Described in a word: Collaborative!

Why? Because oceanography spans interconnected disciplines (physical, biological, chemical, geological, environmental, technological, blue economy, etc.) and the entire globe. (Brandy Armstrong, IEEE OES VP Professional Activities, 2020-2021)

Ocean Engineering has as many areas and fields to explore as the vast ocean itself. Ocean Engineers could work on anything from creating autonomous underwater vehicles to studying underwater sound signals, or inventing devices that track and protect endangered fish. And that’s just a few!

Want to learn more? Click on the blue tabs to read and explore, the green tabs to get plugged in, or the yellow tab for a hands-on activity.


A day in the life of an Ocean Engineer can look like many different things. The five specific concentrations in Ocean Engineering are Coastal Engineering, Hydrographic, Marine Vehicles, Marine Materials and Corrosion, and Underwater Technology.

Ocean Engineers can be found behind desks or out in the field testing equipment and instrumentation.

Some specialize in research and discovery and others in designing vehicles and underwater devices through computer softwares.

One example of a job in Ocean Engineering, is the work of Brandy Armstrong (IEEE OES VP Professional Activities, 2020-2021) and her studies of physical processes of the ocean and running “Three-dimensional, Coupled Ocean, Atmosphere, Wave and Sediment Transport models.” Part of her work includes finding the right numeric model, testing it, and finding ways to improve it.

She emphasises the importance of working with others by saying, “Networking and collaboration are really required in ocean engineering because the ocean is connected and spans the entire globe, but also because all ocean disciplines are interconnected.” To read the full interview with Brandy Armstrong about her favorite part of being an Ocean Engineer and the five things she does everyday for her job, go here.

The field of Ocean Engineering is growing as more people realize the interconnectivity of the ocean in our everyday lives. Watch this video to hear what Hari Vishnu, (Research Fellow in the National University of Singapore, Chief Editor of the IEEE OES Earthzine magazine, and visiting Scholar at the Scripps University of Oceanography in San Diego), has to say about the importance of Ocean Engineering.

Ever wonder how Seafarers crossed the ocean before GPS? Watch this 5 minute video about Early Maritime Navigationby IEEE REACH to learn more.

Learn how these Ocean Engineers contributed to the advancement of the industry and ocean.

Dr. Raye Jean Montague
Naval Engineer, 1935-2018

Dr. Raye Jean Montague charted her own path when it came to computer programming and design. She first joined the U.S. Navy in 1956 as a clerk typist, but quickly moved up in the ranks to a Digital Computer Systems Operator which led to the Division Head of Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing, among many other prestigious positions. In 1971, her department was asked to create a computer-generated ship design in one month (a project usually allotted two years). Instead, Montague completed the task in just under nineteen hours, being the first person to create a computer-designed naval ship. By the time Montague retired from the U.S. Navy in 1990, she had been the recipient of countless awards and helped design ships, submarines, and the Navy’s first landing craft helicopter-assault ship. Be inspired by Dr. Montague’s story and work with this video by the U.S. Navy.

(Sources: Wikipedia and The History Makers)

Dr. Jerome (Jerry) Milgram
Ocean Engineer, 1938-present

Ocean Engineer and proclaimed, “Sea-going Sherlock Holmes,” Dr. Jerry Milgram, takes his expertise in Hydrodynamics at or near the surface of the sea and applies it to investigating major oil spills and other notorious marine disasters. His work has led him to investigate the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the 1982 sinking of the Ocean Ranger (a mobile drilling rig off the shore of Newfoundland), and many more cases. In a video made by MIT Infinite History, Milgram says: “One of the things I’ve learned about marine accidents is nine times out of ten, there’s a chain of many mistakes. And if any one of those many mistakes had not happened, there would be no accident.” Thanks to Ocean Engineers like Dr. Milgram, we have more information on how to keep our oceans safe and clean.

(Sources: MIT News and Infinite History)

Keep exploring ocean facts, news, and inventions by reading, watching, and following these associations on social media.

Social Media:

  • IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society (@IEEEOES) – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • IEEE Earthzine (@Earthzine) – Facebook and Twitter
  • EPICS in IEEE (@epicsinieee) – Ocean Series: Facebook




National Geographic: Webinars – Five Female Ocean Explorers

Get Plugged In

Competitions, Fairs, and Camps are some of the best ways to put your skills to the test in a friendly-competitive environment. Along with these annual events, check your local science center or museum and universities nearby for events they are offering.


  • Mate ROV Competition: Build Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles (ROVs) with your team and compete with groups from all over the world. Different competitions for all ages!
  • SEA Perch: Global and regional competitions for building ROVs. Build your own Sea Perch through their program and then compete in SEA Perch competitions.
  • RoboSub: Construct and test Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) in performing tasks at these annual events offered for high-school, undergrad, and graduate students.
  • ESSO-National Institute of Technology: Compete with your team and develop skills in AUV engineering technologies (For Indian national students only).
  • MARE’s Deep Sea Engineering Challenge: A new challenge every year. Find out what the challenge is this year and how to get involved to learn about ocean health and technical solutions.



TryEngineering Summer Institute: Attend the TryEngineering Summer Institute to further your core engineering skills. Since Ocean Engineers can have many different backgrounds, this could help you discover the path you like be

Did you know you can start to make a difference in your community now? Look at these resources to help Ocean Engineers and Scientists in their research and start finding creative solutions to ocean problems.

Community is an intricate part of learning. Get plugged in to these associations to join the Ocean Engineering network!


Start creating and developing your Ocean Engineering skills with this fun activity! Don’t forget to share with us what you learned or created at the end.

Step 1: Explore

  • Read about ocean sounds Facts and Myths at Discovery of Sound in the Sea and test yourself on how much you already know!
  • Watch Tech Insider to learn about how deep the ocean goes and what you can find at each level of the ocean.
  • Listen to NOAA Sounds in The Ocean to hear the noises sea animals make and write down the differences you hear! (Can you tell the difference between a dolphin and a whale?)

Step 2: Engage

  • Discover why ponds freeze in the winter but oceans don’t through this do-it-at-home experiment offered by the New England Aquarium!

Step 3: Share

  • Have you, a family member, or teacher share what you learned or created on Facebook or Twitter using #tryengineeringtuesday and #tryengineering. We want to hear from you!