an Oasis of the Seas cruise ship is docked in a port somewhere sunny

Naval Architecture, Ocean & Marine Engineering What's naval architecture, ocean & marine engineering?

the bridge of a ship

Naval architecture, ocean engineering and marine engineering are three disciplines of engineering. 

Here in our Department, we bring them together and cover all areas of naval architecture, ocean and marine engineering. That's where our name comes from. 

We do this through:

  • undergraduate and postgraduate teaching
  • postgraduate research
  • our research and development with government, industry and professional bodies
  • working with external organisations to share our expertise, and put it to use, through conferences and services to the maritime industries

a boat in story sea

Naval architecture

Naval architecture is the study of safe and cost-effective design and operation of marine and maritime structures, with particular emphasis on ships. 

It includes the study of:

  • the buoyancy and stability of ships
  • when they are intact and damaged
  • the drag forces ships encounter as they move through the water
  • the thrust forces generated by ships’ propellers to overcome the resistance
  • the way ships move in rough seas

a racing yacht in the sea

It also addresses the loads generated on the structure of ships by the cargo and the waves, and the strength and durability of the hull.  

One particular specialism we have here is the Naval Architecture of High-Performance Marine Vehicles. This addresses the methods used to analyse and design high-speed and lightweight specialised ships such as racing yachts, powerboats, fast ferries and mega-yachts.

Ocean engineering

offshore platform in the north sea on a stormy day

Ocean engineering is the study of structures and systems designed to use ocean resources. These include oil and gas, but also offshore renewable energy from wind, waves, and tidal currents. In the future other resources may be exploited through subsea mining and other activities. 

These ocean engineering structures can be fixed on the sea bed, freely floating, or installed subsea. 

The engineering of these structures shares some common issues with naval architecture, but ocean engineering has its own unique challenges.

Marine engineering

engine room of a ship

Marine engineering focuses on the efficient design and operation of engineering systems on board ships and offshore structures. 

This includes:

  • engines
  • generators
  • pumps
  • fluid
  • fuel
  • electrical systems

Marine engineers work on key systems related to propelling ships, electrical and mechanical systems for providing power and for controlling the on-board environment for crew and passengers, and managing ballast systems to control the stability of the ship.

Range of techniques

All our disciplines use a range of techniques to predict performance, from hand calculations to sophisticated state-of-the-art computer models and testing of complex physical models in laboratories and test tanks.

Discover more about naval architecture, ocean & marine engineering

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