A chief engineer, commonly referred to as "ChEng" or "Chief", is the most senior engine officer of an engine department on a ship, typically a merchant ship, and holds overall leadership and the responsibility of that department. As a person who holds one of the most senior roles on the ship, they must have excellent communication and leadership skills. They will be expected to regularly work alongside other crew members and external consultants, and most importantly, provide guidance to their team.
To be a chief engineer, an engineer must attain a chief engineer's license appropriate to the tonnage, power rating, and type of ship that they are employed on. A chief engineer is ultimately responsible for all operations and maintenance that has to do with any and all engineering equipment throughout the entire ship, and supervises all other engineering officer and engine ratings within the department.
Courses for potential Chief Engineers are designed by experienced engineers who had spent years in the field of engineering already, "To determine the topics that should be included in the certificate, the team undertook an analysis of existing company training materials that were being used for training their senior level project and systems engineers."
A similar training program for potential Chief Engineers, the Certified Chief Engineer (CCE) Training is also being developed by the National Association of Hotel & Lodging Engineers. The development process of CCE includes gathering the input of various hotel management companies and industry professions. CCE program is designed to provide a curriculum exclusively for hotel engineers and maintenance professionals.
George Hairston: A US Coast Guard Licensed Chief Engineer, who graduated from State University of New York Maritime College. Hairston had sailed on a United States Naval Ship spearhead.
Patrick K. Brown: A US Coast Guard Licensed Chief Engineer, who was associated with discharging waste oil directly overboard. As a result, Chief Engineer Brown faced up to five years of prison time, a potential fine, and a term of probation up to five years.
Tim Olsen: An U.S Coast Guard Licensed Chief Engineer, who sailed on NOAA Ship Nancy Foster, an oceanographic research vessel that became the first U.S. Government ship to visit Cuba since the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.