It is important for marine workers to be fit prior to beginning their tenure on a commercial or recreational vessel, such as a superyacht or a merchant ship. This is where the ENG1 Medical Certificate comes in. In this article, we will cover what the ENG1 medical certificate is all about and how you can get one in South Africa.

ENG1 Medical Certificate – What is it?

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is a UK-based organisation that aims to prevent the loss of life at sea. To prevent such tragedies, seafarers have to be physically fit. This is what an ENG1 Medical examination covers, to test a candidate’s fitness for working on a sea vessel.

Not anybody can issue you the ENG1 medical certificate. You need to find an MCA-affiliated and certified doctor to conduct the test and sign your certificate of fitness. This fitness test will collect your medical history, do eye tests, physical fitness tests such as cardio, and more, whichever deems necessary.

If you are 18 years or older and found physically fit by the standards set by MCA, the MCA-approved doctor will sign the certificate of fitness for you. This certificate can be valid for up to two years, after which you will have to sit through the medical examination again.

Why do I need an ENG1 Medical Certificate?

Life on the sea is not for light-hearted folks. Fitness for this kind of work is absolutely necessary. If you are someone with a serious physical issue, you are not only a hazard to yourself but to others on the sea as well. An ENG1 Medical Certificate ensures that it does not happen; that you are perfectly fit for working on a vessel.

Also, you will require the STCW Proficiency Certificate before you actually begin applying for work in the marine industry. However, to take the STCW Course, you will require the ENG1 Medical Certificate or an equivalent. The STCW Course is about preparing seafarer candidates for the dangers of the sea and training them to keep themselves and others safe.

Related: STCW Course in South Africa

Getting an ENG1 certificate is not as difficult. However, there is only a couple of MCA-approved doctors in South Africa that can test you for fitness according to MCA standards. In South Africa, you can find MCA-approved doctors in Cape Town, South Africa. 

Before you go for the ENG1 Medical examination in South Africa, make sure you have:

  • Your ID (Passport, Driving License)
  • Current ENG1 certificate (if applicable)
  • The name, address, and contact details of your family doctor/general practitioner
  • Correspondence from your doctor, if you have any medical history
  • List of medications you are taking (if any)
  • Glasses/contact lenses (if applicable)

Also, this goes without saying, but make sure you book an appointment beforehand. 

The alternate way to prove your medical fitness

Just because you want to work on sea vessels internationally, it does not mean you absolutely have to acquire an ENG1 medical certificate. According to this document published by the UK government, you can actually get an ENG1 equivalent medical certificate of fitness and you are still valid.

For South Africans, the ENG1 equivalent of a seafarer’s medical certificate is the SAMSA Medical Certificate. If you wish to get a SAMSA Medical Certificate instead, we encourage you to take a look here


Working on a sea vessel is never a breeze. It is hard work accompanied by long hours—as long as 14 hours a day. Hence, it is absolutely necessary for seafarers and other marine workers to be physically fit. This is why getting an ENG1 medical certificate in South Africa is important. Along with that, all seafarers must go through extensive STCW training as well. These are the bare minimum requirements if you wish to work on a vessel.

If you have any queries regarding getting either of the medical certificates or if you require any assistance with STCW or the deckhand/stewardess course, we encourage you to connect with us.

ENG1 Medical Certificate in South Africa