How to become a superyacht engineer: A complete guide
Written by Simon Osborne
If you want to become a superyacht engineer, or even want to find out more about progressing in the role, you are in the right place.
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?”.Yachting Pages answers all these questions in this article, so read on for your full guide on becoming a superyacht engineer.
A basic breakdown
Whether you are 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.
The role of a superyacht engineer
It’s important to understand the role of a superyacht engineer before you decide to embark upon this particular career path. You will be expected to have a vast array of knowledge of a range of different systems, and your duties will be far-reaching. The job will be very hands-on, so you will be expected to fix and work with not only engines but all other equipment.
The routes to becoming a superyacht engineer
There are almost two possible routes available to becoming a superyacht engineer:
Working through all engineering courses
One very feasible choice is to complete your engineering training by going through the steps set out by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and working through the courses, starting from the bottom up. Regardless of previous experience, this is still very much a standardised way into the industry.
It is also common for prospective engineers to become a deck hand first, or a duel deck engineer (a deck hand and engineer) to obtain some experience on board. For example, you could complete your STCW and obtain your ENG1 in order to become a deck hand, and then work your way through the engineer courses while building up your sea-going experience.
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.
A basic breakdown of the courses
Click on the links below for more information on each course. It may be that you are looking at taking the first step or improving your existing skills.
- 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)
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 superyachts.
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 life. 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 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.