In the previous article, we discussed the Experienced Seafarer Route and becoming an SV Engineer Officer of the Watch (<3000 GT, <9000kW). In this article, we will take a step further and understand how to become an SV Chief Engineer via the Experienced Seafarer Route in South Africa

The Experienced Seafarer Route for Yacht SV Chief Engineer in South Africa

Considering you have the SV EOOW (<3000 GT, <9000kW), you are qualified to take a step further. Your next obvious goal is to get the SV Chief Engineer Qualification. 

There are two types of SV Chief Engineer qualifications:

  • Chief Engineer for <500 GT vessels up to 3000kW propulsion power; and
  • Chief Engineer for <3000 GT vessels up to 9000kW propulsion power.

So, how do you get that? Before understanding that, a couple of notes.

First. This article is NOT for the Unlimited Engineer Officer qualifications via the Experienced Seafarer Route. We are only focusing on SV Chief Engineer positions for vessels of up to 3000 GT with 9000kW engine propulsion power.

Secondly, regardless of having a yacht-restricted EOOW, the process of getting the SV Chief Engineer qualification remains the same.

Now, let’s dive into it.

a. The Small Vessel Chief Engineer for <500 GT / <3000kW Vessels

Once you have your SV Engineer OOW, you may aim for either of the SV Chief Engineer qualifications. Depending on your career goals, you may go for this qualification, or you can directly go for the <500 GT / <3000kW SV Chief Engineer Qualification.

However, let’s talk about that later.

To become an SV Chief Engineer on <500 GT / <3000kW yachts, you must fulfil the following.

  • 6 Months of Sea Service as SV EOOW Engineer on vessels of at least 350kW. This includes at least 4 months of seagoing service on a travelling vessel.

Once you have the sea service logged in, you may submit your documents for verification. Upon successful verification, MCA may issue you a Notice of Eligibility (NOE). While waiting for your NOE, you can complete MCA-approved modules and pass related written exams for the following. This is mandatory.

  • Chief Engineer Statutory and Operational Requirements;
  • Auxiliary Equipment Part 2.

You must also complete applicable ancillary and safety course certificates as per Section 6 of MSN 1904.

Once you finish all the applicable courses and the respective written exams, you are eligible for the MCA Oral Examination.

Upon successful passing, you will receive your SV Chief Engineer qualification for vessels of <500 GT with <3000kW propulsion power.

b. The Small Vessel Chief Engineer for <3000 GT and 9000kW Vessels

As mentioned previously, there are two ways to go for this qualification. However, generally, it is highly recommended to go for the SV Chief Engineer (<3000 GT, 9000kW) qualification directly as it saves time.

To appear for the MCA oral exam, you must fulfil the following prerequisites.

  • 12 months of onboard yacht service on vessels of minimum 350kW propulsion power as SV EOOW or SV Chief Engineer (if applicable). This includes a minimum of 8 months of seagoing service, in which 4 months must be completed on vessels of >750kW propulsion power.

Once you have verified the seagoing time, you may apply for the MCA Notice of Eligibility. While waiting for the NOE, you must complete the following modules and corresponding written exams.

Also, you must complete applicable ancillary and safety course certificates as per Section 6 of MSN 1904 (may be optional for SV Chief Engineer <500GT, <3000 kW holders).

Now, you may appear for the MCA Oral Examination. Upon successful passing, you shall receive your SV Chief Engineer for Vessels of <9000 GT and <9000kW propulsion power.


The Experienced Seafarer Route brings a unique opportunity to build practical experience for becoming an SV Chief Engineer in South Africa. While it is a path of hardships, the practical knowledge you gain will prove substantially useful to your career.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is directly taken from the MCA Notice MIN 642. This article is not endorsed by the MCA or any other relevant legal authority. We are not responsible for the actions inspired by the information presented in this article. We insist you conduct thorough research prior to taking any action.

If you have stumbled across this article, we highly recommend reading the previous article first. Also, if you are looking for STCW, ENG1 medical certification, or RYA Powerboat Level 2 license courses, feel free to connect with us today.