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MCA Engineer Officers of the Watch (EOOW) Certificate of Competency Requirements for UK Registered Merchant Ships

eoow ship

The Engineer Officers of the Watch (EOOW) is the officer on watch in charge of the main propulsion plant of the ship, and of the associated auxiliaries. They are responsible for the safe and proper operation of such units, and for the performance of the duties prescribed in these regulations and by other competent authority. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) prescribes several routes to acquire the EOOW CoC qualifications.

Candidates can apply for - an MNTB approved Officer Training Program in collaboration with vocational institutions and merchant navy companies in UK or an MCA approved Overseas Collaborative Program (one plus one scheme); or the Experienced Seafarer Program where experiences seafarers can apply directly to an MCA approved nautical college; or through the Alternative Route If you have completed a suitable engineering apprenticeship and/or are a qualified engineer.

eoow ship engine room

The Engineer Officers of the Watch (EOOW) is the officer on watch in charge of the main propulsion plant of the ship, and of the associated auxiliaries

MCA General Requirements for EOOW CoC


  • Meet the minimum age requirement
  • Complete the minimum period of seagoing service
  • A valid ENG1 (medical fitness certificate) or accepted equivalent 
  • Hold applicable ancillary and safety course certificates
  • If applicable, pass an oral examination conducted by MCA
  • If applicable, the Engineering Knowledge written examination and MCA oral examination must be passed within 3 years prior to the date of the issue of your Certificate of Competency
  • The completion of either motor or steam seagoing service, the motor or steam sections of the MNTB TRB, the motor or steam IAMI written examinations and the MCA motor or steam oral examination will determine the type of ship you will be permitted to work on

MCA Engineer Officers of the Watch (EOOW) Unlimited (STCW III/1) Requirements - MNTB Route

MNTB Approved Officer Training Program or Overseas Collaborative Program Route

  • Since the age of 16, have completed 12 months combined seagoing service and workshop skills training. This must include a minimum of 6 months seagoing service engaged in watchkeeping or Unmanned Machinery Space (UMS) duties and 3 months’ workshop skills training.
  • Successfully complete approved education and training program, meeting the standards of competency specified in section A-III/1 of the STCW Code
  • Seagoing service must be completed on merchant ships of at least 750 kW and include onboard training that meets the requirements of section A-III/1 of the STCW Code. This training must be documented in an approved MNTB Training Record Book (TRB) and its associated workbook.
  • The remaining 3 months combined workshop skills and seagoing service can be made up of either - 1 month MCA-approved laboratory time and 2 months combined seagoing service and/or industrial training; or 3 months seagoing service; or 3 months combined approved workshop and/or industrial training.
  • Pass the IAMI EOOW written examinations at an approved centre in the following subjects - Engineering Knowledge sections (General & Motor and/or steam). If you successfully complete an MNTB Foundation Degree/ Scottish Professional Diploma you will be exempt from all of the IAMI Engineering Knowledge written examinations.
  • Pass the MCA oral examination ‘STCW Reg - III/1 Engineer Officer of the Watch motor and/or steam’

Combined Motor Ship and Steam Ship EOOW Certificate of Competency

  • Completion of 4 months watchkeeping or UMS duties on each type of ship (motor and steam)
  • Completion of both the motor and steam sections of the TRB and its associated workbook;
  • If you have not completed the Foundation Degree, pass both the motor and steam sections of the IAMI EOOW Engineering Knowledge examination
  • Passing the combined MCA oral examination ‘STCW Reg - III/1 Engineer Officer of the Watch motor and steam’

Additional Endorsement for Motor Ships or Steam Ships

  • Complete at least 4 months watchkeeping or UMS duties as a trainee/junior engineer officer under the supervision of qualified engineer officers, on the type of ship for which you do not hold an endorsement
  • Complete the motor or steam sections of the TRB (whichever one you do not currently hold an endorsement in)
  •  If you have not completed the Foundation Degree, pass the IAMI EOOW Engineering Knowledge motor or steam examination (whichever one you do not currently hold an endorsement in)
  • Pass the MCA oral examination in motor or steam EOOW (whichever one you do not currently hold an endorsement in)

MCA Engineer Officers of the Watch (EOOW) Unlimited (STCW III/1) Requirements - Experienced Seafarer Route

Basic Eligibility

  • Have completed 24 months seagoing service on merchant ships of at least 350 kW
  • Hold either - An Engine Watch Rating Certificate STCW regulation III/4 OR a Marine Engine Operator Licence (MEOL) OR a Senior Marine Engine Operator Licence (SMEOL)
  • If you meet the above requirements and are accepted by a UK nautical college you will then undertake the experienced seafarer route

Eligibility Requirements for MCA Exam

  • Completed 33 months’ approved seagoing service in an engine department, which includes - 9 months seagoing service in merchant ships of at least 750 kW, which includes 6 months’ engaged in watchkeeping or UMS duties
  • Completed an MNTB Training Record Book (TRB)
  • Completed a workbook supporting your TRB
  • Evidence of acceptance (college letter) to an approved training and education program meeting the standards specified in section A-III/1 of the STCW Code

Exemptions from Examinations

  • If you hold engineering qualifications (degree, HND/HNC or equivalent) completed in the UK or an EU member state, you may apply for an exemption from the academic subjects only. The modules of your engineering programme must show a match of at least 70% with the IAMI syllabus and you must secure at least 50% pass marks in the respective modules.

EOOW Unlimited III/1 Certificate of Competency Requirements

  • Since the age of 16, have obtained 36 months combined seagoing service (in the engine room) and workshop skills training and this must include –
  • Seagoing service of not less than 24 months in merchant ships of at least 350 kW; a further 9 months seagoing service on merchant ships of at least 750 kW, which includes onboard training that meets the requirements of section A-III/1 of the STCW Code and is documented in an approved MNTB Training Record Book (TRB) and its associated workbook; and months approved workshop skills training
  • Successfully complete approved education and training program, meeting the standards of competency specified in section A-III/1 of the STCW Code
  • Pass the IAMI EOOW written examinations at an approved centre in the following subjects - Engineering Knowledge sections (General, Motor and/or steam, & Control Engineering)
  • Pass MCA the oral examination ‘STCW Reg - III/1 Engineer Officer of the Watch’

MCA Engineer Officers of the Watch (EOOW) Unlimited (STCW III/1) Requirements - Alternative Route

Basic Eligibility


  • If you have completed a suitable engineering qualification and/or work based apprenticeship, you may apply through the alternative route. This will include -
  • Graduates or Higher National Diploma (HND)/Higher National Certificate (HNC) holders in Mechanical or Marine Engineering, or in an engineering subject that covers at least four of the following 6 subjects: Mathematics, Engineering Drawing, Applied Mechanics, Applied Heat, Electrotechnology and Naval Architecture)
  • Suitable engineering apprenticeship (NVQ level 3 or above) holders
  • For any qualification gained outside the UK, you must obtain a NARIC letter confirming comparable standard of your qualification to a UK equivalent. HND, HNC and NVQ qualifications will be only accepted if gained from an EU state
  • For Graduates or Higher National Diploma (HND)/Higher National Certificate (HNC) holders to be eligible for entry onto this program at least four of the 6 academic subjects: Mathematics, Engineering Drawing, Applied Heat, Applied Mechanics, Naval Architecture and Electro-technology must be covered by your previous qualification
  • Suitable engineering apprenticeship (NVQ level 3 or above) will be assessed by the college to ensure they cover experience, training and qualification levels relevant to a Marine Engineering qualification
  • If you are eligible to enter onto this program you will need to apply directly to an MCA approved nautical college
  • You can progress through the MCA Certificate of Competency structure by completing the required training, education and seagoing service specified in your Letter of Initial Assessment. You should submit a copy of your LIA with every application you make for a Certificate of Competency.

Exemptions from Examinations

  • If you hold a relevant engineering qualifications (degree, HND/HNC or equivalent) you may be eligible for exemptions from - General Engineering Science A & B course and examination & Control Engineering Section of the Engineering Knowledge examination.
  • If your degree, HND/HNC or equivalent was in Electro Mechanical Engineering, Mechanical or Marine Engineering you will be exempt from General Engineering Science A & B and Control Engineering providing it was covered in the program.
  • For other engineering qualifications (degree, HND/HNC or equivalent) IAMI will map across the syllabus to see if you are eligible for these exemptions.
  • If you have completed a suitable engineering apprenticeship (NVQ level 3 or above) you will need to complete all the academic subject course and examinations (General Engineering Science A & B).
  • If you completed workshop skills training as part of your apprenticeship you may be exempt from completing this to gain your first CoC.
  • If you wish to complete further workshop skills training to count toward the issue of your CoC, it must be completed in relevant areas not previously covered by your training.
  • If you believe your engineering apprenticeship (NVQ level 3 or above) covered the requirements for General Engineering Science A & B and/or the Control Engineering Section of the Engineering Knowledge examination, you may apply to IAMI for exemptions

EOOW Ancillary and Safety Course Requirements

eoow courses certificates required
Table: Ancillary and Safety Course Certification for EOOW - 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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