A career in marine engineering with Simon McCowan

Founded in London in 1889, the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) is an international multi-disciplinary professional body providing opportunities for the exchange of ideas and practices and upholding the status, standards and knowledge of marine professionals worldwide.

Through its Sea Your Future initiative, IMarEst offers resources and activities for students and those starting out in their career above or below the waterline, including support for the Melbourne School of Engineering’s Endeavour programme.

2015 IMAREst Prize winners with James Nichol, IMAREst Victoria Branch Committee Member

In 2015, the inaugural IMarEst Endeavour Prize for best final year project in the area of hydrodynamics, marine engineering, oceanography or fluid mechanics was awarded to Russell George, Tom Bransden and Nick Bernard who investigated the construction and operation of a real-world, full scale drag force measurement system for rowing shells. Master of Mechanical Engineering graduate, Tom commented “the contribution by IMarEST to the University of Melbourne will likely encourage research into this field for many years to come.”

IMarEST Victoria Branch Committee Member and Royal Australian Navy Marine Engineer Officer, Simon McCowan, believes this is the key purpose of the prize. “The IMarEST Endeavour prize was established in 2015 and it is hoped that it will champion interest in research and careers in Marine Engineering and Sciences into the future.”

For Simon, a Mechanical Engineering graduate, no two days are ever the same. I’m currently working as the Senior Instructor- Marine Engineering at the Royal Australian Navy’s Engineer Officer Training Faculty at HMAS Cerberus in Victoria. The faculty is responsible for the delivery of initial entry engineering application training for all Navy Engineer Officers. These courses provide a foundation in the Engineering and Maintenance Discipline on to which specific equipment knowledge is then applied. “

“Engineering Careers with the Navy are varied and most engineers move to new appointments every two years. In my case, I will join a submarine as the Marine Engineer Officer mid-year. In this role, I will be responsible to the Commanding Officer for the delivery of a seaworthy platform. This involves leading a department of 15 Marine Technicians in operating and maintaining the platform systems of a Collins class submarine.”

“I feel that my work impacts on society in two ways. For one, I am directly involved in the protection of Australia’s national interests and secondly, I help develop the future Engineering of Australian Industry as an Engineer instructor.”

Simon, who has spent nine years in the marine defence sector, is grateful for the opportunities the Navy has provided. “I would encourage students to look at every job as an opportunity to broaden your horizons,” Simon explains, “you never know where it will take you.”

The Melbourne School of Engineering looks forward to furthering its relationship with IMarEST and its members as we continue to develop our capabilities in Ocean Engineering.