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MCA Chief Engineer Yacht, MEOL and AEC Requirements for Working in the UK Registered Large Yachts (over 24m)

mca yacht engineer

The Chief Engineer Yacht is in charge of the engineering department of a large yacht (Superyacht) and manages the Engineers, Electricians and ETO and has overall responsibility for the engineering department. A chief engineer is educated to degree level and hold any other qualifications associated with Maritime engineering and must have a Class 1 Certificate of Competency among other qualifications. Most Chief Engineers have reached their position by starting out as an Engineer on board superyachts.

Engineer officers serving in all UK registered yachts and sail training vessels of 24 meters and over in load line length and under 3000 GT should hold the MCA STCW Chief Engineer (Yachts) certification appropriate for the engine capacity, or Merchant Navy Second Engineer or Chief Engineer certification.

yacht engine room

The Chief Engineer Yacht is in charge of the engineering department of a large yacht (Superyacht) and manages the Engineers, Electricians and ETO and has overall responsibility for the engineering department

MCA General Requirements for Chief Engineer Yacht


  • MCA General Requirements for Chief Engineer Yacht
  • Meet the minimum age requirements
  • Complete the minimum period of seagoing service
  • A valid ENG1 (medical fitness certificate) or accepted equivalent
  • Complete the appropriate programs of education and training, meeting the minimum vocational and academic standard
  • Hold applicable ancillary and safety course certificates
  • Pass an oral examination conducted by an MCA examiner

MCA Yacht 4 (Y4) Chief Engineer (STCW III/3) Requirements

  • Be at least 19 years of age
  • Since the age of 16 have completed either - 42 months service as a yacht engineer, with a minimum of 12 months on yachts of 350 kW or more in propulsion power which inclusive of at least 6 months actual seagoing service; OR
  • 12 months service as a yacht engineer, on yachts of 350 kW or more in propulsion power, while holding a yacht MEOL or Merchant Navy MEOL, which includes at least 6 months actual seagoing service; OR
  • 6 months service as a yacht engineer, of 350 kW or more in propulsion power while, holding a Merchant Navy SMEOL, which includes at least 3 months actual seagoing service
  • Successfully complete the MCA-approved modules and pass the corresponding SQA examinations for SQA Marine Diesel Engineering, SQA Auxiliary Equipment, and SQA Operational Procedures, Basic Hotel Services and Ship Construction
  • Hold a MCA approved Yachts Skills training certificate
  • Pass the MCA oral examination for Y4

MCA Yacht 3 (Y3) Chief Engineer (STCW III/3) Requirements

  • Be at least 19 years of age
  • Since the age of 16 have completed either 9 months service as a yacht engineer, on yachts of 350 kW or more in propulsion power, while holding a Yacht 4 Certificate of Competency, which includes at least 3 months actual seagoing service; OR
  • 51 months service as a yacht engineer, of which at least 21 months must be on yachts of 350 kW or more in propulsion power, which includes at least 9 months actual seagoing service
  • Successfully complete the MCA-approved modules and pass the corresponding SQA examinations for Marine Diesel Engineering, Auxiliary Equipment, Operational Procedures, Basic Hotel Services and Ship Construction, and Chief Engineer Statutory and Operational Requirements
  • Hold an MCA-approved Yachts Skills Training Certificate
  • Pass the MCA oral examination for Yacht 3

MCA Yacht 2 (Y2) Chief Engineer (STCW III/2) Requirements

  • Have completed either 24 months service as a yacht engineer, on yachts of 350 kW or more in propulsion power, while holding a Yacht 4 Certificate of Competency, which includes at least 12 months actual seagoing service; OR
  • 15 months service as a yacht engineer, on yachts of 350 kW or more in propulsion power, while holding a Yacht 3 Certificate of Competency, which includes at least 9 months actual seagoing service
  • Successfully complete the MCA-approved modules and pass the corresponding SQA examinations for General Engineering Science (GES) I & II, Applied Marine Engineering, Chief Engineer Statutory and Operational Requirements, and Advanced Hotel Services
  • Pass the MCA oral examination for Yacht 2

MCA Yacht 1 (Y1) Chief Engineer (STCW III/2) Requirements


  • Have completed either 12 months service as a yacht engineer, on motor yachts of 1500 kW or more in propulsion power and at least 500 GT, while holding a Y2 Certificate of Competency; OR
  • 12 months service as a yacht engineer, on sailing yachts of 1500 kW or more in propulsion power and at least 1000 GT, while holding a Y2 Certificate of Competency
  • Pass the MCA oral examination for Yacht 1

MCA Yacht Engineer Restricted CoC – Alternative Route

  • This route is available for candidates who have completed suitable engineering apprenticeships and for those who are qualified engineers
  • Graduate, Higher National Diploma/Certificate (HND/C) holders (in an engineering discipline) that at least covers 2subjects of the following six subjects: Mathematics; Engineering Drawing (mechanical); Applied Mechanics; Applied Heat; Electro-technology and Naval Architecture). The MCA will recognize a graduate level engineering qualification completed from any country, providing the qualification is found comparable to the British bachelor degree standard shown by the UK NARIC.
  • Royal Navy Engineers of British Royal Navy can obtain this CoC. For yacht certification the MCA will recognize naval service from engineers who served in the Australian, New Zealand and South African Navies in the same manner as it does for those who have served as an engineer in the British Royal Navy
  • Those who have completed suitable engineering apprenticeships in UK can obtain this CoC. For yacht certification the MCA will accept engineering apprenticeships from EU countries, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in the same way as it accepts UK apprenticeships, provided the national maritime administration can confirm that the apprenticeship would be accepted for entry to their own Merchant Navy EOOW Certificate of Competency (STCW III/1, unlimited) training program
  • If you intend to follow this route to achieve an MCA yacht restricted Certificate of Competency, you must first apply for a Letter of Initial Assessment (LIA) from the Seafarer Training and Certification Branch.
  • You will be able to progress through the yacht Certificate of Competency structure as a Marine Engineer Officer after completing the required training, education and yacht service outlined in your Letter of Initial Assessment

MCA Non STCW Certification

  • Approved Engine Course (AEC): This certificate is issued directly by MCA-approved training providers. The training is a prerequisite to obtaining a Marine Engine Operators License (MEOL) for yachts. This certificate can be used on small yachts
  • Marine Engine Operators License (MEOL) Yacht: The Marine Engine Operator License (MEOL) is second qualification of the MCA Engineering Officer training scheme. The qualification follows the Approved Engine Course (AEC). To obtain the MEOL, an oral examination is taken whereby applicants will be required to demonstrate familiarity and proficiency in numerous areas of a yacht engine. Yacht engineers with a MEOL qualification can become a chief engineer on any commercial or privately operated yacht and sail-training vessel smaller than 750kw.
  • These certificates are accepted by MCA for UK and If you hold either of these certificates you should check the certification requirements of the local Port State Control Administration prior to entering their jurisdiction.

Ancillary Courses and Safety Training for Chief Engineer Yacht

yacht engineer courses
Table: Ancillary and Safety Course Certification for Chief Engineer Yacht - Credits: MCA

  1. The MCA will accept certificates issued under the authority of any IMO 'White List' country
  2. The MCA will accept certificates issued under the authority of any EU Member State, as well as; Canada, New Zealand and South Africa
  3. Certificates must be MCA approved

Disclaimer: For general information purpose - please check with MCA for the latest requirements and accurate info

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