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LIC 3rd Engineer

The 3 a/e, or assistant engineer, stands an engineering watch at the control board of the engine room.

Some smaller ships will have a different watch rotation, and some ships even have unmanned engine rooms so the engine department might have a completey different schedule, like day work, and an on-call night engineer. Regardless, the 3rd a/e, upon larger ships, is responsible for an engineering watch team and collateral duties include the inspection and operation sewage, reefer flats (pumps), ballast pumps, generators (including emergency generators) and oily water separator to name a few.

On smaller ships, the responsibility could be more encompassing due to the diminished engine crew size. On small ships on inland waters, manning requirements might only call for 1 licensed engineer onboard, and they are doing everything. It all depends which ship you are on.

The rotation and living conditions vary from ship to ship. This is something set up through the company, union, vessel and yourself. The average daily wage for a 3rd a/e is around $250-$450 a day, depending on the work load, and can be a salary, hourly, or daily wage depending on the setup with the organization paying the employees. The rotation is also dynamic; it can be an on call basis, or a steady rotation of a certain time on and a certain time off (i.e. 90 on 90 off, 2 weeks on 2 weeks off, 1 week on 1 week off). The requirements for a 3rd a/e or limited horsepower engineering officer is a certain amount of sea time on those particular vessels and a number of classes where a certificate of completion in required.

Visit the Coast Guard website for sea time and class requirements and refer to the engineering application process.

LIC 2nd Engineer

A second a/e (assistant engineer) is responsible for a watch team as well, if the size of vessel warrants. A 2nd a/e is also in charge of ship's fuel; moving the fuel to the day tanks for the voyage, ballasting the ship by moving fuel and calculating the daily average burn. Again, the 2nd a/e, if they have an unlimited horsepower officer's license, can sail as a chief engineer on a smaller ship with lesser horsepower.

LIC Chief Engineer

The Chief Engineer is ultimately responsible for the entire engineering department, its crew and equipment. It is a job that takes years to obtain, along with a large amount of formal training. It is a great career path and one that is enjoyed by many seafarers, coming from the maritime academies and working their way up through the "hawsepipe." The average daily wage for a chief engineer is $580-$800 a day.