Name: Louis Matthew Bridet
Yacht: M/Y Lucky Wave
LOA: 44.lM/144' 7"
Time in current position: two years
Time in industry: two years
Previous position: Engineer with Sunseeker warranty team
If I wasn't on board, I would still be working as a marine engineer, probably in a shorebased position in Poole, Dorset. When I was working with Sunseeker, I got an insight into life on board, so I made myself available and it went from there.
The engineering and maintenance are the easiest bit of the job; the challenging bit is making sure you get on with everyone. The AV and internet are the most troublesome — they're always working until the owner steps on board. It's important everyone understands it's in everyone's best interests to have everything running correctly, so if they see something broken, they tell me. It's no one's fault if things get broken, you just need a plan to fix them.
I haven't had any major incidents, but the biggest thing I've seen was when a shaft seal fractured and it was impossible to stop the water, even with the bilge pumps working. If you've got spare seals, it's fixable but if not, you've got to get the boat lifted. It's a small thing that turns into a big job.
There are a lot of bigger boats running with [fewer] engineers. There is not always enough space for more than one engineer, but I think they're getting a little stretched in how much they are expected to do. It's not a problem if you keep on top of everything, but as soon as you go to 45 meters, you probably need two people.
When you're expected to help on deck sometimes, people forget you have ror things to do as well. Also, a lot of what we deal with is expensive, and tight budgets can restrict how much stuff we can get and that affects everything else.
My advice to newbies is to make sure you love what you do because there will be times when you do not! Be prepared to do anything and be open to turning your hand to everything. The biggest thing is confidence. It's easy to get overwhelmed, just trust yourself and be calm.
My advice on the job is don't be afraid to ask if you don't know something. Being a team player, neat and tidy, and organized are all important too.
I've learned my levels of stress tolerance are high. You deal with situations that you don't experience in normal life. It's about how you deal with yourself when situations are not the best. I know my limits and when it's time to stop.
My most significant achievement is having maintained the job for two years. The best part of my job is seeing everything working, and the places you go and some of the people you meet are fantastic.
This article was originally published in the March 2023 issue of Dockwalk.