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The Chief Engineer position is the highest engineering position on board a yacht and it is of paramount importance to the entire operation of a yacht.
The Chief Engineer reports directly to the Captain and is responsible for the safe and efficient running of the yacht. They are in charge of the overall mechanical and electrical systems onboard and instructing and overseeing the Engine Room Team.
Depending on the size of the yacht, the Chief Engineer either manages a team of Engineers or works as a Sole Engineer on board. On smaller to mid-sized yachts, they require strong multi-tasking skills and are well-versed in all areas — mechanical, electrical, AV/IT and possess good time management and organization skills. On larger yachts there are several Engineers reporting to the Chief Engineer so leadership, management, and training are also integral to this position.
What Does a Yacht Chief Engineer do? | Yacht Chief Engineer Job Description
Chief Engineers have sole responsibility on smaller yachts and manage their team on larger yachts to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the main propulsion and all auxiliary systems on board, including deck machinery, tenders and toys, and all hotel services.
They are responsible for the Implementation of the Safety Management System procedures and requirements on board and compliance with all relevant regulations, annual flag surveys, annual class surveys and port state controls.
On smaller yachts, the Chief Engineer might also be required to assist on deck, particularly in docking, undocking and anchoring operations.
The responsibilities of a Chief Engineer include:
Daily maintenance of the main propulsion and all auxiliary systems on board including deck machinery, tenders and toys and all hotel services
Maintenance of all safety, firefighting and environmental-related equipment and devices
Identify critical systems, testing and maintenance requirements and maintain a planned maintenance system
Managing bunkering operations
Ensure that the yacht has at all times sufficient fuel, lubrication oil and water on board for its intended voyage together with an adequate safety margin
Implementation of the Safety Management System procedures
Maintain appropriate records, including records of all maintenance planned and unplanned, accidents, incidents and requirements of MARPOL including the Oil Record Book, Engine Room Log Book and any others as required by Flag and Class
Inventory management for the Engineering Department
Ensure the correct manning levels of Engine Room watches (alongside or at sea)
Ensure the team participates in the Safety and Security training and drills on board
Ensure the yacht passes annual flag surveys, annual class surveys and port state controls
Budgeting and accounting for the Engineering Department
Arranging and managing external contractor visits
Effectively plan major repairs
Oversee shipyard periods and ensure all the systems have been maintained properly
Soft and hard skills required to be a Chief Engineer
The Chief Engineer position carries a lot of responsibility so it requires extensive experience, knowledge and the following attributes.
The skills of a Chief Engineer include:
Advanced knowledge of all systems onboard
Extensive and diverse technical ability
Skills in project management, resource allocation and time management
Skills in preventative maintenance and troubleshooting
Ability to manage and supervise projects and contractors
Ability to manage and develop a team
Excellent problem-solving skills
Ability to prioritize and organize
Accounting and budgeting knowledge
Mandatory certificates needed to work on board a yacht
All crew members regardless of position and seniority need to have a valid STCW Basic Safety Training certificate, along with a recognised Seafarers medical certificate, the most popular being the ENG1 which is issued by an MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) professional medic.
Without these two certificates, it is not possible for crew to work on board a yacht and a Recruiter will not be able to assist you in finding work onboard a yacht. For more information about mandatory certificates please visit our Mandatory Certificates Guide.
Are you ready to secure a Chief Engineer position on board a yacht?
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Each of our recruiters is specialised in crew placement for a particular department and they will do their best to get you an interview on board a yacht. They will also advise you on how to best present your experience and skills and prepare for a yacht job interview.