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On a merchant ship all time spent on board counts as sea time, however the MCA recognises that yachts spend a lot of time tied up alongside on shore power, with very little machinery actually running. The qualifying service period is therefore broken into two distinct categories: 

Sea time: a period spent at sea with main machinery running (anchorage counts) and yacht service: time spent on board in charge of the engine room.

You must ensure that your service testimonial clearly differentiates between them!

The MCA will, in some cases, accept up to three months in a repair yard as yacht service. This is dependent upon the candidate being able to prove that there was a significant amount of engineering work taking place and that they were actively engaged with it.


It is highly recommended that you do not leave the merchant navy (MN) until you have obtained your Class 2 CoC, as this will allow you to reassess your career choice at any point from position of strength. With a Class 2 CoC you only require six months’ yacht service to enable you to sit a Y1 oral examination. Many owners are beginning to recognise that MN officers have undergone a much more robust training regime than yacht engineers and are prepared to pay a premium for this. The large yachts, because of their tonnage and engine size, can only employ engineers with a full MN CoC, however not all MN personnel are considered suitable for superyachts: they generally prefer to recruit staff with the social skills obtained from serving on cruise ships. (tattoos and piercings are a definite no) NOTE: do not fall foul of the difference between sea time and yacht service when going for a superior qualification.


The yacht engineering skills test is carried out in our engineering workshop and is normally completed in less than five days. It gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your fitting skills. There will be instructors in the workshop to give you guidance; they are not supposed to give you any tuition.

Before attempting the test you should be able to complete the following tasks:

  • Be able to mark out, drill, hacksaw and file some test pieces from a drawing to a reasonable tolerance, finishing off with 90 degree edges
  • Manufacture from a blank a drive key for a shaft and coupling
  • Dismantle and overhaul the following:
    • SDNR valve
    • Centrifugal pump
    • Squirrel cage motor
    • There is no welding involved; this topic has been removed from the syllabus.

We have an enthusiastic and dedicated team of lecturers consisting of Master Mariners, Chief Engineers, naval architects and maritime lawyers, including an ex-DNV surveyor and an ex-MCA senior examiner. In addition to their expertise they have all achieved a higher qualification in how to teach. Each separate topic in a yacht deck module will be delivered by a subject specialist, which means we are able to deliver you the best teaching currently available anywhere in the world. All of these lecturers are conversant with more than one subject, so sudden illness and other unforeseen circumstances will not impact upon your course delivery.

We operate in a relaxed manner which allows students access to lecturers outside of timetabled sessions to discuss engineering issues relating to their own personal experiences.

Our comprehensive study guides undergo regular updates to cater for changes in legislation and improvements in technology. They are now available as an app for iPads or Android and will automatically be refreshed when notes are updated.

In addition we have an extensive maritime library, with full IT facilities, open until 2100 hrs for students to complete their examination preparation.

Our students enjoy well above industry standard exam pass rates; our aim is to maintain and improve upon this level of achievement.


This is possible but will not be easy! It will involve you spending 540 hours in an engineering workshop to complete the tasks in the MNTB training book. You will probably need to gain seatime on a MN vessel. In addition you may have to pass the four academic modules plus the MCA Engineering Knowledge (Motor Propulsion) Management Level examination.

Before attempting this you should apply for a Letter of Initial Assessment from the MCA so you fully understand the magnitude of this task. If working on the biggest yachts is your ultimate goal then the easiest way of achieving this is via a Merchant Navy engineering cadetship.


Assuming that you already have your Letter of Initial Assessment, you should be looking towards gaining your qualifying sea time before sitting your three Y4 modules, which are:

  • Marine Diesel Engineering
  • Operational Procedures, Basic Hotel Services and Ship Construction
  • Auxiliary Equipment

Before you are permitted to sit a yacht engineering examination you must have attended an MCA recognised training course, gained a course completion certificate and have an in-date ENG1.

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