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Colour deficiency advice needed!
Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2015 7:15 PM
Joined: 04/03/2015
Posts: 2

 I am currently a UK based Civil Engineering student, I decided a while back that the 9-5 just isn't for me, however I intend to graduate this year and finish my degree. I've known for a while that the yachting industry was for me, I actually enjoy working hard at whatever it is, and I love to travel.

However, I recently went to get my ENG 1, I passed everything but the colour blindness part. How will this effect me in the industry? I'm interested in deckie/engineer/deckcrew. 

Any help is much appreciated. 

Posted: Friday, March 6, 2015 9:58 PM
Joined: 09/10/2008
Posts: 134

I had a Chief Engineer who was colour blind - wasn't a big deal, he occasionally had to ask me what colour a wire was, but we worked it out - everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, right?

The only only thing that you cannot do is keep a navigational watch - as I understand it...

Posted: Friday, March 6, 2015 9:59 PM
Joined: 19/11/2014
Posts: 1

hi gobig92

You can take the lantern test which is a last resort and what I took. The mca conduct these in Southampton only, so if you can get down there its for free. Hope this helps.


Posted: Saturday, March 7, 2015 8:18 AM
Joined: 22/09/2008
Posts: 3

MSN 1745 lists the offices that can conduct lantern tests.  There are a few scattered around the country. 

I know at least one Captain who has had a good career in yachting and is colour blind but admittedly it was mainly before everything tightened up regulation wise but he worked on private yachts only and generally under 24m.  

On a positive note my uncle fails the Ishihara (spot) test but passes the lantern test which enabled him to have his whole career flying passenger jets.  So keep your finders crossed.


Dr Ken
Posted: Saturday, March 7, 2015 6:52 PM
Joined: 08/07/2008
Posts: 23


Colour deficiency represents a glass ceiling for new entry deck applicants and is one of the wretched surprises for some candidates who encounter it for the first time at their ENG1 assessment. Deck applicants get an ENG1 stating that they are not fit for lookout duties and a written restriction “no lookout duties” is also included. 

The Lantern Test does represent a ray of hope and some do go on to pass that and over-rule the Ishihara coloured dot test - for life - but a pass is by no means guaranteed. The medical guidance is in MSN 1822 (M) and the Lantern Test centres are listed in Annex B. It has also been possible to have a Lantern Test at the Optometry Division, City University London, till October 2014 and it seems that may still be possible but enquirers are now directed to the MCA initially. 

Other categories, who are not expected to undertake lookout duties, are obviously less concerned about colour deficiency but in a multi-tasking environment it can pose a problem at times for interior staff and for engineers. 

Colour deficient engineers, in particular, can be offered one of a couple of colour matching tests which will allow them to be certified fit for their particular work but a failure on these supplementary tests leads to a written restriction “not fit for work with colour coded cables etc” Quite a lot of people who fail the Ishihara test (numbers from coloured dots) can match colours in one or other of the supplementary tests. These are the Farnsworth D15 colour matching test which involves arranging colours circles into a sequence of gradual change and the City University test which involves identifying a colour match on ten different pages of coloured circles.  Passing either of these opens up the door for work as an engineer (but without being fit for lookout duties – which is not usually relevant to engineers on most yachts and generally not relevant all in the wider merchant marine). So all is not lost! 


Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 8:46 PM
Joined: 04/03/2015
Posts: 2

The replies are much appreciated, thanks guys!

I had my lantern test last week and failed miserably. I have a City University test next week which is a lot less severe from what I hear, so fingers crossed. 

It's seems like colour blindness is such a "grey" area, pardon the pun, when it come to career restrictions. After spending months researching the implications it seems there is a split view on the subject. There are captains saying it's a real black mark on the cv, and others saying it isn't a problem as long as the enthusiasm to work is there. 

It's seems like a big risk, all this money to spend to gain qualifications and no assurance on prospects. 

Can anyone provide further advice? 

What if I just wanted to just become a deckie/bosun for say 5 years?

How would I get into engineering? 


 Average 5 out of 5