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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ocean Engineering is an ambiguously defined discipline, but may refer to Oceanographic Engineering[1] a term describing marine electronics engineering applied to supporting the work of oceanographers; or, may refer to offshore engineering, or maritime engineering, which is the branch of engineering allied to civil engineering, and concerned with the technical aspects of fixed and floating offshore marine structures and systems related to harnessing ocean resources. These include offshore oil and gas and the rapidly expanding area of ocean renewable energy, as well as other ocean resource activities such as sub-sea mining and aquaculture.[2]


Fields of study

The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) describes the work of "ocean engineers" as follows:

Ocean engineers study the ocean environment to determine its effects on ships and other marine vehicles and structures. Ocean engineers may design and operate stationary ocean platforms, or manned or remote-operated sub-surface vehicles used for deep sea exploration.[3]

Although the term appears to describe one who designs, maintains, and operates oceans, the SNAME description bears a strong resemblance to a conflation of naval architecture, marine electronics, and offshore engineering.

As with all engineering disciplines ocean engineering should be concerned with the design and operation of systems — in the ocean; and should not be confused with oceanography — the scientific study of oceanic systems; nor marine electronics engineering (oceanographic engineering), which is concerned with the design and operation of remote sensing systems. Ocean engineering sounds essentially like another name for offshore engineering and a variant term for subsea engineering to encompass the reality of subsea structures and systems being both above and below the water. Ocean Engineering does not include the design of ships (naval architecture), or the design of electronic, electrical and mechanical systems that exist within ships and offshore installations.

Ocean engineering is essentially an American neologism for offshore civil engineering and oceanographic electronic engineering; as such it may encompass the study of man-made structures such as nearshore piers, breakwaters, groins, piles, and sewer outfalls as well as common offshore structures such as petroleum drilling and operating platforms.

Renewable ocean energy

The ocean environment presents a vast quantity of renewable sources of energy in the form of winds, waves, tides, currents and the density and thermal gradients between ocean water layers.

Ocean engineering education

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) established the following criteria for the curriculum of ocean engineering programs:

The program must demonstrate that graduates have: knowledge and the skills to apply the principles of fluid and solid mechanics, dynamics, hydrostatics, probability and applied statistics, oceanography, water waves, and underwater acoustics to engineering problems; the ability to work in groups to perform engineering design at the system level, integrating multiple technical areas and addressing design optimization.[4]

ABET currently accredits ten ocean engineering programs in the United States:

British institutions involved in Ocean Engineering

See also



Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

Part of the Wikiversity Department of Ocean engineering and naval architecture

A NEEMO 11 crewmember works outside the undersea habitat "Aquarius".


Content summary

Herein we first explore the oceans from an oceanographic perspective, focusing on the physical characteristics and the natural processes. Further, we examine the physics of the oceans and the atmosphere, with the intent to predict the behavior of ocean systems. Finally we apply these studies to the engineering of devices within the ocean environment.


To further knowledge of the ocean as an engineering environment and to enable the practitioner to effectively design within the parameters of such.

Learning Materials


Ocean Engineering Lessons

  1. Temperature
  2. Density
  3. Salinity
  4. Chemistry
  1. Periodicity
  2. Wave force
  3. Ocean currents
  4. Tides
  5. Vortices and other phenomena
  • Ocean engineering design
  1. Models & Scaling
  2. Resistance
  3. Propulsion
  4. Corrosion
  5. Galvanic Protection
  6. Arctic Engineering




  • Physical Properties of the Oceans
  1. Peruse the appropriate sections of b:Introduction to Oceanography

Study guide:

  • Physical Properties of the Oceans
  1. Wikipedia article:Temperature
  2. Wikipedia article:Density
  3. Wikipedia article:Salinity
  4. Wikipedia article:Chemistry
  5. Wikipedia article:Marine geology
  6. Wikipedia article:Oceanography
  7. Wikipedia article:Chemical oceanography
  8. Wikipedia article:Physical oceanography


Additional helpful readings include:

  • Elements of Ocean Engineering; Randall, Robert E., 1997, SNAME New York
  • Principles of Naval Architecture (2nd Rev.); Lewis, E.V., 1989, SNAME New York
  • Water Wave Mechanics for Engineers & Scientists; R.G. Dean, 1991, World Scientific Singapore
  • Descriptive Physical Oceanography; G.L. Pickard, 1990, Butterworth Heinemann Oxford

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