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Be nowhere & done nothing, but know it all
Septic tank
Posted: Friday, October 8, 2010 10:45 PM
Joined: 02/11/2009
Posts: 79


So you finally decided to make something of yourself. With no trade, no diploma, no degree and only odd jobs as a handyman, bar tending, waiting tables or whatever you decide to become an “ENGINEER”. How is that working out for you? I’ve seen wannabe engineers come and go, the best of them had three things in common – 1) They were self starters that read all the technical manuals 2) They knew what they knew and strived to learn and do more each and every day 3) They listened and could make intelligent suggestions when innovation was required. The worst of them were the first sit down, the last to stand up, constantly tried to validate their failures and always challenged good advice. I don’t believe arrogance is a generational thing, but I certainly do believe the feeling of self entitlement so many greenhorns possess is. It’s good to reach for the sky, but it is better to keep your feet firmly placed on the ground when you’re starting out and trying to become an engineer, because there is much to learn and assuming too much will kick your ass every time.
Rusty Wrench
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 8:27 AM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207


What utter drivel.
Septic tank
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 10:49 AM
Joined: 02/11/2009
Posts: 79


Drivel, so you’re saying engineering candidates with an interest to listen, learn and improve whilst working within a team are less likely to succeed, compared to those who move slowly, back chat and fail to follow simple instructions. Dude have you managed junior crew? In my day intimidation, ridicule and stern words sorted the men from the boys. Our politically correct world and generation Y don’t follow old school rules; therefore getting the best out of people requires more subtle guidance of those beneath you. I am challenged everyday by subordinate crew with confidence that exceeds their ability. Steering green crew in the right direction is an uneasy science, because you’re always balancing individual potential against practical knowledge and adjusting attitudes. Attitude is what it is all about, the attitude of the team leader and the attitudes of the team; everyone needs to start somewhere and everyone progresses at different rates. It is imperative that people are given tasks which achieve success, whether you’re stretching someone beyond their comfort level or asking them to perform a mundane job that needs to be done is of no consequence, because the overall goal is the success of the team. So like it or not there is a certain percentage of people that will toe the line and a certain number of people that will buck the systems and wander off in their own direction when crappy jobs need doing. Bumping people in the right direction in today’s world is all about attitude adjustment, I find highlighting individual strengths to the team and placing responsibility directly back onto team members with deficient attitudes or work performance works extremely well, because people always know when they are on their back foot. For example I had an assistant engineer that either arrived 30 seconds before time or arrived 30 seconds late, while not a big problem it was certainly the seed for a larger issue if left unchecked. I could very easily have ignored his shabby time keeping, nevertheless I chose to make a statement to him about this in the ECR, his initial reaction was “I was told 0800 hours was start time and what clock should he follow because no two clocks are the same on this boat”. In response to his backchat I reminded him that on two occasions we had to wait for him during crew meetings with the captain and I could not understand how everyone else managed to be there on time and explained it is his responsibly to arrive at work on time, not mine and if he wished to explain to the captain why 13 other crew needed to stand around while we waited for him I’d greatly appreciate it. This particular chap is a good egg that just needs to work within his abilities and not his full potential, i.e. keep his feet firmly placed on the ground until he is in charge.
junior
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 2:13 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


You can avoid much of the above by choosing crew whose desire to succeed is greater than their knowledge and paper qualification. Desire is everything. To many times I see motivated hard working kids sidelined from introductory yacht positions because they are missing some piece of paper that proves they know how to turn a screwdriver. The influence of paper " permission to turn a screwdriver" tickets has attracted far too many crew without a powerful desire to sail yachts. .Young crew with desire go to bed at night thinking of the work they must accomplish the next day, always ask the right questions and always arrive on time, ready for action. Just consider the Kiwi kid who recently posted on Dockwalk that his desire to get on the yachts was so great that he was willing to work for free. Id expect that this Kiwi will develop into a first class yacht crew very rapidly.
Chief
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 2:59 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


"To many times I see motivated hard working kids sidelined from introductory yacht positions because they are missing some piece of paper that proves they know how to turn a screwdriver."

There are no end of opportunities for "motivated hard working kids" to find entry level jobs on boats. The only jobs from which they are excluded are those on boats which operate commercially and must meet the requirements of the safe manning document.

Minimum safe manning is established to protect  paying passengers (and crew) who may not be in a position to determine the competence of the vessel's officers and crew. I am sure there are many enthusiastic young people who excel at working a computer flight simulator program but until they have done the training and passed the exams they aren't pilots. The same goes for surgeons, dentists, lawyers, aircraft mechanics, nuclear powerplant operators or any other skilled endeavor which we have decreed our safety and health are best served by certification.

The sentiment you expressed is the root of a great many problems with yacht crewing at present, among which are fraudulent licenses and liability problems that no owner should ever be exposed.

Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 4:27 PM
I think people underestimate the job of engineer; you can train a monkey to press a series of buttons in sequence, but can the monkey deal with a sequential failure and understand the processes occurring behind each button stroke? I’ve been an engineer for more than 20 years and I can assure you it takes much more than a few MCA modules and a handful of sea days to experience the best and worst of marine engineering. Everything from knowing how to correctly select a tapping drill for a M12 x 1.75 bolt, wire up a D.O.L start contact, change out fuel injectors, troubleshoot hydraulic circuits, manage people and projects takes time to master. A good engineer has mastered the job of diesel mechanic, electrician, plumber, carpenter, IT technician and then some. Youngsters survive as yacht engineers because there is an abundance of contractors that will do the job for them when it is beyond them. Yachting is the light version of marine engineering, few days are spent underway, even less are spent in heavy weather and the majority of yachts venture no more than 60nm from shore. Engineers that come into yachting with a trade and/or commercial qualifications, have the fundamental education, knowledge and skills required on more adventurous yachts that make long ocean passages and work beyond the milk run. In the real world people can either do the job or not and if greenhorns can do the job and pass all the exams along the way good on them, but can somebody explain the abnormally high failure rate amongst engineering candidates following the yacht pathway. Is it the teaching material or the materials teachers are working with?
junior
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 4:59 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Well Chief, to take advantage of a Tax fiddle, virtually every yacht in this marina is registered commercial. The result is crew agents assume entry level jobs on all yachts must be filled by Commercially legal crew. In the US, with youth unemployment i comparatively low and wages high, its not a problem for a young person to save a few dollars then "Play the ticket game" to get their first introductory deckhands position and start the career ball rolling. In the country I am at present, youth unemployment is 40 percent. A young kids chance of cleaning tables at a restaurant to save up for introductory yacht tickets is NILL. Too many young motivated kids are being locked off yachts in favour of under motivated semi skilled " ticket holders" because of the yachting industries adoption of Tax sheltered commercial registration as the cheapest way to take your family to the beach in summer . Young motivated people get shutout from the base of the job pyramid.
Chief
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 5:27 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


"... can somebody explain the abnormally high failure rate amongst engineering candidates following the yacht pathway. Is it the teaching material or the materials teachers are working with?"

Someone could write a book to answer that question. I'll just editorialize for a few paragraphs.

The MCA yacht licensing scheme does not require the candidate for an engineering certificate to spend one single day working under the supervision or guidance of a licensed marine engineer. It is possible to progress from enthusiastic teenager to Y1 without any input, criticism, advice, guidance or oversight from another engineer at sea or ashore. As a matter of fact it doesn't even require much more than a few hours in an operating engine room. This is the polar opposite of any technical training process in any other industry created by mankind since the first caveman showed his pals how to chip a rock to make cutting tools.

If what we read in the many yacht industry periodicals is representative of reality, and I personally believe it is, formal training is viewed by most "engineers" as an expensive and pointless hurdle. "Why do I have to learn this?" is an all too common complaint from those who don't know what they don't know. "Why do I have to learn about systems, components, techniques, that are not used on my boat?" is the question asked by those who believe that they only need to learn which button to press rather than what that button controls and why it works the way it does.

There isn't a great deal of training material that focuses on yachts alone because the physics of processes and the techniques used on yachts apply across the breadth of marine machinery. The yacht industry is a microscopic part of the marine industry and doesn't provide much of a market for those who might write training material for an audience that doesn't value it anyway. The bulk of the study material that exists was written for professional mariners by the manufacturers and operators of shipboard systems and equipment used on larger ships. The tests were written by and for professional marine engineers who have learned over generations of ship operations what fundamental skills and knowledge is important. There are instructors who find it difficult to establish the link between process, machine, the developmental history of that process and machinery and the foundation a new marine engineer must establish. Some of them are more interested in a student's approval and a good evaluation than what the student takes from the class.

Personally, I have become more skeptical and more than a bit cynical over the past few years as I have witnessed the results of a licensing system that imposes no real demand for skills, training, or competence. The regulators themselves don't even take it seriously - yet.

Chief
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 5:39 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


" A young kids chance of cleaning tables at a restaurant to save up for introductory yacht tickets is NILL".

However that same kid might well find employment sweeping the floor at a shipyard or shop that performs maintenance of marine machinery. Why would anyone with the aptitude and burning desire to become a marine engineer clean tables rather than clean the floor around a piece of machinery?

Saving up to buy a "yacht ticket" is the root of our problems. A teenager who will do anything just to get close enough to an engine room to smell hot oil and diesel exhaust is the guy we are looking for, not a skilled busboy with a yacht ticket purchased from some storefront license mill.



junior
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 6:48 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Chief, first you have to actually get your feet on a yacht , investigate whether its the career for you, then you may pursue additional education to bring your skill level up. When you enforce a system with obstacles like union rules, MLC working conditions, contracts , legal protections , that are all reliant on expensive to acquire paper tickets, you simply shelter older workers and discourage newcomers. As I see it the goal is to encourage motivated young crew to get onboard , save a few dollars during high season, then pursue education which brings them up to the qualification they wish to acquire. Year after year its the young crew with desire and limited skills who I see work hardest, stick it out and progress thru the chain of command.. As for a young kid working in a shipyard sweeping floors...when unemployment is touching 40 percent, fully qualified engineers are sweeping the shop floor...not so easy for a young kid to get his hand on the broom.
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 7:17 PM
I am betwixt and be twiddled, as to how can I provide a coherent answer to the systemic problem of “Yacht Engineer Training”. The DIY mentality of yacht engineer training is precisely why most yacht engineers are unable to explain the fundamental operation principals of the machinery they are supposed to manage, log, operate, maintain and repair. Let’s ask an imaginary yacht engineer a few questions and see what sort of responses you can expect. 1. Where is the Oil Record Book? – Um ah hang on it should be here, oh here it is. 2. Ok so why haven’t you kept this document up to date? – Um ah well we are always urr busy and I update whenever I have time. 3. Where are your bunker check sheets? – O.K. that’s on the too do list, sorry. Besides we are not ISM 4. Can I look at your engine room log book please? – We are not ISM so we don’t bother. 5. So how to manage and record preventative maintenance, breakdown maintenance and machinery change over cycles? – Uh well we have this management software, but it needs to be updated and well we are too busy trying to keep up with work so there is no time for organization. 6. OK then how do you produce refit work plans, resource budgets and determine the exact condition of the machinery systems? – Good question, well we just do what needs to be done and focus on whatever crisis is occurring on the day. 7. Do you have standing orders and check lists for machinery start up, operations and shut down? – No, we just know how to get it all running and deal with problems as they occur. 8. Do you have a spare parts inventory and document the storage areas of items kept onboard and ashore? - No, we never have anytime to organize our spares we just know where things should be 9. Would you say you’re a proactive engineer or a reactive engineer? – Uh well I am always busy dealing with breakdowns and no have time to become organized. --------With the money so called engineers get paid, wouldn’t you expect them to be highly organized professional that methodically manage daily task and control the machinery system, rather than have the daily tasks and machinery systems control routines. Chaos, mayhem, mess and uncontrolled expenditures is standard operation of yachts, lord knows how much money is wasted on the average yacht because there is no time to become organized when you’re busy. The first thing I do when I join a yacht is organize the logs, record books, manuals, spares inventories, clear out the clutter, clean, inspect, test and determine precisely what works and what doesn’t. Once I’ve attained a clear snap shot of the machineries condition I create wish list and present it to the boss. Guess what happens then, NOTHING, yachting is all about perception and not reality, spending money to correct the errors of the past and acknowledging a systemic problem exists onboard and that people have failed to perform their work on all levels is simply too much to digest and therefore the status quo and chaos remain until the vessel changes hands and a multimillion dollar refit is required. Change is often discussed in yachting, as is the need for transparency but nothing really ever comes of it because there’s much more money to be made when people don’t do their jobs and create extra work when the work should already have been done.
Chief
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 7:18 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 341


OK Junior, you're a captain, hire them. Who is stopping you?

You just can't hire a new kid to fill a position on the safe manning document if he or she doesn't hold the required certification. Why is this a problem?

If you believe flag is getting in your way then ask flag to change the safe manning document. If they won't then go private and do what you want.

If you want to make money hauling passengers and call your boat a commercial vessel then be a grownup and follow the rules the  rest of  the working world has to follow. The charter industry doesn't exist to provide job exposure to enthusiastic teenagers.



junior
Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 9:07 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


I do. And remember the original post concerned motivation , attitude and desire to learn. I maintain that young crew , minus experience and tickets, work harder and are easier to keep pointed in the correct direction because they have the desire. How they best capitalize on this desire to pursue further career advances is always their decision. We all know that crew will soon run into a brick wall without proper qualification.
rseid3
Posted: Sunday, October 10, 2010 12:41 AM
Joined: 14/09/2010
Posts: 3


junior, you seem like a knowledgeable guy about the Ft. Lauderdale yacht industry.
could i call ya and ask you a few questions??
robby,  rseid3@gmail.com

Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 4:19 AM
Rusty Wrench, I agree, this entire thread is an utter load of drivel. Greenhorn engineer? Someone is watching too much Deadliest Catch.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 1:36 PM
Junior, are you saying that crew that have gone out of their way, (sometimes without paid leave), and spent thousands of dollars on tickets to further their knowledge, have LESS desire than others? You need to re-think your argument.
junior
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:45 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1026


Well anonymous....tickets and store bought knowledge mean nothing. The world is awash with beached ticket holders. Carefully read all dockwalk posts and you will never and I repeat... NEVER !!! read a post in which a yacht crew is technically challenged by their job. All comments on yachty threads revolve are... I need a vacation, the food sucks, I ain't getting paid enough, my back hurts ,I need a day off, that guy ain't got a tickets, my captains a jerk ........... Now you know the secret anonymous, Yachting is a non technically challenging job. The absolutely best crew are not the ones who bought the tickets, its the crew who have unstoppable energy, can work weeks on end without a break, have no distracting shore side liabilities , have maritime aptitude and actually enjoy what they are doing . Only these crew can last the distance and progress thru the minefield of International Yachting .
Brian
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 9:02 PM
Joined: 06/09/2010
Posts: 3


Has the super yacht industry got that bad that people want to sit safely behind their computer screens and bag the people (engineers) that will hopefully get them home if things go wrong? Have some Engineers become that bad that some people WANT to bag them? What the hell is going on out there? "License to turn a screwdriver"? Whoever wrote that statement has clearly never been down in an engine room when things are really falling apart. Im sure there are bad engineers just as there are bad Skippers, deckies, stewies etc so why bag the men and (few) women who keep your ship running, your air con cold and your toilets clear(yes, its a shitty job sometimes)? Jealousy that we get paid more than you (excepting Captains)??? Are there any sensible people out there who know the real responsibility that a Chief Engineer has on his shoulders??? Reading these threads is a pretty sad reflection of what this industry is really about. If you think Engineers are overpaid and underworked then why not try your luck and get your tickets? If you have no interest in becoming an Engineer then do your own job and stop bitching. 18 yo deckhand or 50 yo Chief Engineer,some good, some bad. Grow up and live with it. If your so opinionated and need to speak out, then why not go down to the engine room the next time its blowing a force 10 and the ship is one engine down and the hydraulics have failed and tell the Engineers to their face that you think their not worth their their weight in salt...Licensing does not necessarily make you a good Engineer, and having no license does not necessarily make you a bad Engineer.
Rusty Wrench
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 11:38 PM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207


Dear Brian, what is your point?
Brian
Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2010 6:06 AM
Joined: 06/09/2010
Posts: 3


Hi Rusty wrench. After reading these posts i didnt know there was a point...Would these threads not be more beneficial if people were constructive in their criticism? Maybe im not getting the point as i have not learned one thing from what has been written so far. Do people expect that ALL Engineers should be super professional & know everything? Are they saying that ticketing is good or bad? Ive only read peoples self opinions on the matter with nobody coming to any sort of answer on the issue. If its me thats missing the point then so be it. Carry on.
GuyEngineer
Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:19 PM
Joined: 20/01/2010
Posts: 4


Well, after reading the thread, i am compelled to offer my thoughts on this subject. The comments about engineers and thier skills are wide and varied, but one thing is clear....there is little respect for the work carried out by the engineer. We keep your arse dry....The engineer is responsible for the water tight integrity of the vessel, among many other duties. So next time you ponder how lucky you are to be on this luxury yacht with a comfortable cabin, think of the person taking care of that for you. Every crew member has an inportant role in the big scheme of things, but remember this...How far would your boat run without the engineer??? I rest my case.
Anonymous
Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2010 11:40 PM
I thought it was the mate kept us dry, he is responsible for stability, watertight integrity and keeping off the rocks.....you would have been more correct in saying that you keep the water hot, the crew cabins cold and the washing machines turning. hahaha
 
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