The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has issued a new Marine Information Note, MIN 524, detailing the requirements relating to the certification structure and examination and training requirements for engineer officers wanting to work on fishing vessels, yachts, tugs, workboats, standby, seismic survey, oceanographic research vessels and government patrol vessels.
With discussions dating back to early 2014, representatives of the fishing, tug, workboat and yachting industries have been working together to create an engineering structure that will work across the whole small boat industry (under 3,000gt).
The news comes following efforts from the PYA’s engineering workgroup and Institution of Engineering and Technology to work towards a restructuring of engineering training and certification across the marine industry, with particular focus on educating engineers rather than teaching them how to pass exams – a common criticism of the current Y4 to Y1 route.
The change to the syllabi and exams aims to make them relevant and interchangeable across the sectors, so that engineers can get a better education that leads to transferability and recognition throughout different sectors, as well as a more structured training and certification system.
“The previous certification route was type-specific instead of looking at tonnage,” explains Edward Tuite, technical executive at the British Marine Federation.
“The overall idea of the new system is to allow engineers to jump from one side of the marine industry to another. The jobs market can go up and down in certain sectors and this will allow a ‘freedom of movement’.”
While there is likely to be an uncertain transitionary period as training providers decide on how best to implement the new system, the modernisation of the engineering training structure will hopefully create incentive and make engineering a more attractive career path. It may also play a positive role in attracting new blood to the superyacht sector and help with the shortage of engineers that this industry cites so often.