Home » Electro-Technical Officer (ETO)

Electro-Technical Officer (ETO)

Home / Careers / Engineering Officers / Electro-Technical Officer (ETO)

Things You Should Know About Electro-Technical Officer (ETO)

Your ship’s electrical and electronic systems are the lifeblood that keeps her running. Without power and automation, today’s massive container vessels would be dead in the water. As Electro-Technical Officer (ETO) aboard a merchant ship, those critical systems are your responsibility. The specialized training you received and your technical savvy make you the go-to expert for keeping circuits humming, motors spinning, and electrons flowing. It’s a complex job managing and maintaining those intricate networks, circuits, and programmable controllers. 

The position requires diligence, skill, and a cool head to troubleshoot problems and devise solutions. Your specialized knowledge helps the ship safely cross oceans carrying cargo and passengers. When things go right, you’re often unseen behind the scenes. But when issues arise, the captain and crew turn to you, the ETO, to work your technical magic. Read on to learn more about life as an ETO keeping today’s merchant vessels shipshape and cruising.

What Is an Electro-Technical Officer (ETO) in the Merchant Navy?


As an ETO, you’re responsible for maintaining and repairing all electrical and electronic equipment on the ship. This includes power generation and distribution systems, lighting systems, refrigeration and HVAC systems, communication equipment like radios, and navigation aids such as radar. You need to ensure that all equipment is functioning properly and safely at all times.


To become an ETO, you need a marine engineering degree or diploma and complete marine electrical training. You’ll also need sea service experience, usually around 6-12 months. You must be in good health, have normal vision and hearing, and be able to work in hot, cramped engine rooms. Strong technical and troubleshooting skills are essential.

Daily Duties

A typical day for an ETO involves monitoring equipment, performing routine inspections and maintenance, troubleshooting any issues, and making necessary repairs. You’ll often work with blueprints and technical manuals. You may also supervise electrical ratings and ensure they follow proper safety procedures. At times, you may be on emergency call in case of equipment failures or blackouts.

Career and Salary Prospects

Experienced ETOs are always in high demand in the maritime industry. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for an ETO in the US is $73,000. Top salaries can reach $100,000 or more, especially if you have experience with advanced systems like marine automation and control systems. Many ETOs enjoy long and rewarding careers at sea, though it can be difficult work and time away from home.

In summary, the ETO plays a vital role in keeping a ship operational and the crew safe. If you have a technical mind and a sense of adventure, this could be an exciting career path for you to explore.

Key Responsibilities of an ETO on a Merchant Ship

Maintenance and Repair

As an ETO, your primary duty is to maintain and repair the ship’s electrical and electronic equipment. This includes power generators, navigation equipment, communication systems, and safety devices. You’ll conduct routine inspections, testing, and servicing to ensure all systems are working properly and make repairs when needed.


When equipment malfunctions, the ETO is responsible for troubleshooting and diagnosing the problem. You’ll need to have a strong understanding of schematics, wiring diagrams, and repair manuals to locate the source of issues. Once identified, you’ll perform the necessary repairs, adjustments or part replacements to get the equipment back up and running.


Accurate record-keeping and documentation are essential parts of an ETO’s job. You must log details about inspections, maintenance, testing, and repairs to provide a service history for the ship’s equipment. Thorough documentation helps identify patterns, aids in troubleshooting, and ensures regulatory compliance. As an ETO, you should be extremely detail-oriented and able to maintain precise records.

Safety and Compliance

ETOs must follow all safety procedures and regulations to prevent injury and ensure the ship operates legally. You’ll need to be well-versed in marine safety standards and compliance for electrical systems, navigation equipment, and life saving appliances. Strict adherence to these rules is vital for safe operation, risk mitigation and avoiding costly fines.

As you can see, ETOs have many important responsibilities that require both technical and administrative skills. If you’re up for the challenge of this demanding yet rewarding role at sea, a career as an Electro-Technical Officer could be right for you!

Skills and Qualifications Needed to Become an Electro-Technical Officer

Technical knowledge

To become an ETO, you’ll need in-depth knowledge of electrical and electronic systems, power generation and distribution, automation, and control systems. You should understand circuits, motors, generators, batteries, and power converters. Strong technical and problem-solving skills are essential to diagnosing and repairing issues.

Certification and training

ETO’s require certification and formal training. You’ll complete a training program at a maritime academy or training institution and become certified. Some programs offer cadet sea time, allowing you to gain on-the-job experience. Required certifications include an Electro-Technical Officer Certificate and Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) endorsement. Certification requires passing theoretical and practical assessments.

Physical ability

The job requires physical stamina and the ability to work in cramped spaces. You may need to lift heavy equipment, work in extreme heat or cold, and spend long hours on your feet. Good eyesight, hearing, and hand-eye coordination are also important for technical work and emergency response.

Leadership and communication skills

Strong leadership and communication skills are essential for an ETO. You’ll supervise electrician crew members and ensure safe practices. You must be able to relay technical issues to the Chief Engineer and other crew and give clear instructions during emergencies. Proficiency in English is required for international maritime communication and documentation.

Becoming an Electro-Technical Officer in the Merchant Navy requires dedication and a specialized skill set. If you have a passion for technology and the sea, the rewards of this career can be very fulfilling. With the increasing use of technology on ships, ETO’s play an integral role in efficient, compliant, and safe maritime operations.

Final Verdict

The key things you should know if you’re considering becoming an Electro-Technical Officer in the Merchant Navy. It’s a specialized role with a lot of responsibility, but also provides the chance to see the world and be part of an exciting industry.

The job isn’t for everyone, but if you’re technically minded and want a career at sea, it could be a great fit. Just be sure to get the proper training and certifications, and be prepared for the unique lifestyle that comes with life on a merchant ship. But if you’re up for the challenge, there’s a whole world of adventure waiting for you as an ETO in the Merchant Navy.

Subscribe to Merchant Navy Info Daily Newsletter

Scroll to Top