BEComing a superyacht engineer

There are numerous different ways to become a superyacht engineer, all of which will be discussed in greater detail here. You will also find links to course information and a list of training schools that offer these qualifications.

This write-up will help simplify the process and outline the best options available to you; whether you are new to the yachting industry, have an engineering degree, work on commercial vessels, or even a deckhand planning a switch to the engine room.

This write-up will also be very useful to current superyacht engineers hoping to gain a better understanding of the new MCA ‘Engineer Officer Small Vessel CoC’ system.

In order to work as an engineer onboard a superyacht you must be approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The MCA recently changed their engineering qualification structure in order to simplify the number and level of qualifications across the industry, they have pulled together pre-existing qualifications, leading to certificates of competency (CoC) restricted to yachts (and other small vessels) only. This single generic qualification is now referred to as ‘Engineer Officer Small Vessel Certificate of Competency’.

Before we focus on the routes to becoming an engineer it is important to understand that any aspiring engineer must hold:

  • An STCW: EVERY crew member onboard must hold a valid STCW
  • An ENG1 Medical Certificate: EVERY crew member onboard must hold a valid ENG1
  • AEC 1: The Approved Engine Course 1 is an entry level qualification for the MCA engineering training schedule and is regarded as the first step on the ladder. It is a 5-day or 30-hour course that aims to provide candidates with practical basic hands on training and theoretical knowledge of diesel engines. The main intention of this course is to teach the knowledge to serve in an ENTRY LEVEL capacity in the engineering department or for a crew member primarily working in another department to assist with engineering functions, for example, a deck/engineer. Holding an AEC certificate will allow you to be a chief engineer on a yacht over 24m and less than 200 Gross Tons or act as an assistant engineer on vessels over 200 GT up to 60NM from a safe haven.

The AEC is your gateway ticket into becoming an engineer, it is therefore essential to hold this qualification, gain sea time and work on your training record book (TRB) in order to progress in the engine room.

HOW TO PROGRESS AS A YACHT ENGINEER:

Becoming a 2nd Engineer:

There are three routes to obtaining a ‘2nd Engineer Officer Small Vessel Certificate of Competency’ (Previously known as Y4):

  1. Standard Route:

This standard route benefits those who study through an accepted route of education involving MSQ (Maritime Studies Qualifications) modules. Completion of these will result in a ‘Diploma in Maritime Studies: Small Vessel Engineer’. This route is extremely beneficial to super yacht engineers because of the reduced sea time required and because some of the syllabus can be completed on-board.

In order to follow this route, you must:

  • Complete Approved Engine Course (AEC) I&II
  • Have completed 12 months’ combined sea service and workshop training
  • Complete the MNTB Small Vessel Training Record Book (TRB)
  • Pass the Diploma in Maritime Studies: Small Vessel Engineer
  • Pass the MCA-approved written exams
  • Hold the applicable ancillary and safety course certificates listed in section 5
  • Hold a valid ENG1 medical certificate
  • Complete MCA oral examination for 2nd Engineer Officers on Small Vessels
  1. Experienced Seafarer Route:

Candidates that choose this route will NOT be required to complete the Diploma in Maritime Studies: Small Vessel Engineer, they however, will need to complete a preparatory college course and SQA written exams. To be eligible to register you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have completed 24 months’ seagoing service on vessels of at least 200kW,
  • hold an Approved Engine Course (AEC) I & II,
  • hold basic STCW safety training certificates,
  • complete the SV Training Record Book (TRB) during your seagoing service
  • Hold the applicable ancillary and safety course certificates
  • Hold a valid ENG1 Medical Examination
  • Pass the MCA oral examination for Second Engineer Officers on Small Vessels.
  1. Alternative Route: For Graduate Engineers:

This route is for those candidates who hold a relevant engineering degree/diploma/apprenticeship. These qualifications should be sent to an MCA-approved training provider who will analyse their relevance and explain what the individual should do in order to obtain a 2nd Engineer Officer Small Vessel CoC.

If you are deemed eligible to enter into this programme you will need to apply directly to an MCA-approved nautical college. In order to gain the Certificate of Competency you must:

  • Complete a minimum of 6 months’ seagoing service engaged in watchkeeping duties
  • Hold an Approved Engine Course (AEC) I & II
  • 2 weeks MCA-approved initial Workshop Skills Training
  • Successfully Complete the MCA-approved modules and pass the corresponding exams
  • Hold the applicable ancillary and safety course certificates
  • Hold a valid ENG1 Medical Examination
  • Pass the MCA oral examination for Second Engineer Officers on Small Vessels.

Becoming a Chief Engineer – 9000Kw limited 500GT (Formerly Y3):

In order to hold this Certificate of Competency you must:

  • While holding a 2nd Engineer Officer SV CoC complete a minimum of 6 months’ seagoing service.
  • Complete the MCA-approved modules and pass the corresponding exams
  • Hold the applicable ancillary and safety course certificates
  • Pass the MCA oral exam

Becoming a Chief Engineer – 9000KW Limited 3000GT (Replaces Y2 & Y1):

In order to hold this Certificate of Competency you must:

  • Complete 24 months’ seagoing service
  • Complete MCA-approved modules and pass the corresponding written exams
  • Hold the applicable ancillary and safety course certificates
  • Pass the MCA oral exam

FOR MORE INFO GO TO MCA WEBSITE MIN524

other routes to becoming a yacht engineer

The above method is the new MCA-approved and advised route to becoming a YACHT engineer, there are however other options available to you:

Experienced Marine Engineers: Marine engineers with qualifications for larger vessels, such as, commercial tankers, container vessels, dredgers etc. or those with merchant navy tickets are usually able to work on yachts with these tickets. It is important to contact the MCA who will review these qualifications and ascertain a plan of action for you.

USCG: It is also possible to qualify as a yacht engineer through the United States Coast Guard route, again different flag states will have different requirements and it is advisable to contact the MCA for any further advice or information.