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Eyesight standards

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  • Eyesight standards

    Hi there,

    I want to become an Engineering Officer, however I'm concerned that my eyesight standards will restrict me from doing so.

    I'm certain I will fail the ishihara test, as I have done it in the past and failed on a small amount of the plates. However I'm aware that if applicants fail the ishihara test, then they are tested through either the "Farnsworth D15" or "City University test" (source:

    I have completed both tests at home on my computer and have passed with no sign of colour deficiency. However, I know there are always criticisms with doing these tests at home as the colour displayed may be different depending on the monitor. However I have a very high quality, brand new monitor that displays true colour, so I'm pretty confident that the results are very close to what I would experience in real life.

    On failing the ishihara (which I'm almost certain that I will) do I get a choice between either the Farnsworth or the University test, or does the medical examiner choose?

    If I fail the ishihara but pass the other test with no sign of colour deficiency, would you guess that I would be allowed a restricted pass, or would it be a full pass?

    Bit of a wall of text, sorry about that, and thanks for your time.

  • #2
    Re: Eyesight standards

    Hi and welcome!

    From MSN 1765:

    Deck officers and ratings - Colour vision should be tested by the approved doctor with Ishihara plates,
    using the introductory plate, and all the transformation and vanishing plates. Those used should be
    recorded on the medical report form (ENG 2). Candidates who fail the Ishihara colour plate test may
    apply to one of the MCA?s nominated Marine Offices listed at Annex C to this MSN, for their colour
    vision to be re-tested using a Holmes Wright B lantern.

    Engineer and radio department personnel should have their colour vision tested by the approved
    doctor using Ishihara plates (as for deck department). Those who fail the Ishihara test may apply to any
    registered optician for confirmatory testing using the Farnsworth D15 test or City University test.
    In all cases where a follow-up test has been undertaken, a report showing the result must be returned to
    the approved doctor, on the basis of which he/she will decide whether it is appropriate to fail the
    candidate or issue a full or restricted medical certificate, reflecting the duties the seafarer will be
    required to undertake.

    Any decision relating to subsequent colour vision testing should be officially recorded by the Marine
    Office or optometrist and retained by the seafarer with the ENG 1 to avoid the necessity for repeated
    secondary testing
    Hope that helps. There are a number of engineers with colour vision problems - it can cause difficulties if you have a restricted ENG1 but some companies (Maersk) seem more open to applications than others.

    Hello! I'm Chris. I'm away a lot so I'm sorry if it takes me a while to reply to messages, but I promise I'll get back to everyone. If it's urgent, please email me directly at [email protected].

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    • #3
      Re: Eyesight standards

      If you think the moiniter is leting you pass when you practice, why not print them off?


      • #4
        Re: Eyesight standards

        Hey, don't worry too much about it.

        I had the same worries when i came to sit my Medical after previously failing colour blind test to get into the Air Force on the Isohara plates so I was a bit nervous about it. But when it came to my ENG1 medical I passed the plates.

        I think I was unsure what to look for in the plates when i went for the RAF meidcal but was knew what to expect when i done the ENG1 medical.

        So don't worry yourself too much and good luck.


        • #5
          Re: Eyesight standards

          Even if you don't past the test 100% you still might have a good enough score to go to sea, so do not dispear, the most important part of seafarer medicals is allowing you to know what you have problems with, what you are and aren't capable of, I have sailed with a 2/E who seriously did his back in bad weather, we had to carry him off on a skelton board, but he has come back, he just has a restriction on heavy lifting and knows to ask if he needs to.

          With colour deficiency, if you are aware of it, then it just means you might want to say, check which is the live wire, and make sure you can discriminate between the wires you are looking at, if you are not happy with what you are doing, then you would tell someone, probably be moved to another job, something mechanical where all the parts or bear steel colour anyway hehe. But by the sounds of it, you haven't had problems with it in your day to day life before?


          • #6
            Re: Eyesight standards

            No, it has not given me any issues whatsoever in life From what I gather, colour deficiency is a greater issue in Deck Cadets than in Engineer Cadets (though it's still obviously an issue) so hopefully it'll all be okay.

            Thanks for your responses guys, I can go into the medical with a bit more confidence and hope that it'll all go well. I'd hate it if either that or some underlying medical condition that I haven't noticed restricts me from applying. But if that's the case then there's nothing I can do about it. Que sera and all that

            Thanks again guys,


            • #7
              Re: Eyesight standards


              Like some i became a instant expert on the whole colour stuff as everyone knows as im not so lucky and have failed them all big fat FAIL and as it may be said it isn't as much of an issue with engineering it does make it harder to get in because as i have found alot of comapanies won't want to know as they look for full un restricted ENG1s although passing the 2nd lot of tests does lift the nasty restrictions making life a whole lot easier on urself thats all im going to say on the matter as i could write 1000 words on it me thinks.

              good luck
              Be what you want to be not what other people tell you to be
              Adapt and over come
              Careers At Sea Ambassador


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