Level 4

Study to become a Marine Engineer Class 6 (MEC 6)

Start your marine engineering journey with your entry-level MEC 6 qualification.

Programme highlights

Get the skills and knowledge to become a marine engineer.

This programme is ideal if you are newly employed in the maritime industry, or you are engine room crew wishing to progress to a marine engineer role.

It will prepare you for work on ships operating in New Zealand and foreign waters. You will also get skills in how to work safely onboard and what to do in an emergency.

You will learn the skills and knowledge required to operate and maintain engine room and auxiliary equipment to entry-level Marine Engineer Class 6 (MEC 6) standards under the Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) Seafarer Certification and Operational Limits Framework.

Graduates will generally operate under broad supervision from the chief engineer and the vessel master. You may find yourself working on a range of commercial coastal vessels including fishing trawlers, tug boats, ferries or charter boats.

This qualification leads to a Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) certificate. Expand for more detail.

You need to complete this qualification and your Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) approved Training Record Book (TRB), before applying to MNZ for a:

Award of the MNZ MEC 6 or MEC 5 certificates of competency will also require the completion of:

  • Sea service
  • MNZ medical fitness certificate
  • Eyesight test (including for colour vision)
  • Fit and proper person check
  • Final exam
  • Ancillary certificates.

See maritimenz.govt.nz for all requirements needed before you apply.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements


To be admitted to this programme, applicants must hold one of the following:

  • 48 credits at NCEA Level 2


  • [2506] New Zealand Certificate in Maritime Crewing (Level 3) or
  • [2511] New Zealand Certificate in Maritime Crewing (Level 4)
  • [2895] New Zealand Certificate in Domestic Maritime Crewing (Level 3)


  • a relevant qualification at NZQF Level 3 or above


  • a recognised equivalent.

English language entry requirements

All applicants (international and domestic) for whom English or te reo Māori is not a first language need to provide evidence that they have the necessary English language proficiency required for the programme.

International applicants are required to have an IELTS (Academic) score of 5.5 with no individual band lower than 5 from a single test taken in the preceding two years, or an equivalent described in NZQA Rules.

Additional requirements
  • It is recommended that ākonga be employed or engaged in the Maritime industry
  • Ākonga must provide a Medical Certificate issued by a General Practitioner or provide a Seafarers Medical Certificate or equivalent
  • Ākonga must be physically fit and capable of participating in the practical training component.

Important information - Maritime New Zealand

  • Upon successful completion of the programme ākonga may seek Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) licenses that require all applicant to meet sea time, eyesight, and medical requirements.
  • Applicants for the Maritime Engineering Class (MEC 6) MNZ certificate must be at least 18 years old.
  • Applicants should refer to www.maritimenz.govt.nz website for details of these requirements.

All persons wishing to qualify for a seafarer licence must also check the Maritime New Zealand prior certification and minimum service requirements for that licence. Also: Seafarers Framework which outlines medical fitness requirements https://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/rules/part-34/default.asp and Maritime New Zealand Part 34:Medical Standards https://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/rules/part-34/Part34-maritime-rule.pdf.

Special & discretionary admission

Any ākonga who is 20 years of age or older and has not reached the general admission requirements for their intended programme is eligible for Special Admission. Te Pūkenga works with the ākonga to ensure they are prepared for their intended programme. Any ākonga who is not yet 20 years of age and has not reached the general admission requirements for their intended programme may be eligible for Discretionary Admission. In assessing whether to grant Discretionary Admission, the delegated authority focuses on the applicant’s level of preparedness for their intended programme.


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Programme structure

Programme structure

You will need to complete the four courses below (45 credits):

Core compulsory courses

Level 3

MARN3201 STCW Elementary First Aid (4 credits)

The aim of this course is to develop knowledge and skills to contribute to the provision of first aid on board a vessel.

Upon the successful completion of this course, ākonga will be able to:

  • Provide basic first aid on board a vessel.

Level 4

MARN4401 Slipway maintenance (6 credits)

The aim of this course is to develop knowledge of the preparation, precautions and typical maintenance associated with slipping a vessel to Maritime New Zealand Marine Engineer Class 6 licence requirements.

Upon the successful completion of this course, ākonga will be able to:

  • Prepare a vessel for slipway maintenance and survey.

MARN4402 Operate Vessel Machinery and Systems (25 credits)

The aim of this course is to develop the knowledge and skills to safely operate and monitor a vessel’s propulsion engines and machinery.

Upon the successful completion of this course, ākonga will be able to:

  • Describe the operation of diesel engines and procedures to operate diesel-powered vessel engines of greater than approx. 100kW
  • Explain operational procedures for engine room watchkeeping, machinery, and equipment on a vessel
  • Operate and monitor a vessel’s engines and auxiliary equipment
  • Monitor the operation of a vessel’s engines, drive train, and auxiliary equipment.

MARN4403 Maintain Vessel Machinery and Systems (10 credits)

On successful completion of this course the student will be able to demonstrate and apply vessel specific machinery and system knowledge to maintenance and fault diagnosis.

Upon the successful completion of this course, ākonga will be able to:

  • Carry out planned maintenance on a vessel’s machinery and systems
  • Perform scheduled and unscheduled maintenance tasks on a vessel’s electrical and mechanical systems
  • Describe the operation of ancillary engine room equipment on a vessel.
Do you want to study a single course, without enrolling into the full programme?

Courses within some of our programmes may be offered as an individual Certificate of Proficiency (COP). Programme entry requirements and course fees apply. For more information, please speak to our friendly Ask Me! team.

Careers and pathways

Further training or study

This qualification leads to the New Zealand Certificate in Marine Engineering Class 5 (Level 5).

Graduates can also progress to higher-level marine engineering qualifications leading to Marine Engineer Class 1 (MEC 1) under the Maritime NZ Seafarer Certification and Operational Limits Framework.

Career opportunities

Marine engineer (Class 6).

For potential salaries visit careers.govt.nz.

Free study for the first year of your Level 3 or above qualification may be available under the government’s fees-free study scheme. Visit feesfree.govt.nz for eligibility criteria and more information. Students must be eligible to study as a domestic student. All free study is subject to funding confirmation. Proof of residency status required. Entry criteria, and some costs, may also apply. Eligibility for student allowances or student loans may vary. Contact StudyLink for more information.

Information is correct as at 11 June 2024. Programme fees are based on a full-time student and may vary depending on your final selection of courses that make up your programme. To provide you with an indication of costs, the approximate fees quoted in this publication are based on the indicative 2024 fee structure. The indicative programme fees for 2024 do not include the Compulsory Student Services Fee (CSSF). The CSSF is an additional levy to your 2024 programme or course fees. Further information about the CSSF can be found here www.manukau.ac.nz/cssf. Programmes stated as eligible for free study in 2024 are based on the 2023 fee structure and subject to funding confirmation for 2024. All fees are in New Zealand Dollars. You will be advised of the current fees at the time of enrolment. All courses and programmes will proceed subject to numbers and academic approval. Manukau Institute of Technology is part of Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. Te Pūkenga is accredited under the provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020. International students must study in class and will not be able to enrol for online study options.