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A Chief Engineer is one of the most important crew required for a yacht, responsible for all engineering operations onboard and is the senior advisor to the Captain on all matters related to the condition and serviceability of the vessel. This can include the operation, maintenance and repair of all mechanical, electrical, electronic, hydraulic, pneumatic and structural systems found onboard a motor yacht. A Chief Engineer also plays an essential role in ensuring the vessel passes any relevant flag state, port state or P&I club surveys and inspections.

Read on for the essential qualifications and requirements to fulfil this superyacht crew role.


There are two main entry routes to becoming a Chief Engineer on a superyacht. This can be entering from commercial shipping or working through yacht-based certification routes. The commercial shipping route to becoming superyacht crew often begins with a sponsored cadetship with a shipping company working in partnership with a maritime training provider. This usually includes three years of study and work experience on the sponsored companies’ vessels, achieving an ‘EOOW’ ticket and usually an HND or BSc Degree in Marine Engineering.

Once granted, superyacht crew can be considered suitably qualified and experienced for 3rd engineer roles on vessels over 3000 GT, gaining the necessary skills to become a Chief Engineer on the world’s largest superyachts.



Should individuals not choose the commercial shipping route of training for the superyacht crew role of a Chief Engineer, a yacht certification route can also be accepted. The yacht certification route of training comprises six key certificates. The Approved Engine Course (AEC) is often the minimum for superyacht engineers who wish to work on yachts over 24m LOA.

The Marine Engine Operators Licence (MEOL) is the first certificate obtained in the yacht route that requires sea service, specific shore-based learning and an oral exam.

Following this, crew required for a yacht must undertake what is commonly referred to as the ‘Y Tickets’. Y4 is the first Y Ticket certificate required, allowing engineers to work as Chief Engineers on yachts between 200 and 500GT and up to 1500Kw in propulsive power. Individuals must complete four Y Tickets in order to work on vessels with a larger propulsion power and Gross Tonnage.



To work on the largest superyachts as superyacht crew, Chief Engineers should have at least ten years engineering experience and a minimum of a MCA Y1 – Y2 level licence based on vessel requirements. On smaller to mid-sized yachts, this may be a solo position which requires at least five years of experience in engineering roles and a MCA Y2 – Y4 level licence.

Crew management

A Chief Engineer will typically be required to manage teams of up to 15 people in a very fast-paced and demanding environment, so experience in roles that require leadership, management and training is integral for crew required on a yacht. Of course, when a motor yacht is at sea, a whole new set of challenges and risks arise. With high expectations from the Captain and superyacht charter guests, a Chief Engineer must ensure that their superyacht crew keeps all systems working smoothly to minimise or eliminate cruising delays and negative impacts to the itinerary.

Additional skills


It is highly desirable for a Chief Engineer to possess exceptional organisational skills in order to carry out preventative and explorative maintenance before failures occur. Project management, resource allocation and time management are also required, as well as advanced and diverse technical ability. It is also advantageous for superyacht crew to be proficient in software programming in order to implement a systematic approach to planned and preventative maintenance and any record failures and repairs should they occur.

It is without question that a superyacht crew recruiter will help find you a highly qualified and experienced Chief Engineer, as well as offering a seamless yacht crew recruitment process from start to finish.