The Chief Engineer is the person ultimately responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the owner’s yacht or superyacht. It is up to them to ensure the vessel’s systems are in full working order, along with the organisation and management of the ship’s engineering team.
They typically possess expert engineering knowledge for each of the systems onboard and hold an ability to effectively project manage both planned and reactive ship repairs and maintenance. On larger vessels Chief Engineers will typically need to manage, train and communicate with an entire team of engineers, whereas they may be the sole engineer on smaller yachts – requiring the ability to multi-task and self-manage their time efficiently, in order to ensure no work falls behind schedule.
- Maintain, protect and resolve any issues with all onboard systems
- Plan, organise and undertake planned maintenance to route out potential issues
- Keep the vessel in good condition
- Educate the crew on how to use equipment
- Educate the crew on safety procedures
- Regularly communicate with the Captain on the upkeep of the ship
- Keep stock of engineering inventory
- Plan out a repairs and maintenance schedule
- Necessary qualifications
- Knowledge of all onboard systems
- Ability to diagnose and resolve engineering issues
- Experience with asset management systems is highly beneficial on modern vessels
- Ability to allocate and manage engineering resources
- Ability to project manage repairs and maintenance
- Ability to train junior engineering staff
How much does a Chief Engineer earn?
Whilst there are multitude of factors that play into the earnings of a Chief Engineer, the industry average starts at around 5000 EUR a month.
The qualification required depends on the power of the main engines onboard, and also whether the yacht is commercially registered or private. For the largest yachts in the world, which are normally over 90 metres in length, individuals will require a Chief Engineer Unlimited license. For the majority of yachts, a Yacht 1 or SV Chief Engineer license will be sufficient. American flagged yachts will accept USCG licenses, but for the most part MCA recognised qualifications are the most desirable. For yachts below 3000 kW, the following qualifications may be acceptable:
- 2nd Engineer Unlimited (III/2)
- Yacht 2
- Chief Engineer SV <500GT & <3000kW
- Chief Engineer Class 3 III/3
- Yacht 3
- Second Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW CoC
- Yacht 4
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