National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

Ottawa, Ontario

Marine Engineer

Across Canada
Entry Level, Early Career


Canada’s naval ships are propelled by high-powered engines. When you are in the middle of the ocean, even a brief breakdown puts the mission and the crew’s lives in jeopardy. Marine Engineering are the sailors who keep the pistons pumping and the propellers turning. From diesel engines, to gas turbines, to hydraulic and fuel systems, it’s a mentally rigorous, physically demanding and greatly rewarding career.


As Marine Engineer, you spend much of your career on board ships with “home ports” in Halifax, Nova Scotia, or Esquimalt, British Columbia, on the outskirts of Victoria. You experience exciting adventures and unique challenges that come with working at sea, such as performing tasks in tight, dimly lit spaces or on open deck surfaces, working on a rotating shift or watch system.   

You also spend some time performing general out-of-occupation tasks such as cleaning or painting the ship, working in the cafeteria and loading supplies. When ashore, where most of the maintenance work is done, you normally work a regular day shift.

Salary and Benefits 

The starting salary for a fully trained Marine Engineer is $49,400 per year, but may be higher depending on your previous experience and training.

Marine Engineers who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression and advancement. 

At various stages throughout their career, Marine Engineers must obtain Marine Engineering operating certificates, which reflect and ensure a competent level of watchkeeping and technical ability.

Occupational Training and Development

As a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, you have access to ongoing training. You also have the opportunity to travel the world and enjoy several other tangible services and benefits. 

Basic Military Qualification 

The first stage of training is Basic Military Qualification, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, located 40 km southeast of Montreal. This training provides you with the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. One of the goals of this course is to ensure that you reach and maintain the Forces’ physical fitness standard. This training is therefore physically demanding.

Royal Canadian Naval Training

Naval recruits then attend the Canadian Forces Fleet School either in Halifax, Nova Scotia, or Esquimalt, British Columbia, for approximately five weeks. Training focuses on the following topics:

  • Naval History and Organization
  • Shipboard Firefighting and Damage Control
  • Shipboard Safety
  • Watchkeeping Duties
  • Seamanship

Basic Occupational Qualification 

Marine Engineers learn the ins and outs of their trade at the Canadian Forces Fleet School in Esquimalt. This occupational training takes approximately 13 weeks to complete and includes the following topics:

  • Common Engineering Practices and Publications
  • Liquid Contamination Detection
  • Safe Working Attitudes and Practices
  • Machinery Lubrication
  • Use of Hand Tools
  • Maintenance of Valves and Gaskets
  • Systems Familiarization

Specialty Training

As they advance in their career, Marine Engineers may be given the opportunity to acquire specialized skills through formal courses or on-the-job training, in areas such as:

  • Gas Turbine Heavy Maintenance
  • Heavy Diesel Maintenance
  • Diesel Inspector
  • Non-Destructive Testing Techniques
  • Engineering Officer of the Watch Certification
  • Chief Engineering Certification


The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondary IV in Quebec. Candidates must have also successfully completed Grade 10 Applied or Academic Math, or Math 436 or Math 426 at the Secondary IV level in Quebec.
Foreign education may be accepted.

To be eligible to apply to the Canadian Armed Forces, you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen.
  • Be 17 years of age (with consent from a parent or legal guardian) or older, except for junior candidates in the Regular Officer Training Plan, who must be 16 or older.
  • Have completed at least Grade 10 or Secondary IV in Quebec.
  • Certain entry programs and occupations require higher levels of education. 

Join the Forces 

Learn how you can become a Marine Engineer in the Canadian Armed Forces and discover over 100 other job opportunities at, by calling 1 800 856-8488 or by visiting a Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Centre near you. 

How to Apply