Engineering Officer


OFO No: 


What is an Engineering Officer? 

An Engineering Officer is the person responsible for making sure the ship operates at optimum levels. An Engineering Officer is in control of the administration of the Engineering Department on a ship. The Engineering Officer will report to the Chief Engineer. 

Systems they work on (or specialise in) include:

  • electrical and electronic power systems
  • lighting
  • fuel and lubrication systems
  • water distillation
  • air-con & refrigeration systems
  • hydraulics etc

What does an Engineering Officer do?

  • ensure engineering watch is maintained at all times
  • comply safety and environmental policies, rules, regulations and laws (local and international)
  • in charge of the efficient and economic operation of the ship
  • ensure servicing, maintenance and repair of all machinery
  • keep stock of spares and stores
  • order spares and stocks when necessary
  • make sure all alarms and warning devices are properly maintained
  • schedule watch keeping, safety and maintenance routines
  • make sure all life- saving and fire fighting gear is regularly tested and maintained
  • engine room watch kept subject to the requirements of the chief engineer, any company
  • monitor engineer cadet training

Are you . . . ?

  • passionate about working at sea?
  • good with your hands?
  • interested in engineering?
  • mechanically minded?
  • responsible & reliable?
  • a team player?
  • a hard worker?
  • able to work in cramped spaces?

How do I become an Engineering Officer? 

TETA suggests the following: 

Certificate of Competence: Engineering Officer in charge of a watch (SAMSA). 

This can be done through the engineering faculties at:



Successful completion of S1 and S2 (Certificate in Marine Engineering) will allow you to apply for employment (as a engineering cadet) with a ship-owner or a port authority. This is a one- year study and forms part of the National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering .

In order to qualify with a certificate of competence (engineering officer) you will be required to complete an approved cadetship of 30 months (or an approved on-board accelerated training of 18 months) , which comprises practical workshop training and theoretical education (3 additional maritime subjects. You will also be required to pass an oral examination of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

Please note that:

  • Alternative pathways (e.g. N4 mechanical engineering) to obtaining the qualification are also available
  • Qualification requirements are considerably different for equivalent positions in the fishing industry.


  • Grade 12 with Maths and Science, pass rate of 60 % on standard or higher grade level.
  • No colour blindness (You would be required to obtain a vision certificate issued by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)) 
  • Must be able to swim

This qualification is also a past-requirement for scarce skills such as:

  • Tug Engineer
  • Ship Surveyor
  • Naval Architect
  • Salvage Engineer



For approved cadetships and accelerated training programmes

  • TETA


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Deck (Navigation) Officer or Aeronautical Engineer

Is becoming an Engineering Officer right career choice for me?

See below for more info.