The ENG1 is known as a relatively quick and unobtrusive examination, compulsory for anyone wishing to work on board a yacht. Its purpose is to establish whether a crewmember has any medical conditions that might cause him or her to be unable to perform certain duties at sea. It is relatively simple process, but one that can sometimes be subject to significant variations and deception, which crew should be aware of.
“I had my ENG1 for years with the same guy who is ranked highly by the MCA,” explains Liam Dobbin, managing director of Wilsonhalligan Yacht Recruitment. “He was never very detailed but experienced; a quick chat and a stamp and I had an ENG1. I then used someone else in Southampton and the service was far different. The same in essence but more detailed with examining my hearing, reflexes, teeth, sight and overall body.”
UKSA recommends that their students obtain the ENG1 prior to training, but are happy to advise them on issues that sometimes arise. “The comments from our students provide us with anecdotal evidence that, while many pass the ENG1 without issue, occasionally issues arise regarding the consistency of the testing and passes or fails because of this,” says UKSA's Morgan Strange. “Some students say they have experienced stringent appointments that have a lasted a few hours, while others claim to have been in and out of an appointment within a matter of minutes.”
“Like with anything you have the good and the bad,” Dobbin adds. “We recently were looking for Gurkhas for a yacht, they had ENG1 medicals from a doctor who was not on the approved ENG1 list as per the MCA. I questioned him and he said he had been issuing them for years and had had no problems. But it was a problem for us, and the yacht, and the crew had to travel to India for authentic ENG1s.”
Anna Percival-Harris, managing director of JPMA/Hoylake Sailing School agrees that crew need to be vigilant when obtaining an ENG1. “There have been occasions where we've had the odd fake ENG1, where the crewmember thought they'd gone to a genuine ENG1-registered doctor,” she recalls. “On one occasion it turned out the doctor had photocopied an ENG1 form, and was charging full price for a medical, but handing out black and white ENG1 forms. The original forms are blue and heavily watermarked to prevent this.”
Only MCA-approved doctors are able to issue the ENG1 certificate upon passing the medical, and the cost is governed by guidelines outlined by the MCA, which shouldn’t be more than £80 or €100. If you need any extra tests, for example a step test, the approved doctor can charge more, but this must be agreed with whoever is paying for the ENG1 before you have the test. It has also been brought to UKSA’s attention that there has been some inconsistency with the fees charged.
“The maximum fee of an ENG1 should be £80, however some students say they have paid more than this amount,” adds Strange. “Even though an ENG1 medical is not required to complete any training at UKSA, we implement best practice by ensuring any of our potential students are aware of the medical issues that may prevent the issue of the ENG1 and ideally encourage them to get their ENG1 medical before training commences.”
While the MCA intends for a unified standard wherever the medical is taking place, variances are likely to exist. Only by using an MCA-accredited doctor should crew avoid being subject to any ENG1 fraud. See below for a complete list of where to get an ENG1 as published by Gov.UK.