How to become a superyacht engineer

A common question among potential superyacht engineers is, “How do I become a superyacht engineer?”, “What qualifications do I need?”, and “Can I transfer my existing engineering skills/background in order to become a yacht engineer?”. We answer these questions in this article, so read on for your full guide on becoming a superyacht engineer.

Superyacht in the ocean

Becoming a superyacht engineer

The role of a superyacht engineer is as wide reaching as fixing the engines and generators to fixing a blocked toilet or satellite TV connection. Whether you’re new to the industry, or have a large amount of previous qualifications and experience, anyone can potentially become a superyacht engineer. There are courses that range from beginner to expert and everything in between.

Two routes to becoming a superyacht engineer

There are almost two possible routes available to becoming a superyacht engineer:

1. Working through all engineering courses

One very feasible choice is to complete your engineering training by working through the courses set out by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), starting from the bottom up. This involves completing the AEC, MEOL and Yacht 4, 3, 2 and 1 qualifications. Regardless of previous experience, this is still very much a standardised way into the industry.

Superyachtt engine room

Yacht engineering courses and qualifications

Yacht engineering qualifications were introduced in February 2001 to provide an industry standard system of certification. The system allows all those who wish to pursue engineering careers to do so, no matter what their previous training is.

For example, someone with no experience will need to enter in at the first ‘level’ of training and complete a certain amount of courses, whereas another person may enter in the qualification process further down the line, depending on what existing experience or qualifications have been achieved.

Click on the links below for more information on each MCA engineering course. It may be that you are looking at taking the first step or improving your existing skills:

STCW Basic Safety training (STCW 95/10)
ENG1 medical certificate (or equivalent)
Approved Engine Course (AEC)
Marine Engine Operator Licence (Yacht) (MEOL(Y))
Chief Engineer Reg III/3 CoC (Y4)
Chief Engineer Reg III/3 CoC (Chief Engineer "Service Endorsement") (Y3)
Chief Engineer Reg III/2 CoC (Y2)
Chief Engineer Reg III/2 CoC ("Large Yacht Endorsement") (Y1)

Superyacht engineer

2. Those with a background in engineering

Another option would be to gain a separate qualification in engineering, for example a degree in mechanical/aerospace/maritime engineering, and then to embark on your yachting career. Some people gain a degree and then decide to transfer their skills once they want to get a job as an engineer on board.

Many experts state that having a solid degree behind you allows you many more options in life, as it doesn’t limit you to your chosen career. For example, if you gain a reputable degree in mechanical engineering or marine engineering, these will carry respect if you change careers at some point in your life, and will allow you to pursue other options should you decide yacht engineering isn’t for you.

These options may not offer you huge shortcuts when you start working towards becoming a yacht engineer, but they will provide you a knowledge base that is extremely beneficial as you advance.

Engineers with previous experience

Candidates may submit an application to the MCA for a Letter of Initial Assessment if they already hold a large amount of yacht/sea-service experience, non-yachting certificates, or have an apprenticeship or other employment experience.

Once the MCA has assessed at which level you may enter the yachting certification process, you will need to undertake the relevant engineering modules, ancillary courses and oral exams.

Find crew-training companies offering yacht engineering courses.

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