Chief engineer

A chief engineer is a senior engineer in an organization. Typically they are in charge of an engineering department, and duties vary considerably depending on the industry.


Chief engineer in the engine room of a Norwegian ferry

In marine engineering, the chief engineer is a licensed mariner in charge of the engineering department on a merchant vessel.

A chief engineer (commonly referred to as"ChEng," "the Chief" or just "Chief") is responsible for all operations and maintenance that has to do with any and all engineering equipment throughout the entire ship. [1]

Under many jurisdictions the chief engineer is of equal rank to the captain, with responsibility being split between the two posts; the chief engineer taking responsibility for engine room and maintenance, and the captain taking responsibility for navigation and deck operations. [2]

Public works

In public works, such as for a city, county, military division, or federal program, the engineering department often has a chief engineer. This is typically shown as "Office of the Chief Engineer" in organizational charts. This person or group is separate from the other engineering offices, and functions to coordinate their activities from an engineering perspective. [3]

Product development

In large-scale product development, such as for motor vehicles or mobile phones, each product will have an assigned chief engineer. In these industries, the chief engineer is responsible for the design of the product, and coordinates the activities of all other engineers and design personnel involved in the product. [4]

General industry

In some companies, the title of the most senior engineer is chief engineer. This position may also be called engineering manager, engineering director, or chief technology officer in larger corporations. [5]

See also


  1. International Maritime Organization; Chief Engineers Association; Fanning Communications, Inc. "III: Standards Regarding the Engine Department". International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978; Chief Engineer Magazine 1934. Section A–III/1.
  2. International Labour Organization (2000-12-05). "Ship-Engineer (Machinist)". International Hazard Datasheets on Occupation. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  3. "About Office of the Chief Engineer". NASA.
  4. James Morgan. The Toyota Product Development System: Integrating People, Process and Technology. Productivity Press. ISBN 1563272822.
  5. Oliver, Stanley (1978). The management of production technology. London: Mechanical Engineering Publications. ISBN 9780852983829.
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