Q&A with Rotational Second Engineer Ante Tafra

2 May 2022 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 Second Engineer Ante Tafra

Name: Ante Tafra
Position: Rotational Second Engineer
Yacht: M/Y Katina
LOA: 60M/196'10"
Years in Current Position: 3 months
Years in Industry: 4
Previous Vessels: Support yacht Mystere Shadow
Nationality: Croatian

If not on a yacht, I’d probably be a guide for extreme sports as that was my job before yachting. For more than 10 years, I was a white water rafting guide and canyoning instructor in Croatia.

Getting started in yachting was unplanned. A friend of mine was with a yacht in Croatia and they needed an engineer urgently. She was a 140-meter motor yacht and saying no wasn’t an option.

The most challenging part of the job is joining a new yacht. Sometimes joining [happens] on short notice between charters and engineers need to get familiarized with all the systems on board and the crew in a really short time.

When I was on a commercial ship, my worst incident was fire on the main engine, the failure of a high-pressure fuel pump where you have heavy fuel all over the engine room, and so on.

The biggest issue facing yacht engineers is keeping up with the latest tech and regs, especially for non-rotational engineers as they cannot get proper time to do all the necessary training courses.

For those looking to get started, get a proper insight into all the industry. There are plenty of yacht groups on social networks where you can get lots of useful info about jobs and crew activities.

If you’re looking to impress, always be a team player! No matter what department your colleagues are, if they need help, give them a hand. Yachts can be small with only five to seven crewmembers and being a team player always pays off.

Through yachting, I learned I can be plumber, carpenter, electrician, and engineer at the same time. I never thought that I [would] be helping on deck, but now ... I learn new stuff every day.

Becoming a chief engineer is my most significant achievement. I started as second engineer and after only three months, was promoted to the chief position. Leaving the boat in much better condition than I found it and [keeping a] good relationship with the captain makes me proud.

The best part of my job is the travel and chance to see stuff I’d never normally experience. I met plenty of new people and now we are friends for life.

This article originally ran in the November 2021 issue of Dockwalk.


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