Officer in Charge of Engineering Watch / Chief Engineer 8000kW

A career as an Engineer

The French Maritime Academy (ENSM) trains Officers in Charge of Engineering Watch OICEW (also referred to as Second or Third Engineer) responsible for the maintenance, operation and repair of main and auxiliary engines, and performing other engine-room duties.

OICEW are qualified to work onboard any type of vessels, without restriction on propulsion power. Officers in Charge of Engineering Watch supervise all key systems onboard and more specifically, they are in charge of machinery maintenance, while ensuring the safety of passengers and cargo. Depending on their position, OICEW may work on different technical systems onboard, such as energy production and distribution, water and steam generation,  fuel management and waste management.

The program has a diversified content and the following subjects are taught: electrotechnology/electronics, hydraulics, refrigeration systems, automation and all types of propulsion engines: diesel engines, steam and gas turbines, combined systems.
After 6-month at sea as a Cadet and then Engineer Officer, a Chief Engineer Certificate can be obtained at the end of this three-year program, this Certificate leads to high rank positions on ships with a propulsion power less than 8000 kW.

The program to carry on for the Chief Engineer Unlimited Certificate is taught on the Saint-Malo campus.



Admission: Post-Baccalaureat
Registration : on Parcoursup
Duration : 3 years
Campus : Saint-Malo
Tuiton fees 2021/2022 : 1430€ – free for Students on State funding (grant)
50 places available in 2022

Program content

The program is structured and divided in modules. On successful completion of all the modules, students obtain two Diplomas and following a period of time at sea, Certificates of Competency are then issued.

Below is an indicative list of subjects taught in the three-year program for Officer in charge of Engineering Watch and Chief Engineer 8000kW:

– First year:
Mathematics, physics and hydromechanics, construction, description of propulsion plants, ship management, international regulations, marine pollution prevention, preparation for TOEIC exam, basic safety training (CFBS), stability, maritime English, security trainings, electricity, workshop practice, materials science, communication and officers duties, commercial aspects, automation, pumps and piping systems – for a total of 776 hours.
– Second year: Thermodynamics, engines maintenance and repair, marine diesel engine theory, hydraulics, refrigerating systems, engine operations, engine simulator training 1, static electrical equipment, electrical motors, electronic components and sensors, high power electronics, automation, welding practice, lathe practice, technical English and communication in the engine room, Tanker training, technical drawing – for a total of 814 hours.

– Third year : Computerized Maintenance Management System, technical report drafting, simulator 3, electrotechnics/electronics, restoration of electric and electronic equipment after repairs, engine tests and engine failures, automation, engine-room diagrams review, maritime English for commercial and management aspects, stability after engine failure, safety at work and regulations, ship management, commercial aspects, maritime law, Abstract Syntax Notation (ASN ), steam boiler, gas turbine, gas engine, engine cooling, Bridge room management/Engine room management, Certificate of proficiency in survival craft and life rafts (CAEERS), Medical Training II, Advanced firefighting training (CQALI), welding and design workshop –  for a total of 826 hours.

Diploma and Certificate

Diplomas are issued on successfully completion of all the program modules.

Officer in charge of Engineering Watch OICEW Certificate

The certificate is issued once students have spent 12 months at sea, including six-month as engineer cadet (time at sea obtained during the program) and have done a six-month workshop training, during the three-year program at the French Maritime Academy (ENSM).

Second Engineer 8000kW Certificate
The Second Engineer 8000kW Certificate is issued after a 12-month navigation period as an Officer in charge of Engineering Watch.

Chief Engineer 8000kW Certificate
The Chief Engineer 8000kW Certificate is issued after a 36-month navigation period as an Officer in charge of engineering watch or a 24-month period if 12 months were done as a Second Engineer.

The program is recognised as a Bachelor’ Degree (Licence), which can support better career choices ashore, with a possibility to continue with a Master cycle, with a title recognized at a European level, and the program being part of the Bologna process. This recognition is a key point when engineers change career paths and wish to leave a job at sea for a shore side position.

Career prospects

Students issued with an Officer in charge of Engineering Watch Certificate and a Chief Engineer 8000kW Certificate can carry on with the Chief Engineer Unlimited program (the curriculum is being revised – 888 hours at the moment).

Based on the restrictions related to each Certificate, Officers may work as Second Engineer and then as Chief Engineer, depending on the job market and opportunities offered by French and foreign shipping companies.

At any time during their career, Merchant Navy Officers may change career for shore-side positions, as they are well recognised and appreciated in all industries thanks to their technical knowledge, management skills and availability, which allow them to fill various positions.

As part of the Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), students are trained in Rescue at sea at the French Maritime Academy’s Survival and Rescue at Sea Training Center (CESAME) in Saint-Malo.

Admission criteria

Admission to the programs Officer in charge of Engineering Watch and Chief Engineer 8000kw is based on students records and performance.

The three-year program is taught exclusively at the French Maritime Academy campus in Saint-Malo .

Visit registration page for information

Continuing education and professional courses

In the context of continuing education and professional development, students holding the Officer in charge of Engineering Watch Diploma and later the OICEW Certificate may carry on to obtain Certificate for higher ranks.

Physical and medical fitness

Seafarers shall meet the physical fitness criteria, as set on a global level. Refer to the Decree published on January 30, 2015 which amended the Decree published on April 16, 1986 relating to seafarer physical fitness, for commercial or fishing vessels and yachts.

Time at sea as a Cadet

The French Maritime Academy ENSM organizes a « Meeting with Shipowners » day in Saint-Malo and publishes a Directory of shipping companies, to discover companies and help students in finding contracts as cadets.

Information / Contact

Download Officer Engineering Watch/ Chief Engineer 8000kW flyer

Watch testimonies from

Chief Engineer La Méridionale
–Daniel Cron, Chief Engineer Tara
– Philippe, Chief Engineer Hermione
– Vladimir, Engineer Officer Prins Bernhard

Video from Total Lubmarine on a Diesel engine operation:

Saint-Malo campus : +33(0)9 7000 04 10
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