Oceans of Power - 125 Years of Marine Engineering Milestones

Number of Pages:
Book Height:
286 mm
Book Width:
220 mm
1.6 kg
Published Date:
August 2019
Current Stock:
Adding to cart… The item has been added

This title has already been added to your basket for browser access. If you require access for more than one user, please contact us.

This publication tells the story of marine engineering over the last two centuries, from the coming of steam to the nuclear age and beyond. It focuses on the key developments, but also includes many of the failures along the way. Central to much of the story is the role of the Institute of Marine Engineering, now IMarEST, in reporting and encouraging this progress since its foundation in 1889.

This book takes each significant marine engineering development and analyses how it came about and how it evolved. Themes covered include early steam engines, boilers, the steam turbine, diesel engines, turbocharging, automation, submarine systems, gas turbines and nuclear power, ship developments, the offshore revolution, future fuels, and alternative energy sources. In addition, the history of 125 years of IMarE/IMarEST is outlined.

Each chapter is illustrated with contemporary photos and drawings and the book is supported by a number of appendices including a timeline of marine engineering history.

IMarEST members, please enter 'IMAREST' as Promotional Code during checkout for your members discount..

The year 2014 saw the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Institute of Marine Engineers (IMarE) that more recently has become known as the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST). It is thus timely to recount some of the major developments, and some of the less successful byways, that have taken place over this period and indeed from the beginning of powered vessels, and of the Institute’s role in encouraging and reporting on many of these.

The term marine engineering can be understood in two ways, as the broad subject of marine technology and the specific profession of the marine engineer. In this book I have tried to reflect both aspects. However, the subject of marine engineering covers such a vast range of ideas and technologies that of necessity I have had to focus on the key developments of the last 200 years while also looking at some of the more bizarre ideas that have been floated in that period. I have also looked at the development of various types of ship and their design, construction, equipment and operation which have been major influences on marine engineering over some two centuries as well as the evolution of the machinery itself. At the same time I have endeavoured to put all these changes and developments in context with the emergence and history of the Institute.

Marine engineering could be said to have existed since the very earliest times but in reality, as a science, it can trace its roots back to the 17th century and the age of sail. However, I have chosen to look at the changes that have taken place from the coming of steam during the latter part of the 18th century, which set shipping on a new course and created the role of the marine engineer, through to the present day. Along the way there have been triumphs and tragedies but, at every stage, men of great ability and integrity have pushed the boundaries of technology. Much of this progress has been described and debated in the proceedings and publications of the Institute.

The format of the book has been designed around the various developments in the technology. It commences with a review of the founding of the Institute. There then follows Part One describing the early history of steam at sea and leading on to an analysis of each major technical development in conjunction with the Institute’s involvement. Part Two returns to the history of the Institute itself with cross referencing to Part One as appropriate. Finally, a number of Appendices detail key figures and other aspects of the history including a timeline to place events in perspective.

At this point, I should explain the reason for the extensive treatment of the diesel engine. Since its arrival in deep sea a little over 100 years ago, the diesel has risen to such prominence that today there are virtually no merchant vessels afloat that are powered by any other means of propulsion. The diesel has proven to be the most efficient method of propelling a vessel and its continued development has enabled it to adapt to different fuels as circumstances have dictated. The only sector where steam still plays a major part is that of very large surface warships and submarines, those few that are nuclear powered. All other major warships are largely powered by the gas turbine, itself an internal combustion engine albeit of rotary rather than reciprocating form.

Nevertheless, the challenge raised today by environmental concerns has seen alternative propulsion media being put forward with the objective of reducing unacceptable emissions – whether the diesel will see off these alternatives or eventually succumb to progress is unclear. What is certain is the fact that the Institute will continue to report the developments as they happen and remain a leading forum for debate on the various options.

Part One – Marine Engineering Milestones

Chapter 1: The earliest steam engines

Chapter 2: Triple/quadruple expansion

Chapter 3: Boiler developments

Chapter 4: The steam turbine

Chapter 5: The diesel engine

Chapter 6: Turbocharging arrives

Chapter 7: The diesel warship

Chapter 8: The electric ship
Chapter 9: Paddles, propellers and pods

Chapter 10: Fuel developments

Chapter 11: The automated ship

Chapter 12: Stability solutions

Chapter 13: Gas turbine applications

Chapter 14: Submarine sophistication

Chapter 15: Nuclear power for merchant ships

Chapter 16: Ships – standards, hybrids and oddballs

Chapter 17: Tragedies bring changes

Chapter 18: Other trials and tribulations

Chapter 19: The offshore revolution

Chapter 20: State of the art

Chapter 21: The future

Part Two – The Institute

Chapter 22: The early days

Chapter 23: Growing the Institute

Chapter 24: Of presidents, personnel and people

Chapter 25: A place to meet

Chapter 26: Education and accreditation

Chapter 27: Spreading the word


IMarEST is the first Institute to bring together marine engineers, scientists and technologists into one international multi-disciplinary professional body.

Here you will find all the information you need about who we are, what we do and why we do it. You can also find out how IMarEST is governed, learn about the history of IMarEST, founded in 1889, and discover how our associated charity, The Guild of Benevolence, works to support those in the marine community requiring financial support.


John Barnes, BSc, CEng, FIMarEST, MRINA

John Barnes is Publications Manager at IMarEST. He has 40 years’ experience as an editor of marine journals, including four years as editor of the Marine Engineers Review.

Number of Pages:
Binding Format:
Book Height:
286 mm
Book Width:
220 mm
1.6 kg

John Barnes, BSc, CEng, FIMarEST, MRINA

Published Date:
August 2019
Publication Date:
August 2019