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MCA Approved Engine Course (AEC)

The MCA Approved Engine Course (AEC1) takes place in Cape Town and Durban and is the mandatory starting point for all Superyacht engineers. In addition, it is an invaluable source of knowledge and much needed weight for all new Superyacht Deckhands, with the training component being delivered by our industry partners, PYT South Africa.

Over the 30 hour (five day) duration of the course, the following topics are covered in respect of diesel engines:

* General principles of compression ignition engines
* Cycle of operation and construction details
* Fuel system
* Role of air in the combustion process
* Cooling, lubrication and electrical systems
* Power transmissions
* Hull fittings
* Pollution legislation
* Code of Safe Working Practices
* Bottled LPG installations

MCA Approved Engine Course (AEC)

You’re at the right place if you want to start or advance your Superyacht career. The Approved Engine Course (AEC1) offers the best value in price and time efficiency plus you’ll get the highest standards of maritime instruction anywhere. This MCA recognised course gives you a basic, theoretical knowledge of marine diesel engines, pollution legislation and the use of LP Gas at sea, providing an introduction to yacht engineering courses which meets the MCA engineering requirements on smaller vessels. This is the fundamental entry level of training, which allows people with the bare minimum of experience and those with non-maritime technical training entry to the industry-specific training and certification as laid down by the MCA. Recent industry changes have led to the implementation of the AEC2 course which, in contrast to AEC1, has a practical element whilst AEC1 is theory based.

What are the advantages of holding an AEC?

Qualified Yacht Engineers are very much in demand at the moment because of an over-supply of Deck Officers. The MCA’s requirements for engineering qualifications were perceived as more onerous than for the deck department and many aspirant engineers have opted for Yachtmaster training instead. Qualifying experience for all the higher engineering qualifications is only recognized if the person holds an AEC so no progress is possible without this certificate. Also, Captain/Engineers of smaller yachts will find their job prospects greatly enhanced if their resume includes basic engineering qualifications as well as Deck Officer certifications.

What does the exam consist of?

Candidate’s ability is continuously assessed throughout the course and there is a one-hour written exam at the end.

Progression through ranks

The progression through the ranks is very similar to the deck officer career course with a series of shore based courses, oral examination and experience needed to earn the various certificates of competence. Qualifying experience for all the higher engineering qualifications is only recognized if the person holds an AEC so no progress is possible without this certificate.

In terms of the MCA requirements for commercially and privately operated yachts and sail training vessels, the progression for engineering qualifications is from the basic Approved Engine Course (AEC1 & AEC2) to: Small Vessel Second Engineer (formerly Y4) < 200GT and < 1,500kW, Small Vessel Chief Engineer (formerly Y3) < 500GT and < 3,000kW, Small Vessel Chief Engineer (formerly Y2/Y1) < 3,000GT and < 9,000kW.

There are basic entry requirements for this course and the award of the AEC1 Certificate is dependent upon the following:

i) Completion of the basic safety training (STCW 2010 compliant)
ii) Not less than 18 years of age

NOTE: The shore based course can be attended without satisfying the necessary requirements listed above, however, certification will be withheld until such time as the requirements have been met and proof is submitted. The immediate courses, after 36 months as engineer, including 6 months watchkeeping/UMS duties, to attain the Small Vessel Second Engineer (SV) CoC will be: PSCRB, Advanced Fire Fighting, Medical First Aid, HELM, EDH, ECDIS, GSK, Nav & Radar, GMDSS, including other ancillary courses.

Most entry-level Superyacht engineers will need to start out in the Deck department first and complete a dual Deck/Engineer role, before completely crossing over to the Engineering department. Add the Deckhand Course to improve your chances of employment in this role.

*MCA training provided by PYT South Africa

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