Small Vessel Engineering CoCs

The MCA have recently launched a new Engineering qualification route for Engineers working on ‘Small Vessels’: Fishing Vessels, Yachts, Tugs, Workboats, Standby, Seismic Survey, Oceanographic Research Vessels and Government Patrol Vessels. This means the CoCs gained through this route will be transferrable between the above industries.

In late 2015 a working group of engineering specialists from around the globe sat around a table with the MCA, to flesh out the requirements for this much needed update to Yacht Engineer training and certification.

A change to the Yacht engineering qualification structure was well overdue, as the Yacht deck training structure had been updated in 2006. It was felt that the written courses required for Y4, Y3 and Y2 were in need of updating and restructuring, to remove content that was no longer relevant, and to redistribute topics between courses, to avoid repetition and overloading of syllabi, in particular Y4 Auxiliary Equipment.

Over a period of time, smaller vessel operators had begun to require more experienced and qualified engineers, and it soon became clear that an all-encompassing qualification was needed, rather than having to design a training structure for several different sectors. The Small Vessel Engineer (SV) qualification route was established to provide education & training for engineers working on vessels <3000gt and <9000kw.

The CoCs available on this new route are:

Second Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW CoC (similar to Y4)

Chief Engineer SV <500GT & <3000kW CoC (similar to Y3/2)

Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW CoC (similar to Y1)

Unfortunately, as with all major upheavals, there have been some creases to be ironed out of the new system. MIN 524 was published in July 2016, with all of the relevant information about these new SV CoCs. Subsequently, some changes needed to be made, so MIN 565 was published in August 2017 and should now be read in conjunction with MIN 524. However, both of these documents still require additional changes, and we await their publication, which is imminent as of June 2018.

This has caused some confusion and rumours in the yachting industry, leading to frustration for some engineers. We would like to set some of the rumours straight.

Firstly, the Yacht CoCs – Y4, Y3, Y2 & Y1 – will remain available until 2021. MEOL (Y) will remain in place after the Yacht CoCs are phased out.

This means that if you’re on the path towards any of the Yacht CoCs, you can complete your courses and seatime as usual, with only a few tweaks.

For candidates who are planning on obtaining a Y4 CoC, it should be noted that from 31st July 2018 the Y4 written courses will cease to be available. If you already hold a pass certificate for any of the Y4 courses, they are valid for 3 years from date of issue, you just won’t be able to sit the course and exam any more. They will be replaced by their SV equivalents:

SV Marine Diesel Engineering

SV Operational Procedures & Basic Hotel Services

SV Auxiliary Equipment I.

If you have failed any of the Y4 written exams, you will be able to re-sit the SV version of the exam based on your Y4 course completion certificate. This means you don’t need to do the SV version of the course again.

When it comes time for you to move on to Y3, if you did the SV Aux Equipment I course at Y4 level you will need to do the SV Auxiliary Equipment II course for Y3. If you did the Y4 Aux Equipment, this is not necessary.

You can move on from Y3 to Y2 as usual. There was a short period of time when training providers believed that the Y3 and Y2 written modules would also be replaced by their SV counterparts, but this is no longer the case. If you completed SV Aux Equipment I & II for Y4/3, you will not need to complete the Y2 Advanced Hotel Services course, as the Aux I & II courses cover the topics on the syllabus for this course. If you did Y4 Aux Equipment, you will need to do the Y2 Advanced Hotel Services course.

Many yacht engineers ask us if they should convert their current Yacht CoC to an SV CoC.

For those who already hold a CoC, there are conversions listed in MIN 524. Starting with Conversion A1 (converting Y4 to 2nd Eng SV) going all the way through to Conversion R (converting a Merchant Navy 2nd Engineer Unlimited to Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW) and covering Tugs, Fishing and Merchant Navy on the way.

The Yacht CoC conversions are:

A1 – Y4 to Second Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW CoC

A2 – Y4 to Chief Engineer SV <500GT & <3000kW CoC

A3 – Y4 to Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW CoC (this conversion should be approached with caution, as it is essentially converting a Y4 straight to a Y1)

B – Y3 to Chief Engineer SV <500GT & <3000kW CoC

C – Y3 to Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW CoC (this too is a big leap in knowledge and experience required)

D – Y2 to Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW CoC

E – Y1 to Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW CoC

Some of these conversions are a straight swap, but many require courses and oral exams, but it’s all plainly laid out in MIN 524. The main point you need to know is that the written modules and exams are different from the Yacht ones, even though they all have the same names. So if you were going to convert your Y3 to an SV Chief CoC, you would need to do the SV version of the Applied Marine Engineering course, and so on.

The only course that is the same across the board is the General Science I & II, as this is the Merchant Navy one that all sectors are required to do.

There was a time when Y3 CoC holders wanted to convert to the SV Chief CoCs, but none of the training providers had received MCA accreditation to run the SV courses. The MCA agreed to accept Y2 Applied Marine Engineering in lieu of the SV course for a short time but this is no longer the case, as the courses are now readily available.

For those trying to decide whether to convert their Yacht CoC to an SV CoC – you do not have to convert to the SV CoC unless you need it to work on a workboat/fishing vessel etc. If you work on yachts then you can continue along the Y route until these CoCs are phased out in 2021. Even when the MCA cease issuing Y CoCs you will still be able to get yours endorsed every 5 years, and it will still be a recognised CoC. You can convert at any time, there is no need to rush into a conversion unless you see yourself leaving yachting.

There is also a possibility that due to differences in actual sea time requirements, Yacht to SV CoC conversions may be restricted to yachts only, therefore we would recommend that you stick with the Yacht CoC route until the revision to MIN 524 is published.

 

Converting from a Yacht CoC to a Small Vessel CoC

The different ways to convert your Yacht CoC to an SV CoC are laid out in detail in MIN 524, but we have listed the basics for you here:

If you hold a Y4 CoC;

Conversion A1 – converting Y4 to 2nd Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW

whilst holding a Y4 CoC, complete 6 months SEA service on yachts of at least 350kW or take the 2nd Engineer SV oral exam.

Conversion A2 – converting Y4 to Chief Engineer SV <500GT & <3000kW

whilst holding a Y4 CoC, complete 6 months SEA service on yachts of at least 350kW.

successfully complete the SV Statutory & Operational Requirements module

complete the Human Element Leadership & Management (Management Level) course

pass the oral exam for Chief Engineer SV <500GT & <3000kW.

NOTE: This conversion is equivalent to upgrading Y4 to Y2 – there is a requirement for deeper knowledge of refrigeration, electrical & other subjects that would normally have been covered in either Y2 Advanced Hotel Services or SV Auxiliary Equipment II.

Conversion A3 – converting Y4 to Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW

whilst holding a Y4 CoC, complete 6 months SEA service on yachts of at least 350kW, including a minimum of 3 months service on yachts of 750kW or more

successfully complete the SV Statutory & Operational Requirements, SV Applied Marine Engineering & General Science I & II modules

complete the Human Element Leadership & Management (Management Level) course

pass the oral exam for Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW.

NOTE: This conversion is equivalent to upgrading Y4 to Y1, therefore we strongly advise that you only continue along this route if you feel you have adequate experience – there is a requirement for deeper knowledge of refrigeration, electrical & other subjects that would normally have been covered in either Y2 Advanced Hotel Services or SV Auxiliary Equipment II.

If you hold a Y3 CoC;

Conversion B – converting Y3 to Chief Engineer SV <500GT & <3000kW

this is a direct conversion, with no service requirements, however you must complete the Human Element Leadership & Management (Management Level) course

Conversion C – converting Y3 to Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW

whilst holding a Y4 CoC, complete 6 months SEA service, or whilst holding a Y3 CoC, complete 3 months SEA service.

successfully complete the SV Applied Marine Engineering & General Science I & II modules

complete the Human Element Leadership & Management (Management Level) course

pass the oral exam for Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW.

NOTE: This conversion is equivalent to upgrading Y3 to Y1 – there is a requirement for deeper knowledge of refrigeration, electrical & other subjects that would normally have been covered in either Y2 Advanced Hotel Services or SV Auxiliary Equipment II.

If you hold a Y2 CoC;

Conversion D – converting Y2 to Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW

whilst holding a Y2 CoC, complete 3 months SEA service on yachts of at least 750kW

complete the Human Element Leadership & Management (Management Level) course (if you gained your Y2 CoC before HELM M was a requirement)

pass the oral exam for Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW.

If you hold a Y1 CoC;

Conversion E – converting Y1 to Chief Engineer SV <3000GT & <9000kW

this is a direct conversion, with no courses or service requirements, however you must complete the Human Element Leadership & Management (Management Level) course if you gained your Y1 CoC before HELM M was a requirement.

 

Guidance for those who do not already hold a Yacht CoC

If you do not currently hold a CoC, and feel that you would rather work towards the SV Second Engineer <3000GT & <9000kW CoC instead of a Y4, you will need to go down the ‘experienced seafarer route’ detailed in MIN 524, in section 3.4. This is based on you already having some seatime under your belt.

In short, you need:

  • 24 months sea service on vessels of at least 200kw
  • Then you will need to speak to a training provider to get the Training Record Book (Click here to see details of the training record book.)
  • Once you have the TRB you need to complete a further 11 months of sea service on vessels of 350kw, including at least 6 months engaged in watchkeeping or UMS (Unmanned Machinery Spaces) duties (totalling 36 months of ACTUAL sea service)
  • AEC I & II (AEC I is the course that is currently run as just ‘AEC’ by most training providers, so if you already have AEC, you just need to do AEC II)
  • Basic Safety Certs (PST, PSSR, Elementary First Aid, Basic Fire Fighting – all less than 5 years old, or refreshed)
  • Advanced Safety Certs (PSC & RB or Advanced Sea Survival, Advanced Fire Fighting, Medical First Aid – all less than 5 years old, or refreshed)
  • SV Marine Diesel Engineering
  • SV Auxiliary Equipment part I
  • SV Operational Procedures & Basic Hotel Services
  • 2 weeks Workshop Skills Training (similar to the Skills Test that is currently required for Y4, but 2 weeks instead of 1)
  • EITHER another 2 weeks sea service on vessels of 350kw OR another 2 weeks of Workshop Skills Training
  • HELM O
  • ENG1
  • Oral Exam

 

(Note: MIN524 paragraph 3.5.4 allows for previous experience and qualifications to be assessed for exemption for AEC I & II and Workshop Training. IAMI, in consultation with the MCA, have set up a service for assessing qualifications and training for these assessments. This can be accessed at iamiexemption.aec.workshop@hotmail.co.uk)

Depending on how much service you already have, it may be easier for you to do the Y4, then convert to the SV route at a later date. Conversion A1 in the M Notice details this – you can convert to 2nd Engineer SV with either 6 months sea service holding Y4, or just do an oral exam.

The service requirements for Y4 CoC are 42 months yacht service with 6 months sea service – that’s 3.5 years. The service requirement for the 2nd Eng SV CoC is 36 months ACTUAL sea service, which will take the average yacht engineer about 5/6 years to accumulate, depending on the yacht they work on.

The MCA understand that seafarers serving on yachts would face difficulties in completing this amount of sea service, and have made provision for this, stating that sea service performed on yachts will be counted as 1.5 times the number of days actually spent underway e.g. 8 months yacht sea service would be counted as 8 X 1.5 = 12 months sea service.

Also, you are able to claim 3 months or 25% (whichever is least) of the required sea service for your service in shipyards, repair berth, anchorage and at lay-up.

This does cut down the length of time it will take to get an SV 2nd Engineer CoC, but it is still a big difference, and it is much quicker to go for a Y4 CoC.

A proposal was made by the working group to the MCA, to issue a limited SV Second Engineer CoC for yachts, based on ‘on board service’ of 24 months and 6 months ‘actual sea service’ within the requirement of 36 months combined sea service and workshop training. This would get new engineers onto the ladder more quickly than the original SV requirements. Once the CoC (Limited to yachts) was issued this would be upgraded to unlimited once the required ‘actual sea service’ was achieved. This has not yet made it into print, so it is unclear as to whether it will be included in the revisions to MIN 524. It would seem a better bet for new entrants into the CoC system to stick with Y4 for the time being.

While there are still some issues to be ironed out, this new system will eventually be the standard to which everyone must adhere. The working group have worked closely with the MCA to steer the syllabi of each course to ensure that they are as current and suitable as possible.

Click here to see the application form for these CoCs

For further information, or if you have any questions, please email mate@hss.ac.uk