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The ENG1 Guide

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  • The ENG1 Guide

    The ENG1 Guide

    'He' in this post, is a gender-neutral pro-noun. There are male and female doctors who perform ENG1s.
    I AM NOT A DOCTOR. What I do have is skills in google, and I know which documents to look at, plus I read the forums a lot, and the questions I have answered here, are the ones which keep coming up again and again!

    What is the ENG1?

    The ENG1 is a UK flag-state medical examination, performed by a Doctor to ensure that anyone employed or engaged in activities on any sea-going ships meets a minimum standard of health.

    Do I need one?

    Yes. It is a basic requirement of all sponsoring companies that you pass the ENG1. If you fail the ENG1, you can reasonably expect any offer of employment to be withdrawn.

    How long is it valid for?
    If you're over 18, and the Doctor thinks you're in good health, it will be a 2 year certificate.
    If you're under 18, it will be a 1 year certificate.
    If you're over 18, but the Doctor thinks it prudent, he can issue a certificate which expires sooner.

    How much does it cost?
    The maximum it is allowed to cost, is ?80. You may find it cheaper. I never have. Budget ?80

    Do I pay for it?
    This is between you and your company. Some companies will ask you to pay, and then you will get it back through an expense claim. Others will book it for you, and cover the charge. Ask your company. Either way, you won't end up paying for it in the end. Unless you are with Maersk, who it appears make you pay for your first ENG1, then they will pay for subsequent ENG1s.

    Where can I find a Doctor who can do the ENG1?

    The MCA keep a list:

    Do I need any ID?
    Yes, the Doctor will ask to see either your passport or discharge book. A useful point if your passport is near expiring, the number from your ID will be entered onto your ENG1, so if your passport is going to run out, use your discharge book as identification (it doesn't expire).

    I have or have recently had, such-and-such-itis, can I get an ENG1?

    Go to Annex A, it is on page 14. Look up what ever ails or ailed you. In the final two columns, the first column being if you are currently suffering from that condition, the second column is if you have recently suffered from it. There is a number, it corresponds to these codes:

    1-Category 1 : Fit for sea service, with no restrictions
    2-Category 2 : Fit for sea service but with restrictions
    3-Category 3 : Temporarily unfit for sea service
    4-Category 4 : Permanently unfit for sea service

    My ENG1 has expired, should I hang on to it?
    Yes! At your next ENG1 medical, you Doctor will need to see your last ENG1.

    I have lost my old ENG1, how can I get a replacement?
    You need to go back to the Doctor who performed that ENG1, he will have a duplicate copy and the ENG2 section and can make you a new one. It is at his discretion if he charges you for this service. He can also ask you to perform a new ENG1.
    If a seafarer, previously examined by an AD, reports the loss,
    theft or destruction of a current certificate, he/she should be
    asked to explain the circumstances in writing. It is then for the
    issuing AD to use his/her judgement in deciding whether to:
    a) re-examine the seafarer and issue a new certificate valid
    from the date of examination;
    b) issue a new certificate bearing the exact details of the
    missing certificate (based on the ENG 2 report form or
    duplicate pad copy of the ENG 1), and clearly marked
    What happens at a typical ENG1?

    I recently had one, so it is fresh in my memory. Please bare in mind, that Doctors have a lot of leeway on how they perform the ENG1, so don't be alarmed if yours if different to mine. It is just an example!

    I arrived, and waited for 5 minutes. The Doctor came into the waiting room and asked me to come to his office. We filled out the paper work. On the paper work is the usual stuff about you (age, smoker, drinker, etc), and then there is medical history, both of you and your immediate family. I filled it out, he questioned me on the one box I had ticked 'yes' to, under existing medical conditions (Back Acne if you must know, and no, acne doesn't stop you getting an ENG1). Happy with this, I entered a sound proof booth, and the Doctor adminstered the hearing test. This is testing what frequencies you can hear noises at. You get a button, and a set of headphones. All you have to do, is push the button when you hear something in the headphone. Simple.
    Having passed this test, I was given a specimen tube and asked to provide a urine sample.
    After squeezing some out, he then tested it for the presence of proteins, glucose (sugar, diabetes), and blood which may indicate an underlying condition. It is not a drugs+alcohol test, although your company may ask you to complete one at a seperate date, you won't be tested at the ENG1.
    Next he asked me strip to my underwear and we got down to the medical business, he checked the following:
    1) Height and weight. Checked my BMI, all fine (more on this in a different question)
    2) Teeth and gums (visual inspection)
    3) Ears (checking for impacted ear wax or other ear related ailments).
    4) Touch your toes, then arch your back over.
    Lay on the bed and checked:
    5) Arm and leg joints (checked mine by moving them physically, then using a reflex hammer to test reflex reactions)
    6) Hernia checks (No, he doesn't cup your balls lads)
    Back on your feet:
    7) Listened to my lungs, made me breath deep. Told me to stop smoking, said I'd consider it.
    8) Light in the eye, follow the light.
    9) Asked me to read at arms length a passage from a book.
    10) Eye chart, cover one eye, read line. Cover other eye, repeat.
    11) Ishihara colour-blindess test book. (more on this later)
    Sat down
    12) Blood pressure.
    13) Visual inspection of body, looked at my hands. Asked me to get dressed.

    And that was it, told me to pack in the smokey-treats, and then filled out the ENG1, and that was me set for another 2 years. That's it, nothing painful, no needles, no fingers in orifices, no x-rays. It's just a basic medical examination to make sure you can last for 2 years at sea without keeling over after a hard days chipping paint.

    I'm fat/obese can I get an ENG1?
    Do a BMI calculation on yourself:
    Bupa are one of the UK's leading healthcare specialists. Get information on private medical insurance, health clinics and care homes from experts you can trust.

    According to the guidelines given to Doctors by the MCA, if you have a BMI of over 30, but under 35, you've got some explaining to do, and he will be looking a lot closer at your blood pressure and lungs, and your actual physique. He will get you to perform an exercise test (I have heard of someone being asked to walk up and down stairs for 5 minutes, then blood and lungs checked, but ask your Doctor.) and he then may decide to either give you the ENG1, give you a time-restricted ENG1 (he will expect your weight to have come down when you get rechecked), restrict you to coastal work (this is bad), or declare you temporarily unfit.
    If your BMI is over 35, you can expect to fail the ENG1 unless it is due to muscle mass. The doctor will refer you to a dietician and give you a realistic and safe time-frame to drop those pounds.

    My BMI is high, but I am bodybuilder type?
    The Doctor isn't an idiot, he will know the limitations of a BMI test, and if he can see it is down to muscle mass, you won't have a problem.

    I am colour-blind, can I get an ENG1?
    Strictly speaking, yes, but it will restricted against lookout duties, not good. But you have options.

    If you can pass the lantern test then you will be considered fit (you won't get your ENG1 until you pass the lantern test).
    Information on the lantern test:
    MCA offices where you can get the lantern test (it is free): (page 40, just go to the bottom)

    It may be worthwhile speaking to your company, as this doesn't seem to be a bar to service, although you have your ENG1 marked saying you cannot work with colour-coded equipment and unfit for lookout, there are forum posts on here of people who are, or who know, engineers who are colour blind. Speak to your company. If you want to keep trying for a full ENG1, you can request to peform the Farnsworth D15 or City university tests at an opticians.

    I have monocular vision/one eye is really good, the other is really bad
    This is only acceptable in existing seafarers. New seafarers cannot have monocular vision.

    How good does my eyesight have to be?

    Page 244-245 tells you all you need to know.
    Remember to bring your glasses if you need them.

    I have a hearing aid, is this OK?

    For a hearing aid or cochlear implant to be acceptable for use
    in a seafarer, it must provide a level of hearing compatible with
    the minimum hearing standard required for a non-user. It is not
    recommended that hearing aids are worn 24 hours a day so any
    seafarer who sleeps aboard must either have sufficient residual
    hearing to be woken from sleep by an emergency alarm or have
    alternative arrangements made to ensure arousal.
    The key words here are, 'sufficient residual hearing'. Having a hearing aid will not stop you getting the ENG1, as long as you are not completely deaf with out it. Your ENG1 will be marked saying that you must have your hearing aid, and your Doctor will give you a little chat about carrying enough spare parts/batteries to last a voyage.

    For more guidelines on the hearing test, including minimum standards: (page 220)

    Do I need to be up to date with my immunisations?

    Not for the ENG1, but if you travel to certain countries, the port state will want to see evidence of this. Not to mention, it's just common sense.

    I am going to do my eng1 medical soon but I have epilepsy. It is controlled by medication and I am seizure free for 3 years.

    If it was a single seizure, and you have been seizure free for one year since the fit, then you are fit for ENG1. The best advice, is speak to the doctor before hand, or follow the flow chart: (page 160)

    I don't believe you, I think it will be ok, etc, etc
    Best of luck!

    Believe it or not, you will find everything you need to know from guidelines produced by the MCA. Crazy eh? All the answers above, have been checked against these sources, none of this is heresay or presumptions. Ctrl+F is your friend people.

    MSN 1822 (M)
    Seafarer Medical Examination System and Medical and Eyesight Standards: Application of the Merchant Shipping (Maritime Labour Convention) (Medical Certification) Regulations 2010

    Approved Doctor’s Manual
    Seafarer Medical Examinations - January 2010

    MSN 1745 (M+F)
    Seafarer Vision Test: Deck/Dual Career Personnel - Merchant Navy and Fishing Vessels

  • #2
    If anyone wants to tack a Q&A into here, feel free and I will edit it in.


    • #3
      Brilliant post, thank you! Mind if I promote it to an article?


      Blog tWitterings Flickr Tumblr Faceache


      • #4
        Not at all, but will it still be possible to edit it when new questions come up?


        • #5
          By a mod/admin yes... I could just sticky it for now.


          Blog tWitterings Flickr Tumblr Faceache


          • #6
            Got my ENG1 tomorrow, this is great, saves everyone else all that searching and reading that I've already done
            Just a note, Maersk aren't paying for the initial examination but pay for the subsequent ones, so might want to change the Do I Pay For It sentence to 'most companies' or similar. Oh and a reminder for anyone who has them to take their glasses.
            Great post, should save a lot of questions.


            • #7
              Originally posted by size4riggerboots View Post
              Brilliant post, thank you! Mind if I promote it to an article?
              I think a lot of people don't know about or check articles (despite it being at the top menu I didn't really look at them properly for at least a month). Perhaps a stickied redirect or something of the sort would help solve that. A 'Featured Articles' section on the homepage might be something for an admin to look into as a way of attracting attention to them


              • #8


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tlloyd1983 View Post
                  What happens at a typical ENG1?

                  I entered a sound proof booth, and the Doctor adminstered the hearing test. This is testing what frequencies you can hear noises at. You get a button, and a set of headphones. All you have to do, is push the button when you hear something in the headphone. Simple.

                  Next he asked me strip to my underwear and we got down to the medical business, he checked the following:
                  2) Teeth and gums (visual inspection)
                  4) Touch your toes, then arch your back over.
                  5) Arm and leg joints (checked mine by moving them physically, then using a reflex hammer to test reflex reactions)
                  A point on the physical examination, your mileage may vary, a lot. Some docs take a different approach to others.

                  My usual doc does a simple whisper test for hearing, though at my first ENG1 (different doc) he used a wee buzzing box. The whisper test is contrary to MCA advice, but he's the doc!

                  The 'strip' is limited to 'take your shirt off', I'm pretty sure he doesn't poke around my mouth, I've no recollection of touching toes or arching back, ever, but sometimes he has done reflexes, other times not.

                  I've been back to the same doctor quite a number of times now, so perhaps he doesn't bother probing some elements too much since he knows he has seen them before, but he does sound notably more relaxed and less thorough than some other doctors.

                  Don't be surprised if the procedure is not exactly as described, the doc has a lot of discretion in how he goes about it.


                  • #10
                    Just a point on the whisper test, according to my most recent doctor at the ENG1, it should no longer be used, as apparently for occupational health, there should be periodic audiometry exams so they can identify patterns of hearing loss. Go figure. My first ENG1 was also a whisper test.

                    But yes, different Doctors will examine you differently, there is no exact way of performing an ENG1, as long as they check everything the MCA says they should check. But it is just a 'what to expect', and you will find your ENG1, whilst it won't be exactly the same, will be similar. I am surprised he didn't check your teeth and gums, as I have had that every time, with 3 different Doctors.

                    I have added a little note on the 'typical ENG1' part, to this effect.


                    • #11
                      Excellent post.

                      Having been around for a few years now and done a few ENG1's I can confirm what those above have said, I have had everything from a 1 hour MOT, to a doctor who seemed to think that if you were fir enough to sign the cheque then you had passed.

                      I did my most recent ENG1 in Singapore (although the ENG1 is a UK MCA examination there are accreditted doctors all over the World who can carry it out and it is reckognised by many flag state administrations) and it was very thorough, the previous one was in Hull and let's just say that it wasn't quite so thorough!

                      I mentioned this variation in standards to a doctor once and he made a very good point, he said,

                      "I get really annoyed when I hear that some doctors make the medical easy to pass, You are paying for a thorough medical examination and I have found cancer in some people early enough for it to be treated, the doctors who give you a 2 minute once over are short changing you"

                      I reckon he has a point.
                      Go out, do stuff


                      • #12
                        One other thing that I didn't see mentioned in the OP is that if it is not your first ENG1 then you need to take you old certificate with you, apparently people were going along getting an ENG1, selling it to someone and then going back and getting another one before, so now they take your old certificate off you.
                        Go out, do stuff


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Clanky View Post
                          One other thing that I didn't see mentioned in the OP is that if it is not your first ENG1 then you need to take you old certificate with you...
                          I considered it, but this is mainly aimed at those who have never sat an ENG1. But I have added a note about this as well. Also added a QA on if you lose your ENG1.


                          • #14
                            Great post.

                            Just one question - If you fail the eye or hearing test are you able to appeal and ask for an optician or a hearing specialist to do a more thorough check on these areas. I am due an ENG1 this year and my eye sight is the thing that is worrying me the most.


                            • #15
                              Q: Can a seafarer appeal more than once, following successive
                              A: not if it relates to the same restriction or reason for failure.
                              Appears you get one appeal, and as far as I know, it is only the colour blindness which can assessed by someone other than the Doctor at the ENG1. You are allowed your glasses.