Creating the Tools for Ocean Discovery

Ocean engineers are responsible for designing, building, and testing instrumentation and equipment that can withstand the harsh conditions of the ocean environment. It is a multidisciplinary field that combines mechanical, electrical, civil, acoustical, and chemical engineering elements with oceanography and other marine sciences. Ocean engineering is a vital link between all the various branches of oceanography (geological, chemical, and physical) and marine sciences (marine biology, marine microbiology, coastal and estuarine science). It also plays a vital role in the energy (both oil and gas and renewable), military, marine navigation, environmental protection, pollution, and waste disposal sectors.

Innovations in instrumentation and research equipment design made by ocean engineers have significantly advanced the field of oceanography by enabling oceanographers to push the limits of exploration into more remote and deeper parts of the ocean. These innovations have contributed to significant oceanographic discoveries, including deep-sea hydrothermal vents, ocean volcanoes, underwater mountain chains, previously unknown species, and various biological, chemical, geographical, and physical processes. However, ocean engineering is not a branch of oceanography itself, as oceanography is concerned with the natural aspects of the ocean, while ocean engineering is concerned with the design and operations of artificial systems in the ocean.

To learn more about ocean engineering and to access Ocean Connect’s wide range of educational and career resources, please visit our Ocean Engineering snapshot.