Becoming a Superyacht Engineer

The question I most commonly get asked by those looking to join the industry as a superyacht engineer is, where do I start?

Got an engineering degree or mechanical experience?

If you are coming directly from an engineering related degree or mechanical background, the route is fairly straightforward. Once you’ve done the statutory STCW & ENG1 medical, you can take the 5-day entry level Approved Engine Course (AEC). Then, with further experience and sea time, you can continue to work your way through the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) engineering qualifications; MEOL (Marine Engine Operator License), Yacht 4, Y3, Y2 and Y1, or alternatively further down the line branch off and complete the newly launched Small Vessel qualification, as eventually the Yacht courses are due to be phased out.

If you have a commercial background…

For those coming from a commercial background, having perhaps completed a cadetship, you’d most likely be joining the industry with your Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW) already under your belt, or even your 2nd Engineer Unlimited. These qualifications give you access to the larger superyachts and you’d typically look at joining the industry as a 2nd or 3rd Engineer, depending on the ticket you hold and the size of the yacht.

Research the industry.

Some people I speak to have done hours and hours of research, or have friends or relatives in the industry and have heard all the stories and are fully aware of the pros and cons of yachtie life. Others have heard about the glitz and glamour of the industry and promises of attractive salaries, great rotation & exciting travelling itineraries, but are unaware of the reality of the long hours, fast pace with quick turnarounds, and owners/guests with sometimes near-impossible demands. There’s lots of information out there for crew looking to join yachting, and crew agents or the yachting community on Facebook can be an excellent source for advice.

Start networking.

Regardless of the route you’re taking to enter the industry, the best possible way to get started is to have conversations and get yourself known. Develop relationships with crew agents, and if financially viable, get yourself to Antibes or Palma at the start of the summer season (April/May) to do some dockwalking and a spot of networking.

Our Where to Land a Yachting Job blog will give you some good advice for where to base yourself. Dockwalking is a great way to get yourself out there, have conversations with the crew onboard and snap up any opportunity for some day work to build that experience. Make sure you look the part, show that you’re a team player and have a great work ethic so that you impress them and leave with a good reference contact. Check out our How to Win at Dockwalking blog for some further tips.



Featured image credit: superyachttechnology.com


Sam started her career in recruitment, eventually managing a team of 4 consultants. She left to join Cobham plc, a FTSE 250 technology and engineering firm, which has a large maritime sector (inc. SeaTel and Thrane & Thrane). During her time there she was promoted multiple times before heading up Internal & Corporate Communications. Sam’s husband is a former yachtie and now a commercial Captain, which gives her a unique perspective on the industry. Sam looks after all the engineering roles for Quay Crew.

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