevant degree program.  Officer Cadets who attend other Canadian universities typically attend university during the regular academic year and participate in additional military training during the summer months.  If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the Forces and the Canadian university of your choice. For more information, click on Paid University.