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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 a yacht and instructing and overseeing the Engine Room Staff.


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 successful 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

  • Multi-tasking ability

  • Accounting and budgeting knowledge




Mandatory certificates needed to work on board a yacht 


All crew members regardless of their position and seniority need to have a valid STCW Basic Safety Training certificate, along with a recognized Seafarer's 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 the 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 yacht Chief Engineer position onboard a yacht?


Become a member of YPI CREW through free registration and let us guide you through your job search.


Each of our recruiters is specialised in crew placement for their respective departments and they will do their best to get you an interview onboard a yacht. They will also advise you on how to best present your experience and skills and prepare for a yacht job interview.

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Chief Engineer jobs

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.

Chief Engineer Yacht Jobs, Superyacht Chief Engineer Jobs

Photo of Chief Engineer Ruairidh Macrae

Jacqui Young, Head of Engineering Department, YPI CREW Yacht Crew Agency

Jacqui Young

Head of Engineering Department

Marjorie Baillet, Engineering Recruitment Specialist, YPI CREW Yacht Crew Agency

Marjorie Baillet

Engineering Recruitment Specialist

Anna Horak, Engineering Recruitment Specialist, YPI CREW Yacht Crew Agency

Anna Horak

Engineering Recruitment Specialist