Q&A with Rotational Chief Engineer Martin Jepp

1 May 2020 By Erica Lay

Owner of international crew agency EL CREW CO in Mallorca, Spain, Erica has been a freelance writer since 2008. She loves engaging with the projects she works on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of the stories she feels are newsworthy. A curious and proactive journalist, she draws on her own life experiences, her studies, and her work with crew all over the globe.

Rotational Chief Engineer Martin Jepp

Name: Martin Jepp
Position: Rotational Chief Engineer
Yacht: M/Y Bina
LOA: 42.6M/139’9”
Builder: Mondomarine
Years in current position: 18 months
Years in industry: 5 years
Previous vessels: M/Y Joy, S/Y Squall
Nationality and Country: British

If I weren’t on a yacht, I would probably still be in the Royal Navy.

I had been looking at leaving the Navy for a few years and a few colleagues recommended yachting, given our skillset and qualifications earned during service.

The most challenging part of my job, I think, is coming from 17 years working with a large group of people with distinct mannerisms. It’s difficult to lose that behavior, so my approach to people in the industry is my most challenging part. Some people still do not appreciate my humor or mannerisms despite five years adjusting to being a yachtie.

Luckily, so far, the worst mechanical fail was a blown exhaust coupling on the main engine on Squall. We were mid-passage and the coupling blew after the exhaust spray ring, putting a lot of water into the engine room. Thankfully, we could sail while I actioned a temporary repair.

I think the biggest issue facing us is the appreciation of skills and experience. Employers look for the cheapest and easiest options these days, due to the global economy, and I’ve seen good, experienced engineers passed over after turning down the packages on offer.

My advice for those looking to get started is not to expect too much too soon. The industry is its own unique bubble and vastly different in some respects to a normal engineering role and requires some compromise and acceptance early on before the rewards are gained.

My advice for those looking to impress on the job is to keep things simple, stay professional, and be polite, as well as maintain the standards you would expect from the employer (and what they expect from you).

What I’ve learned about myself through yachting is that I’m not as young as I think I am, this industry will test you in ways you don’t expect — everyday is a school day.

My most significant achievement is buying and renovating my house.

The best part about my job is weirdly the people. I’ve been lucky enough to work in a variety of enviroments with varying characters of people, and I do enjoy working with the people I have met thus far.

This article originally ran in the May 2020 issue of Dockwalk.


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