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Engineer and tender driving.
RobbyP
Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:54 AM
Joined: 14/05/2010
Posts: 8


Hello,

I would appreciate some opinions on whether or not a sole engineer on a vessel of 30m with five crew should take it in turns with the deck/mate to be on tender duty on a daily basis?

The reason I ask is because twice in the last month I (engineer) have been off the vessel on tender duties, to find on my return that alarms (which I won't go into detail about) had been silenced but not properly investigated nor resolved. On both occaisions, had I not returned (by chance) to the vessel when I did, the situation would have rapidly become serious.

Don't get me wrong, its part of my job and I enjoy helping out on deck and doing short tender runs,  but I do feel its a huge safety issue to be away from the vessel for extended periods while at anchor with machinery running.





Egbert
Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 12:54 PM
Joined: 27/10/2008
Posts: 4


"On both occaisions, had I not returned (by chance) to the vessel when I did, the situation would have rapidly become serious." Surely you have answered your own question. If the rest of the crew are not capable or disinclined to attend to alarms then there are deeper problems/issues at hand.
RobbyP
Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 4:21 PM
Joined: 14/05/2010
Posts: 8


Egbert wrote:
"On both occaisions, had I not returned (by chance) to the vessel when I did, the situation would have rapidly become serious." Surely you have answered your own question. If the rest of the crew are not capable or disinclined to attend to alarms then there are deeper problems/issues at hand.

Yes agreed I know its wrong and change is needed. I'm looking for others opinions in a similar situation crew/vessel size. Do you like me have to religiously take it in turns to drive regardless or just help out when necessary? When I say drive I don't mean quick pick up - drop offs, I mean water sports or exploring the coastline with guests etc


junior
Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 5:53 PM
Joined: 14/01/2009
Posts: 1024


On a 5 crew boat obviuosly the engineer does tender duty. Unfortunately it Sounds like you dont have crew, youre operating with a boatload of superyacht chimps. All crew should know how to respond to an alarm and every watchkeeper should know how to deal with the alarm. Get rid of those yacht chimps and recruit some crew. I suggest , right now that you purchase a few dozen bananas, place these bananas on the dock next to the shoe basket , then shout into the crew galley FREE BANNAS ! The chimps will scamper onto the dock to feast on the bananas . Once the chimps are ashore you can simply call Animal Control and have those pesky marine chimps caged and hauled off the waterfront. Then hire real crew. Do remember to instruct each crew on Alarm procedures . show them the ALARMS LOGBOOK with its ACTION TAKEN entry. Clarify youre mobile phone contact in the logbook in case you are not onboard to answer a technical alarm. For instance if the stewardess responds to ENGINE ROOM FAILURE ALARM, smoke and flames are pouring out of the machine room vents and she observes the captain and mate jump over the side . A simple phone call to you will calm things down and clarify her response procedure
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 6:00 PM
same size: I dont think that the engineer should be on prolonged journeys if say the crew left on board are uncapable of maintaining running gear/ systems or what have you. 5 crew on a 30m!!!! is alot! surely the deckie can manage it!
aspicer
Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 10:44 PM
Joined: 05/08/2010
Posts: 8


They have walkie talkies these days. They should be one used on the tender anyway. The Captain and Engineer need to make a standing order that when an alarm goes off - it is noted, written down (in case it cannot be saved in the electronics hardware?), and passed by radio to the Engineer. That way you can make the decision if it's critical and you need to come back. If you need to come back - explain to the guests you have to save the ship and that's why the early return. (Cell phone - as someone else mentioned - as a backup to walkie talkies if necessary.)
aspicer
Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 10:53 PM
Joined: 05/08/2010
Posts: 8


Actually the yachts VHF radio system with more power and topside antenna can reach much further than walkie talkies. Tender probably should have VHF onboard anyway with a good antenna. If you use walkie talkies hold the radio with the antenna vertical and raised up a bit. Someone inside the boat talking to someone on tender should go outside maybe to make the call if it's a walkie to walkie call. That way no radio obstructions. You can call on VHF 16 and switch to another channel. Make sure crew knows how to switch channels on VHF on the boat - as well as on walkie talkies. Many current walkies are using UHF land mobile channels. But the range may not be as good on those as VHF would be.
sean
Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 11:52 PM
Joined: 05/06/2008
Posts: 88


not to demean you bud, but this is so basic its embaressing for your captain. if your pulling double duty, then those inboard while you off should be doing the same. a 5 crew yacht that requires the engineer to pull tender duty also requires a captain to pull engineering responsibilities while your off. he and only he should be acknowledging alarms, investigating the issues and reporting to you. if his ego gets in the way of pulling engineering responsibilities, then he can pull you off tender duty
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 1:04 AM
I am a mate/engineer on a 35m sailing vessel, I understand your situation, had to skipper the boat sometimes with just a deckhand and a cook and guest on-board. Always bring a radio with if you need to be away with the boat. Share your knowledge with the rest of the crew. Make them get involve with the minor engineering works for them to understand how the system runs. To avoid problem, keep the boat on a standby mode if possible when you are away.
Henning
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 2:03 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1061


What you need to do is set a rounds list for whomever it is that has the deck watch while you have tender duty, take the crew through the list and show em what's what. Find the deckie or stew who shows interest and start training them on engineering. There also should be an alarm list with explanations and resolution actions. Most of all, you should have a radio and leave standing orders to call you on receipt of an alarm. What really concerns me though is your captain. If he is sending you off the boat to drive the tender, he should be taking the engineering duties during that time if there is no one else to do it. That you come back to unresolved and silenced alarms that you didn't know of, that is not good whatsoever. You have a weak captain so be careful.
Moleisk
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 6:08 AM
Joined: 24/03/2011
Posts: 4


As a chief engineer I always had a second to look after matters if I was not on board so I did do the odd tender pick up and drop off, but I still insisted that I stay on board as my place was on the vessel at all times, as a sole engineer you should not leave the vessel but as we all know in the boating would this is not alway possible, I would always teach one of the stew's what to do if the alarm went off as they would be the first to hear it, the deck guys are always top side and the captain well we never know what he is doing, the stew would check the alarm and inform the captain and thus he would get hold of me, always take your cell phone as VHF are not always reliable this way you can always be reached. I hope this helps you good luck.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 2:25 PM
Haha.. I find this so funny. Deckies will do just about anything just short of throwing you overboard so they can move up in rank, however they cant even run a tender. I feel sorry for you dude. not only do you have to makes sure all the systems are running on board your vessel, you have to do a deckhands job as well. I can understand if you were hired as a engineer/mate but if you have a deck hand on board wtf. Were they too tired? Did they get a blister on their poor lil finger? Where is your Captain during all of this? Up in his cabin a sleep? Maybe he is to busy trying to impress the stew? This is why I got out of the industry. I refuse anymore to put my life in the hands of people that just want a "cool" job no one wants to take the responsibility to learn anything . The are so quick to tell you in an interview while showing off and being so proud of that lil tender license, that they can run a tender, when in fact we all know they can get them self out of a wet paper bag without their mommies help. Do your self a favor man , find your self a real boat with a real captain that knows how to put together a real crew. What happen to the days of busting your ass? running back and forth keeping the boat clean running guest where ever on the tender and also still helping out your fellow crew-member? This industry has turned into one big hurry up hit the dock and lets go drink...

Good luck

Henning
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 4:27 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1061


Get a grip and a clue dude, you have a 5 crew boat in service, very likely that deckhands are needed for onboard duties in the service of the yacht, we get some very high maintenance guests.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 4:51 PM
As a captain surely you have some what of engineering skills and an understanding of their boat as the 'master' and should be capable of handling the situation. If the deckie is required on board then why not get the boat to 'buy' him his AEC (Anybody can Engineer Certificate) and teach him a few things in the E.R and make him help with L.O changes on mains and gens, run through different alarms/ scenario's so he is comfortable shall a day come where he needs to change an impellar/belt or prime the mains fuel lines...
Anonymous
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 7:04 AM
Hi there,

You have a valid point as I am engineer/mate on a charter yacht, hold my Y3 and I am the one who has to do all the tender runs as the deck/stew onboard needs to be with the guests. I had a similar problem back  this year, we were on the hook and I had to collect the guests. I notified the skipper and the crew that I was transferring fuel. If the alarm went off then I showed them what to do etc beforehand. As you can guess the day tank alarm sounded whilst I was out in the tender, some idiot accepted it but did not stop the fuel seperator. I come back and there is 200l of diesel in my bilge. The captain had the audacity to blame me for not being on board for it and not notifying anyone. Upon further investigation the chief stew had accepted the alarm but didnt know what to do, even though I showed her. I had both my mobiles and the vhf radio on and not a single call.

The problem I now had was fuel in my bilge and a fire danger, it made life very difficult for me and cost the boat in excess of 1000 euros to be rectified etc.

My advice, only go in the tender if you are confident the crew can deal with any situation, if not then stay on board. At the end of the day its your license, your life and your ticket to make a living.



Captain Andy
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 11:23 AM
Joined: 17/09/2008
Posts: 93


 A Y3 engineer should know that he shouldn't leave a fuel transfer in progress if he hands over the watch. The 'Rules' state that you should secure the system and then hand over the watch for the oncoming engineer (responsible person) to restart the transfer: or not to hand over the watch until the transfer is complete and the system secured. Either way to leave a yacht whilst doing a fuel transfer just shows a total lack of professionalism and understanding of the 'Rules'. Lastly, time management and fatigue issues are also raised by your actions!!

ratpack
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 5:50 PM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 100


As a crew member on a smaller boat with less crew, you have to be flexible and able to do other tasks - there is no other way around that fact, there are simply not enough of you on board to stick to your 'job description'. Try addressing the 'accepting alarms issue'. I have a rule that for the first 10 seconds, give me time to accept it, if after 10 seconds it is still ringing, then other crew can accept it but the person that hit the silence button is immediately responsible for telling me about it without delay. If you leave the boat, never do it without a radio and/or a telephone [comment edited by moderator]

Anonymous
Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 6:34 PM
Firstly, to the guy above who left a fuel transfer running and left the boat. What the hell were you thinking? Yes, he was right to blame you. You could've easily stopped it and resumed when you returned. If you let the fuel level get that low in the first place then again, your fault. Ideally boats should have a pager system connected to the alarm system but as usual this is not always going to happen. While you're on tender runs i'm assuming the deckie is still working back on the boat, yes? If so, can you not just take over these jobs so he can continue to do tender runs. Safety is safety at the end of the day.
Henning
Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012 1:14 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1061


" As a captain surely you have some what of engineering skills and an understanding of their boat as the 'master' and should be capable of handling the situation. If the deckie is required on board then why not get the boat to 'buy' him his AEC (Anybody can Engineer Certificate) and teach him a few things." If that was referenced to me, you are correct and I actually know more than a little bit about engineering, and that is what I do is cross train all my crew; as I said, he has a very weak captain.
Rusty Wrench
Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012 2:21 AM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207


Hmmm, cross training the crew. Lets see how that really works. Engineer in the galley whilst Chef in engine room or drives the tender? NO. Engineer serving food/drinks/making beds whilst the stewardess in engine room or drives the tender? NO. Engineer ranting on the computer about 'superyacht chimps' whilst the Captain in engine room/playing golf or very occasionally driving the tender? NO. Deck hand/Chef/stewardess/Mate/Bosun/captain attempting to operate engine room whilst engineer drives the tender? BINGO!
RobbyP
Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012 6:12 AM
Joined: 14/05/2010
Posts: 8


"attempting to operate engine room whilst engineer drives the tender? BINGO!"

Rusty, wasn't that supposed to read BIGNO as opposed to BINGO? Captain and mate/decky for sure its a given. But interior I think should only be trained with basic skills for when the boat is safely tied up with shore power, not on the hook.

I always have my phone with me and the tender VHF on plus my hand held radio so there is no excuse for the guys not contacting me. What happened was the issues werent properly investigated and I can only assume the thought process was 'its ok engineer will be back soon he will sort it' which is why noone contacted me. That for me is where the safety issue is, intervention and resolution should have been immediate to prevent escalation; fine, send me out on the tender but do the necessary while I'm away so I don't have to come back to a shit fight not knowing the chain of events after the original alarm/issue.

Admittedly its clear we as a crew need to get our standard procedures cast in stone and actually perform them, when that day comes I'll be more than happy to jump in the tender for duties other than quick runs into port.




Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012 8:53 AM
Not directed at you Henning, rather a sentence summoned from my own experience and people running vessels with no idea where the coolant reservoir is for the mains?!?! Tip of the ice burg... A wise man once said FREEEEEEEEEEEE BANANA'S
Anonymous
Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012 11:16 PM
You still seem to be oblivious to the fact you should never have let a fuel transfer continue while you were off the boat. I wouldn't transfer fuel if i was out of the engine room. There is just too many variables and the consequences can be disastrous. Cross training crew can work up to a point such as answering basic alarms and then alerting an engineer when they don't know what to do. When you leave the boat make sure to do all the things you no on a set of night time checks. Make sure tanks are topped up, oil levels are good, basically check everything so no alarms appear.
John Doe
Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012 1:53 AM
Joined: 13/10/2008
Posts: 78


Chief engineer is a term used to lightly these days. Anything less than a commercial chief or a university educated Y1 is a handy man at best and with the new boats the way they are now, oil change, sea strainer and outboard motor repairs is all they are aloud to touch anyway. So yeah, on a small crew where fatigue sets in on charter and the deck guys need to run the boat at night, maybe an engineer can do a tender run, if he knows how. He might be able to fix it but does he know the rules of the road, how to read a chart or where the hell he s going at night. Doubt it. And Moliesk....."should never leave the engine room" really, 24-7. no beer or hookers ????? No days off ????? Get real. A boat that small with limited crew definitely needs cross training or no-one would ever have any time to them selves, which in turn is another kind of safety issue. And for the big finally, did you really transfer fuel while you were off the boat without telling anyone. A Proper Chief Engineer would never.
John Doe
Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012 2:20 AM
Joined: 13/10/2008
Posts: 78


PS, Captains fire engineers. Engineers don't fire captains. Captains know more than you think.
Rusty Wrench
Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012 5:35 AM
Joined: 21/09/2010
Posts: 207


Engineers don't need to fire Captains. Captains are good at being fired themselves because they think they know more than everyone else about anything and everything.
RobbyP
Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012 6:01 AM
Joined: 14/05/2010
Posts: 8


Not sure who's refering to whom here... just to clarify, I am NOT the guy who left a fuel transfer unattended..!