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Know any good engineers?
Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 11:07 PM
Joined: 17/06/2008
Posts: 70

Finding work when you’re a  Good Engineer  is never a problem. That being said where are these good engineers and what’s yachting doing about future engineers?


It seems the majority of people see yachting, as an adventure rather than a career, and those who make yachting a career choice tend to go deck side rather than choose engineering. Why is that?


Are engine rooms too hot, loud and boring?


Is engineering to hard?


Is engineering less fun?


Whats the deal?


Engineers are in high demand across all industries and the assumption marine engineers are handy mechanics needs to change, because engineering is more challenging than people realize.


Educating, training and developing well rounded engineer’s takes time and should be seen as an investment. Because a bad engineer can cost the owner loads of money and reduce vessel safety, whereas the good engineer can save money and avoid problems before they arise.


Many of the problems I see on yachts are a direct outcome of poor engineering practice and high staff turn over.


If yachting fails to develop engineers, retain engineers and promote engineering as a viable option the shortfall of engineering candidates will increase.


Operating machinery, maintaining machinery, preventing problems and diagnosing faults is really interesting. Engineering is extremely rewarding and the type of job that makes you think and learn new skills, which are easily transferred to other occupations.


They say engineers are born and not made, while I don’t agree with this idea totally I feel there is an element of truth in this statement, because I tend to approach problems from a different perspective and do well with technical issues. I wish the same could be said about everything I do.


If I couldn't be an engineer on yachts I would not be working in yachting, because the travel and sunshine is not what brought me to yachting. I’d find similar challenges in other industries, because I am drawn to all things technical and logical. The same could be probably said about all yachting jobs.


I guess the difference with engineering is theres less people that way inclined and yachting needs to figure out how to attract future engineers and keep them in the business.


When I’m looking for an engineering candidate I look for more than paper qualifications, I look at their potential and how long they will last in the job. About the time I get people where I need them to be is about the time they are ready to resign and take their first Chief’s job.


Bottom line is I’m reaching the twilight of my seagoing career and see more engineering jobs on the horizon than people qualified and able to fill future positions.


I’ve seen yachting grow exponentially over the years, the days a 50 meter is a big boat are long gone, consequently the skill level of the marine engineer is growing every year.


So do you want to become a good engineer and earn the big bucks or do you choose to follow the crowd and treat yachting like a summer job?

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013 12:03 AM
Joined: 12/12/2010
Posts: 23

Thank you, for what has to be the biggest vote of confidence I have yet to encounter, and there is enough encouragement already out there about officially entering the yacht industry as an engineer at the tender young age of 36. I don't have any real qualifications on paper, but I do have what I think is enough technical experience to get onto a yacht and run with it. I drove tour coaches and greyhound busses all over Southern Africa for many years, a very large area with any kind of support a long way off in some places, hours, maybe a day or 2. Or cruising up the west coast of Africa in a 50 year old Italian passenger ship converted into a hospital and that now does volunteer work, and one of the old DC main engine oil pumps packs up, I have to figure out why, (was the brushes in this case) or while sailing around Cape Cod on a 72ft, the diesel generator stalls, we needed it for the hydraulic steering gear as the batteries were not yet fully charged, I had to go below and bleed it while hanging over at about 30 degrees, we had changed tack and I had not switched the fuel transfer valve over in time, all the fuel flowed over to the other tank and the gen sucked air, was only onboard for a week when this happened, but I very soon got to know the boat, such things didn't happen again. And this is what I live for. So yes, I'm in! where do I sign up?
Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013 5:25 PM

I thoroughly enjoy my job and the challenges it throws at me.  What I really find off putting is finding a boat that offers more than lip service to the notion of planned maintenance.


I tend to think that almost all failures can be avoided with proper, regular maintenance but too many boats have a maintenance plan that amounts to nothing more than waiting for it to break until you fix it.  The boat I am currently on has exactly that philosophy which is why I am now counting down the days until I have made 1 year on board and I can move on.  When a boat has had more engineers than it has had years at sea - it signals problems.

I am certain that almost all will agree, a regular turn over of engineers is bad for a boat.  The perfect scenario for me would be to find one that I can stay with for many years, but they are hard to find - people rarely leave a good vessel.

Sorry for the anon post but my plans to move on must remain a secret for now


Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013 6:34 PM
Joined: 12/12/2010
Posts: 23

Anon, I feel your pain. I had the same type of problem driving busses around Africa. Because I didn't think of myself as just a driver, I tended to look for potential problems with the vehicles I was driving and when I found them would call my employer while far away on tour and tell them they needed to have it looked at in the next town, but so often I got a "yea yea, we'll have a look when you get back to the main workshop", but they often did nothing about it. For example, a gearbox didn't feel right, shifting was difficult, it was making very abnormal noises and jumping out of gear often. They did nothing until it finally broke completely, now I'm stuck with a group of tourists on the side of a busy freeway in the African summer heat, I was unable to get it into neutral in order to keep the engine running for the air-con. Turns out someone at the workshop was putting engine oil in the gearboxes. They lost about 6 gearboxes because of this. So after a while I got tired of looking like an idiot to the tourists when preventable breakdowns kept occurring. My point I think is that this type of problem is not unique to any particular industry, it happens all over, and for various reasons, such as apathy, or lack of finances, or some bosses that are just too cheap to maintain there fleet/equipment properly.
Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013 10:03 PM
Joined: 19/10/2008
Posts: 38

Being, I am a Duely and enjoy engineering more, here goes...

I am a current Master, and current CME.

Engineers have 8 major fields to test on not counting personnel management.

Engineers are paid more for a reason - a vessel can sail without a captain but not sail without an engineer.

The Chief engineer and Master have 4 bars and the engineer is a propeller not a fouled anchor.

The engineer is by USCG Regs, responsible for all equipment on board and the engineer gives engine controls

to the helm and can take it away. Now if the owner doesn't wish to keep the vessel up the engineers are

forgotten about and are thought of as extra help for the chef and deck crew...good reason to find another vessel

Note; Owners to keep your investment very valuable - get and keep a good licensed engineer on board.

Good engineers have many years in the field and have the equipment in focus and first over everything else.

Good engineers covers everyone back - on board and the owner.

Pay for the Engineer it is worth it and you can always find a saves you money in all aspects.

Last but not least - Pay $400 to $600 a day is a standard day rate, for talent, work involved and no BS.