Ocean or marine engineers design and evaluate ships and equipment used in oceangoing vessels. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,720 marine engineers and naval architects employed in the United States in 2010. Salaries and benefits packages for those working in this field tend to be similar to the salaries and benefits earned by engineers in other fields.
The average salary for those working in the field of ocean or marine engineering was $87,770 per year, as of May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau indicates that the median salary for ocean engineers was $79,920, with those comprising the middle 50 percent of the pay scale earning between $57,920 and $106,280 per year. The highest-paid marine engineers earned salaries of $144,350 or more per year. Those at the bottom of the pay scale made less than $43,200 on an annual basis.
The industry in which the ocean engineer works also provides some indication of how much he can expect to make. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest number of these engineers worked in the architectural, engineering and related services field, making an average salary of $90,370 per year in 2010. The bureau indicates that those employed by the federal government averaged $103,870 per year, while those working in the ship and boat-building industry made substantially less at $68,800 annually. The highest-paid ocean engineers worked as managers of various companies and enterprises, earning an average salary of $110,970 per year.
Location also provides some indication as to the typical salary earned by those in the marine engineering field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Maryland was the highest-paying state in which to work. The average salary earned by those in Maryland was $114,420 per year in 2010. Those employed in Texas made an average salary of $91,980 per year, while those employed in the state of Washington brought home an average of $82,950. Marine engineers in Louisiana averaged $73,930 per year, while those in California made $67,070.
Benefits packages for ocean engineers tend to vary by employer. Companies that hire engineers often provide some kind of comprehensive benefits package that includes a combination of health and life insurance, along with additional benefits. Additional benefits may include retirement packages or pension plans. Those who work for the federal government qualify for government-based retirement plans, whereas those in private enterprise generally receive deferred compensation benefits in the form of a 401k plan.