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Yacht engineer salary and job description

According to an article published in 2021 from MTU, engineering jobs are once again one of the highest paying careers on the market, and for great reason!

Engineers endure years of intense studying to achieve their degree, making them among the most responsible and hard-working individuals in the job market. One of the many benefits of an engineering career is that you are not confined to a cubical setting. Have you ever considered working on a yacht?

But what does a yacht engineer do, and how much does a yacht engineer make? 

Guests board yachts to take them to exciting destinations and see corners of the world that others only dream of. Read on to learn why yacht engineers are one of the most sought after positions on the market today!

You can also check out this link to skip ahead and view some of the available yacht engineering positions available in your area!

Yacht Engineer positions

Before determining how much a yacht engineer makes, it is necessary to break down and understand the qualifications and responsibilities of the different types of engineers. 

Also, it is crucial to remember that the pay of each yacht engineer position will vary based on several factors, including vessel and engine size, itinerary other requirements linked to the safe manning of the yacht. 

We aren’t really used to this, right? Many career fields on land have general pay scales that you can use to compare positions, say, in different cities or with competing companies. 

At sea, the numerous factors involved make it difficult to pinpoint an exact yacht engineer salary that will apply to every position. However, this article will provide you with the latest figures and research to give you an accurate idea of what to expect. 

This way, you can plug in your own numbers and have a reasonably precise idea of how much dough you’ll be reeling in per month. 

Without further ado, let’s jump right into the most common yacht engineering positions you would find sized on any vessel.  

Chief Engineer 

If the captain of a yacht is considered the brain, think of the Chief Engineer as the heart.

Much like our brains, Captains ensure that every aspect of the operation is working seamlessly and coherently to ensure smooth sailing.

Similar to how brains need blood and oxygen to ensure smooth running, Captains need their Chief Engineer to help oversee mechanical operations and keep the vessel running in tip-top shape. 

The Chief Engineer reports directly to the Captain and, depending on the yacht size may also lead his team of engineers below. Regardless of the size, it is the Chief Engineer’s responsibility to ensure the vessel is up to industry standards in regards to all maritime regulations. 

One critical aspect of the Chief Engineer’s job is to ensure that the vessel will pass all of the necessary flag and port inspections. To learn more about what to expect, click here and view the Ultimate Guide to PSC Inspections on Ships!

A failing grade may result in the detainment of the vessel, which is probably one of the worst things that could happen, especially with guests on board who are dreaming of their next destination. Engineers must be able to see problems before they arise. Proactivity is key!

The Chief Engineer aboard a yacht helps to keep things running efficiently, and on smaller vessels, their responsibilities will also include those of the Second Engineer. 

Second Engineer 

As their name suggests, Second Engineers are typically second in command. They report directly to the Chief Engineer. In certain instances, it may be necessary for them to step in as acting or temporary Chief Engineer. They must be familiar with and able to adequately perform the same duties. 

On larger vessels, the Second Engineer may be the main supervisor for any Junior crew members under them, such as a Third or Fourth Engineer. 

The day-to-day requirements of Second Engineers can vary, so this position is full of excitement and new schedules! 

Therefore, all Engineers must be flexible. They could spend hours working in the engine room on one day, then spend all day the next helping out with difficult guest situations. 

Yacht Engineers spend the majority of their day working to prevent issues before they happen. Active thinkers who can quickly assess difficult situations to find the best solution possible are great candidates for yacht engineering positions. 

Both Chief and Second Engineers could be hired for permanent positions, on a rotational contract, or even on a temporary basis to cover for leave or a crossing or yard period for example. But what does that mean for your salary?

How Does a Rotational Contract Affect Pay?

In short, you will be paid less if you are in a rotating position as opposed to being permanently hired in the same role. However, many crew members would argue that the benefits of being on a rotation far outweigh the difference in pay.

It’s no surprise that working on a yacht can provide its fair share of challenges, especially in regards to one’s personal life. Being out at sea decreases your time with family and friends. 

Rotational contracts are typically 2:2, or 3:3meaning one month at sea then one month on land (or three months at sea, etc). Increasingly we are seeing 10 weeks on/off rotation so that crew are not always working the same months of each year. This is often the preferred option because it provides you with the best of both worlds: you’re able to have a well-paid job, while also cherishing irreplaceable family time. 

Most yachts over 50m now offer full rotations for the chief engineer, and increasing for the second engineer positions. This is good news for the industry, as the engineers can transition entirely behind the scenes. Guests aboard the yacht will have no idea that the new team is in place, and that is crucial to a smooth transition!

This rotation also dramatically decreases the number of crewmembers who burnout from being at sea for so long. In the long run, rotating crews are often beneficial because they lessen the need to go through the hiring process every six to twelve months if permanent crew members decide to head back to land. This can be costly in every sense of the word.

How Much Does a Yacht Engineer Make?

Yacht Engineer salary grids

Yacht sizeSalary
30 meters to 40 meters€ 4,000-6,000
40 meters to 50 meters€6,000 to €9,000

Above 50m, the Chief Engineer contracts are generally Rotational. The breakdown of their salary per month is below:

Yacht sizeSalary
50 meters to 60 meters€6500-€7500
60 meters to 70 meters€7500+
70 meters to 80 meters€8000+
80 meters to 90 meters€8500+
90 meters to 100 meters€9000+
100 meters and greater€9500+

On yachts above 50m, crew may be offered Permanent Second Engineer  or Rotational Second Engineers contracts. The average monthly salary for yachts from 50-90m for Permanent Second Engineers is as follows:

Yacht sizeSalary
50 meters to 60 meters€4000-€6000
60 meters to 70 meters€6000+
70 meters to 80 meters€6000+
80 meters to 90 meters€6000+

Finally, the average monthly salary for Rotational Second Engineers on vessels above 60m is as follows:

Yacht sizeSalary
60 meters to 70 meters€4000-€5000
70 meters to 80 meters€5000-€6000
80 meters to 90 meters€6000-€7000
90 meters to 100 meters€7000+
100 meters and greater€7000+

As you can see, rotational positions can be paid a similar salary to their permanent counterparts, however this will always be dependent on the certificate requirements and specific yacht and itinerary information. To learn more about this unique option, check out this informational article!

Necessary Background Experience

The ideal Yacht Engineer should have experience working on a charter at sea. Similar sized vessels to the open position will probably be preferred and set candidates apart from the competition. 

They ought to display high levels of attention to detail and problem solving, as well as being able to plan and maintain an organized and efficient workspace. 

Being prepared for any possible scenario is the backbone of a successful yacht engineer. Situations often arise that will need to be handled with poise and efficiency, and the best applicant will have experience keeping a level-head in these tough scenarios. 

Again, a history of leading proactively looks great on the job application.

There are various pathways open to become a marine engineer. You can either complete an engineering cadetship through your national Martime School or go down the more specific yachting career path. In this case the MCA in the UK and the USCG in the USA are the better known ones. 

Need a Yacht Engineer?

Whether you are inquiring about a position for yourself or hoping to fill a position on your yacht, you may have further questions, for example, just how much does a yacht engineer make?. 

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! 

Lighthouse Careers provides you with the tools and assistance you need to put together a crew you will be proud of. Take a few moments out of your day to submit an inquiry, and hear back from talented professionals ready to step on board!

We also make it easy to find your dream a position aboard a yacht. Register your application with us so that we can match you to employers and yachts that fit your needs! 

When you’re ready, we’re here waiting to help you succeed!

How much should you be earning?

On the Key

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