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The master & apprentice
Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 1:05 PM
Joined: 17/06/2008
Posts: 70

Expecting to waltz into yachting and become a competent engineer is unrealistic, because most engineers work solo and are self taught. Large yachts offer better training opportunities for newbie engineers if the captain and chief are given sufficient resources develop a structured training system. The deck side of the business is more able to deliver on the job training because there is a clear team structured and task book which defines precisely what tasks and skills need to be achieved. For engineers the old school concept of Master and Apprentice is valid because apprentices follow a structure education and path, which focuses on three aspects of vocational development; Training – theoretical education and workplace experience Mentoring – a career guru that takes you under their wing Counseling – correction of behavioral deficiencies The AEC course is a pointless and nobody bothers to become a MEOL people bypass this certificate and go straight onto the MCA Y4 When will engineers get a task book and provided a realistic pathway to competence? Good second engineers are hard to find, especially if you want a someone that truly wants to learn and take the time to become an engineer.
Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 9:22 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024

Its not just a shortage of second engineers , its a shortage of general engineering skills in the whole yacht scene. Simply ask any contractor. Contractors spend way to much time these days performing routine yacht maintenance. Not to long ago a captain was an engineer who drove yachts. If you look at the present yacht scene, you observe that each spring great hoards of young people swarm to the waterfront and sign on as deckhands. For these young deckhands its easy to understand how to go from squeegee operator to captain in several easy steps. Engineering is hidden behind machine room doors, licensing jargon and is untouchable for these young crew.. It would be good for the whole yacht industry if a position called " deckhand engineer " existed. Half day manning the squeegee on deck, half day helping out with the mechanical details of the yacht. I think that you would be surprised how many of these young people have strong mechanical skills acquired fixing motorbikes or John deer tractors. If you grab these young crew early I believe that you can steer them toward engineering.
Oceana Logistics
Posted: Saturday, November 7, 2009 5:03 PM
Joined: 28/07/2009
Posts: 3

There are valid points in both posts, Dean...definitely or good point for the industry to take note.
I am a Y2 Chief who has been in yachting for nearly a decade & I have experienced a few 2nd's. Some survive some don't !!
I am ex military (Australia) so I have been taught from the ground up, including completing a task book to earn my position in the engineering dept as well to earn my next rank. I truly believe a regulatory task book would be a great asset to the yachting industry.
It would certainly help weed out the so called "yellow pages" engineers, those who pick up the phone & dial a contractor.....of which a decky is certainly capable. Too many times I have seen boats around me have contractors crawling all over the vessel looking to solve generally small problems, or worse...performing a regular machinery service, the problem I personally see with all if this as that the owner is paying someone twice, the engineer onboard who should know his vessel backwards and the contractor !! all along this process has absorbed more money than the actual problem.............anyway back to the subject........2nd Engineers !!
Unfortunately some of the reasons for the interest in engineering or becoming a 2nd is money, generally bringing in guys who want the salary without the commitment to the training and work required to learn what can take years.
For those who have a genuine interest because they are mechanically minded or better still are very willing to do what ever it takes to get there, I have all the time in the world for. I have had a couple of 2nds that came from the deck dept and have now moved on to be successful Chiefs, but not without great commitment, guys who have worked there regular day on deck, only to come & find me to help with engine services, minor repairs, major repairs or just to get to know the engine & systems better.......all in their own time.
So in all I am a strong believer in a structured learning system for all engineers, especially those wanting to be an engineer. We are responsible for multi millions of dollars worth of machinery as well the integrity of the vessel & most importantly the SAFETY of all onboard.
SO for those of you thinking of joining the ranks of engineering, please take time to Do It Once,  Do It Right !!

Posted: Saturday, November 7, 2009 6:23 PM
Joined: 25/06/2009
Posts: 277

How about finding good Second Engineers in the (fairly large) pool of those engineers (e.g., diesel, electronic, electrical) who have learned their trade "on shore". In their case you could obtain experience in short order with a minor update in yacht specific systems and STCW Basic Safety Training? (especially if you are looking for Information Technology skills - computers, Audio Visual, Satellite Comms/Internet, etc.).



Posted: Sunday, November 8, 2009 10:39 PM
Joined: 30/06/2009
Posts: 2

I'm a land based engineer with 10 years experience in the automotive and aerospace industries. I have an HND in Mechanical Engineering and a BSc Degree. I've recently decided to (try to) transfer my skills to the yachting industry, and this forum seems particular relevant. In particular, I  have been wondering if it is possible to get work on yachts and gain experience and knowledge from senior engineers etc. Personally, being in my mid thirties, I would jump at the chance to work under a more experienced engineer to get me up to speed. I was intending to follow the official path and get my AEC and MEOL, but Dean's post suggests I might be wasting my time? A more structured system with a task book sounds like a good idea to me, as long as it is also possible to "carry-over" skills from other industries.
(Any other tips on getting a start in the industry would be much appreciated)

Posted: Monday, November 9, 2009 12:44 PM
Joined: 17/06/2008
Posts: 70

Martin, I would contact the MCA and press for RPL (recognition of prior learning), several years ago I had a second engineer that had qualifications that matched yours and he was allowed to go directly for the MCA Y4 COC once he accumulated the sea time. A well written letter, resume and certified copies of your qualification could go a long way to being grandfathered into the system and having your qualifications recognized. The contact information is below. Telephone: +44 (0)2380 329 254 Fax: +44 (0)2380 329 252 Email
Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 7:33 PM
Joined: 30/06/2009
Posts: 2

Thanks Dean, that sounds very promising! I shall give them a call and find out more. Appreciate the info.

Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 4:02 AM
Joined: 28/11/2009
Posts: 4

The problem I see with yacht engineers is exactly as Oceana Logistics points out, there are a large number of Yellow Pages engineers out there.  It is all too easy to say you are an engineer, but not really have the knowledge to back this up.  Sure there are some great engineers out there, and hopefully there will be another if the MCA are kind to Martin, but a lot lack the technical know how through lack of a formal training period.  Engineering can't all be learned out of a book and some on job training is essential, but solely on the job training is also questionable. 

Theory is a big part of our job and as such a formal course should be mandatory.  I am thinking particularly of instances where I have set foot on a yacht and been appalled by the electrical maintenance in particular.  Stews were getting zapped by lamp fittings, emergency lighting wires had been cut to clear an earth fault (that will tend to happen if you connect the live and earth wire as opposed to the neutral....), lights that never worked due to the transformers being wired incorrectly.....  Just some of the basic faults as my list goes on, it is scary stuff as it risks everyone on board.

A shore based apprenticeship irons out a lot of these problems but a basic skills bench test should be called on as  a legal requirement for all yachts before someone starts calling themselves and engineer.

FAO:  Martin,

I fully agree with the previous post by Dean regarding contact with the MCA as they are ultimately the ones who will issue you with your ticket, You may also find it useful contacting one of the Maritime colleges for help.  I gather from the fact you have an HND you are from the UK?,  so would suggest contacting any of the following institutes:

Glasgow College of Nautical Studies

South Tyneside College

Warsash Maritime Academy

My understanding of it is that Warsash tend be the most helpful, as they have more yacht industry contact than the other two, who tend to focus more on the commercial shipping side of things.  That said arranging STCW95 courses through any of the above shouldn't be a problem.  There are also other training establishments for this in the UK:  Aberdeen, Fleetwood & Hull being some that spring to mind having been to those myself at one time or another.

S.Hutchison (Engineering Liaison)

Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 8:02 PM
Joined: 22/07/2009
Posts: 97

       It's perfect when a Captain \ Owner trusts and supports the crew.  Probably doesn't happens much more because of crew leaving the workplace after investments made in their career. I've heard before of ( and notice that for me until proven it's a mith!!!) owners who invest in the crew knowledge and pay their courses and new hightec products workshops & upgrades.

       Even with with good education, if you have a great experienced tutor \ master it does all the difference, when you learn directly, get to know your boat, usual maintennance  times, repairs, where to look and how to start. Then you can make the check list \ task book!! Of that boat.

"Large yachts offer better training opportunities for newbie engineers if the captain and chief are given sufficient resources develop a structured training system" »»»  The Mith   Hope this is true!!!!