Marine architects design floating structures and marine craft and supervise their construction and repair. They aid the building process of craft such as ships, submarines, barges, and floating entities including floats and buoys. A marine architect draws upon knowledge in areas such as design, construction, mathematics, and administration to plan and complete projects.
The design responsibilities of a marine architect include planning structures that adhere to safety, budget, and efficiency requirements. A marine architect will ensure that the plans clearly outline craft specifications, such as weight, speed, and size. They may design the craft layout, superstructure, and hull. Marine architects can also design details such as compartments for passengers and cargo space, in addition to placement of exits, elevators, and ladder wells.
A marine architect typically works with marine engineers to plan and complete projects. With the assistance of an engineer, a marine architect may help to plan the proper arrangement of the equipment that keeps the craft running. This includes ventilation systems, piping, and the items in the boiler room.
Once the design process is complete, the marine architect may oversee the construction of a prototype. The architect will often work with an engineer to ensure that the completed craft will be safe and seaworthy. During the construction process, a marine architect will oversee the design elements of the project. Basic tasks include ensuring that the project is being built not only to the specifications of the plans, but also in compliance with national and international requirements.
There are several areas in which a marine architect could specialize. On large projects, there may be a group of marine architects specializing in specific areas — such as design, technology, and project management — who work together under the supervision of a chief architect. Naval architects work on projects related to military and defense. There are also structural designers who focus on planning elements specific to the basic structure of a sea craft or float.
Marine architecture requires advanced technical, observational, and supervisory skills. Marine architects should have a firm grasp of the basics of design technique, engineering, science, and technology. They must be adept at mathematics — particularly statistics — geometry, calculus, and algebra. A clear understanding of building materials, tools, and methods, and how they can be used in construction, is also required. In addition to technical skills, a marine architect must be able to manage both the intricacies of projects and the personnel who work on them.