Q&A with Chief Engineer Diego López

3 March 2023 By Aileen Mack

Associate Editor Aileen Mack joined Dockwalk in July 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. If she’s not at a concert or coffee shop, she is lost in a book, movie or a YouTube rabbit hole. Email Aileen at

Name: Diego Lopez
Position: Chief Engineer
Yacht: M/Y Giraud
LOA: 40m/131' 3"
Builder: Admiral
Years in Current Position: 1
Years in Industry: 12
Previous Vessels: Tanker Ridgebury John Zipser
Nationality: Venezuelan, living in Spain

If I were not on the yacht, I think another area that would catch my attention is the maintenance of aircraft turbines, which I also find interesting.

I graduated as an engineer from the Universidad Maritima del Caribe in Venezuela in 2011. At the beginning of my career, I focused on crude oil tanks' ship maintenance, then I decided to expand and traveled to Fort Lauderdale, where I got my first yacht job through a colleague's recommendation.

I could highlight three challenges of the job. The first challenge is being away from home at all times. The second would be to solve electrical and mechanical failures on board. And the last challenge is the adaptation and coexistence with each of your colleagues on board.

My worst mechanical incident as a yacht engineer was when, during a night of navigation with guests on board, a water pipe broke in the master cabin, leaving some electrical cables damaged, and it needed to be repaired immediately.

The biggest issue facing yacht engineers today is the preservation of the environment while keeping costs low and doing it all in the shortest possible time.

My advice for those looking to get started in yachting is to improve your language, electronic, electricity, home automation, international regulations, and personnel management skills.

My advice for those looking to impress on the job would be to try to do a little more than the average person. And always try to show the better version of yourself.

The yacht world is rapidly advancing toward technology and knowledge, and you need to move fast too.

My greatest achievement is finding a professional and personal balance, and doing what I like and getting paid for it.

The best part about the job is the satisfaction of repairing something on board and the satisfaction in knowing that everything that is your responsibility is working well.


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