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Royal Navy to superyacht Engineer licence requirements

Switching from Royal Navy to Yachting

What are you waiting for?

If you’re thinking of jumping ship then get in touch with us — we’d be delighted to hear from you! Our dedicated Engineering Specialists Jacqui Young, Marjorie Baillet and Anna Horak will give you advice on how to make the career transition and once they have successfully placed you on board a Super Yacht, they will follow your professional development, help you formulate your goals and will be your Recruitment Partner throughout your yachting career.

Take the plunge now and register online. For more information call Jacqui, Marjorie or Anna directly on +33 (0)492 904 610 (9am-6pm Mon-Thur, 9am-5pm Fri) or email, or with your queries.


To get connected to your dream job, follow these 3 simple steps:

Login or register with YPI CREW

Once registered, you will be assigned one of our specialised recruiters.

Upload your CV and info

Ensure all of your information is up to date so we have everything to land you a new job.

Send a message to our recruiters

Regularly check in with us by clicking the 'Check in' option on your profile.

The essential part — what you need to do to transfer your Royal Navy engineering qualifications to join the Super Yacht industry:

MCA (Maritime Coastal Agency) — Engineering qualifications/licences

Please note specific MCA certificates are required to work on Super Yachts. This is why we would like to hear from you at least 12 months before your release date so that we can organize your plan of action.


The MCA are the governing body for the super yacht industry and the yachts require engineers to hold specific Licences depending on their specification and itinerary.


If you click on the following it will tell you about the entry level qualifications through to the professional and what is involved/required for each licence. MIN 524 (M+F)

Small Vessel

You can apply for the Small Vessel Qualifications which are superseding the Yacht Qualifications as per the following link.

Full article MIN 524 (M+F)

Guidance Notice MIN 524(M+F):

  • III/2 chief engineer <9000kw <3000gt

  • III/3 chief engineer <3000kw <500gt

  • III/2 2nd engineer <9000kw <3000gt

To transfer your Royal Navy engineering qualifications to yachting (Small Vessel), you need to submit a “Letter of Initial Assessment (LIA)”. In principle, you are asking to assess your background and confirm which commercial licence your training is equivalent to.

The MCA will no longer be issuing LIAs for Yacht/Small Vessel licences by the end of the year.  One can now apply for an “Action Plan” directly with MCA approved Nautical Colleges. Please click on the link below:

Nautical Colleges and Yacht Training Providers

NB We have a strong relationship with Warsash Maritime Academy (Solent University Southampton) who have assisted many ex-Royal Navy engineers with relevant courses to transfer to the Super Yacht industry. Please clink on the link below for details about the LIA/Action Plan directly with the college:

Solent University Southampton



MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) exists with the Navy Surface Fleet so the MCA can easily understand terminology and transfer skills accordingly to Small Vessel or Commercial licences.

An MOU does not yet exist for submariners but it is in progress. Keep checking the MCA website for updates.


Guidance Notice MIN 511 (M)

In addition, commercial licences run parallel to this. EOOW is usually the benchmark for qualified Royal Navy engineers holding the RN EOOW.

Letter of Initial Assessment

To transfer your Royal Navy engineering qualifications to yachting, you need to submit a “Letter of Initial Assessment (LIA)” to the MCA. In principle, you are asking them to assess your background and confirm which yachting and commercial licence your training is equivalent to.

Complete MSF 4352 for a letter of initial assessment (LIA)

Or use the search option and type “letter of initial assessment (LIA)”

In brief, one must print off a form — Letter of Initial Assessment, submit all original papers — HND, engineering qualifications, evidence of sea/service time etc and they will come back to you in 6-8 months, hopefully with a “Notice of Eligibility” (NOE) for either of the above certificates.

Please note that each of these certificates requires a certain amount of sea-time which is stated in the MSN & MIN notices.

There are now five STCW basic safety training certificates, some of which you may have from the Navy providing they haven’t expired:

Basic STCW:

  • Personal Survival Techniques

  • Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting

  • Elementary First Aid

  • Personal Safety & Social Responsibilities

  • Proficiency in Security Awareness (or PDSD)

In addition, you will need to take advanced ancillary STCW courses for MEOL and above licences:

Advanced STCW:

  • Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats

  • Training in Advanced Fire Fighting

  • Proficiency in Medical First Aid

  • For SV/EOOW licences and above, you will also need the HELM certificate (Human Element Leadership & Management).

You will also need to obtain a Seafarer’s Medical Certificate. This states that you are fit for work and needs to be renewed every 2 years. (See FAQ’s for details.)

You may want to consider taking both the SV and Commercial oral exams. Certain yachts require commercial licences due to the technical specification so having both licences can open more opportunities.

Contact MCA examiners if you have any queries:

Please note that one can have an exemption for the AEC1 (Approved Engine Course) at the Letter of Initial Assessment stage provided the applicant submits sufficient evidence that they have completed a relevant qualification related to marine diesel engines, they have experience working on marine diesel engines, and experience with the operational maintenance and repair of marine diesel engines. You will need to request an exemption in your covering letter when you submit your LIA application.

If an engineer already has a Letter of Initial Assessment, they may send evidence of the above and they will issue a letter confirming exemption from the AEC1 course.

The MCA are unable to grant exemptions to the MEOL(Y) since this always involves completing a period of sea service, the basic & advanced ancillary safety courses and the MCA oral exam. If you have sufficient sea-time from the Navy, you may be eligible to sit the MEOL oral exam provided you have the 5 x basic STCW and 3 x advanced STCW certs with the Seafarer’s medical certificate.

Recommended training schools / grants:

The costs of the courses may be covered as part of your re-settlement package.

The Slater Fund

The Slater Fund, managed by the Marine Society with Nautilus International, offers Slater Scholarships of up to £18,500, with an additional discretionary £1,500 for completing the programme.

The Fund helps ratings study for the first certificate of competency, and can also help Electro-Technical Officers and yacht crew gain STCW certification.

It was established in 1977 in memory of former MNAOA General Secretary John William Slater. In the past 10 years, more than 1,000 seafarers have benefitted.

Warsash Maritime Academy, Southampton

STCW courses and all SV Engineering qualifications AEC — SV Chief 9000kw & Commercial licences.

John Percival Marine Associates (Hoylake Sailing School), Liverpool

Some STCW and Yacht Engineering qualifications, very good oral exam prep courses.

Oral Prep: Shaun Towers

Ex-head of engineering at Warsash College.  Based in Southampton area but offers oral prep via skype: 

Mobile: +44 (0)7974962014


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