What is a Naval Architect?
Table of Contents
A naval architect is someone who designs, builds, and maintains several different types of marine vessels and structures, and makes water travel possible. For example, they design watercraft that travels across the top of water, such as small boats and ships. They also design vessels that travel underwater and standing structures that are built under water (submersibles), such as submarines and marine oil rigs. Special aircraft that are designed for water landings are also designed and built with the help of a naval architect.
How to Become a Naval Architect
What does a Naval Architect do?
A naval architect typically works in a team with other architects and marine engineers to create all types of different marine vessels and structures. Naval architects typically do the following:
Study design proposals and specifications to establish basic characteristics of a ship, such as size, weight, and speed. It is the job of a naval architect and his team to discuss the needs of a particular company or client in regards to the marine vessel that they want designed. Different vessels and structures are typically built for different purposes. A cruise ship will usually be designed with the comfort of the passengers in mind, for example, while a military vessel will be designed for the purpose of defence.
Once a naval architect and his team have determined the general size and purpose of a vessel, they can then start brainstorming for ideas on how to design it. During this initial brainstorming process, several ideas will usually be tossed around, and several sketches will usually be drawn.
Develop sectional and waterline curves of the hull to establish the centre of gravity, ideal hull form, and data on buoyancy and stability
Design entire ship hulls and superstructures, following safety standards
Design the layout of ships’ interiors, including passenger compartments, cargo space, ladder wells, and elevators
Confer with marine engineers to set up the layout of boiler room equipment, heating and ventilation systems, refrigeration equipment, and propulsion machinery
The final design is usually very detailed, and it will include nearly every aspect of the building process. These designs are often created with the help of special sophisticated computer software.
Lead teams from a variety of specialties to oversee building and testing prototypes. A naval architect's job does not usually stop at designing a marine vessel, however. These professionals will usually oversee and even help with the building process. In doing so, they can quickly and accurately catch and correct any problems during the construction.
Evaluate how the ship does during trials both at the dock and at sea and change the design as needed to make sure the ship meets national and international specifications.
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How to become a Naval Architect
Those interested in naval architecture careers will need to earn special degrees, which are usually a combination of engineering and design. The United States Naval Academy offers degree programs in naval architecture through their Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering Department. Also available are advanced degrees for individuals who have already earned a four year degree in an engineering related field.
Licensure is usually necessary for individuals looking for naval architecture careers. Aspiring naval architects (in the USA) will usually need to pass a Fundamentals of Engineering exam given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Survey upon graduation. After four years of work experience, they must then pass another exam on the Principles and Practice of Engineering before becoming licensed.
What is the workplace of a Naval Architect like?
Naval architects are able to secure employment with companies that build marine structures and vessels. Oil and gas companies will hire naval architects to build ocean rigs, the military will hire naval architects to design and build their marine vessels (for example, submarines). Cruise lines will hire naval architects to build recreational vessels.
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