The idea of starting the Marine Engineering course was mooted because of the age-old links of maritime trade and a long coastline, boosting the enormous marine and oil wealth. With the defense and protective needs of the Country, Visakhapatnam was long "destined" to become not only a viable Port City but also a center of learning of Marine Engineering. In 1965 with the concurrence of ministry of education, ministry of shipping and transport, the Government of India and the Directorate General of Shipping; Marine Engineering specialization was introduced in the form of 'electives' to undergraduate students of Mechanical Engineering.
In 1971, Marine Engineering course was started with the approval of the Ministry of Education and AICTE. In 1981, the course was restructured as Marine Engineering and Mechanical handling specialization to cater to the needs of the industry. The department of Marine Engineering was constituted in the year 1981. The department here is a shining example of the coordination that exists between the university and the local Marine and Shipping organizations. A training program for the engine/Deck cadets of Dredging Corporation of India Limited (DCI) has been continuing since 1977 in the department. On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the University, the state owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited Instituted a chair of Naval Architecture studies, while the Visakhapatnam Port Trust has created a chair in material handling systems to promote development activities in the respective areas.
With increasing onshore and offshore oil explorations activities and the Potential Wealth of Marine resources, a four year BE (Naval Architecture) degree course was started in the year 1981, to cater the needs of Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Naval Science Technological Labs, National Ship Design and Research Center, Indian Navy and Visakhapatnam Port Trust. In the year 1999, the Indian Navy has started B.Sc. (Tech) Marine Engineering (4 year) course on self finance basis.
The department has so far more than 300 undergraduate and about 60 post graduate and many of them have risen to occupy the highest posts in the Merchant Navy and Shipping Industries in India and abroad.