What Does a Marine Superintendent Do?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 22 February 2020
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A marine superintendent is responsible for the management of a marine vessel, a fleet or a marine based location such as an oil rig. The superintendent must oversee day-to-day operations and is responsible for hiring personnel. Typically, the marine superintendent reports to a director of operations or a general manager.

This individual works to ensure that all safety regulations are followed. Additionally, the marine superintendent has to oversee the installation of new machinery and equipment and make sure that everything on a boat or rig is in working order. Although the superintendent may task other individuals with conducting safety and compliance checks, the superintendent is ultimately responsible for these areas of operation. When safety policies or procedures are altered, the superintendent must communicate updated procedural information to employees.

Many nations have laws that limit emissions and detail the manner in which boat and rig operators must dispose of waste and pollutants. The marine superintendent must ensure that all employees are familiar with environmental laws. Government inspectors have the authority to conduct spot checks and the superintendent has the responsibility for developing action plans to reduce waste and emissions if inspectors find the firm to be in violation of local laws. In some nations, government agencies can assess fines when firms violate environmental laws so the superintendent has to protect the firm's financial interests by ensuring that no fines or penalties are incurred.


Generally, superintendents are responsible for hiring and terminating employees. Oil rigs and fleet companies employ both entry-level workers but also hire skilled engineers, boat captains and mechanics who must possess college degrees and have industry relevant experience. The superintendent reviews job applications and conducts interviews to determine the best candidates for open positions. Therefore, superintendents must have a broad knowledge of the different job functions performed by these employees. Superintendents usually have some control over the fleet or rig budget and are therefore responsible for negotiating salaries with new employees.

Government agencies sometimes employ marine superintendents to oversee operations at shipyards, nationally owned oil rigs or fleets of government operated boats. In many countries, the navy employs one or more superintendent to oversee operations on ships and other types of marine vessels. Government employed navy superintendents are responsible for managing day-to-day operations in combat and peacetime.

Typically, a superintendent must have a college degree in marine or mechanical engineering. Additionally, superintendents usually have to work their way through the ranks from junior positions on boat crews or rigs. Many companies employ a deputy marine superintendent who assists the superintendent and in many instances, experienced deputies transition into vacant superintendent positions.


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