Q&A with Second Engineer Ashley William Samuel

18 July 2023 By Claire Griffiths

Claire Griffiths is Dockwalk’s contributing editor in the Mediterranean. She fled to the sunny south of France from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Claire has a background in journalism for national and regional UK press and a career in political and corporate PR prior to that. Claire’s hobbies include eating, sleeping and dancing at inopportune times. She tries to avoid sheer drops and Olympic bobsled runs. Email Claire at

Name: Ashley William Samuel
Position: Second Engineer
Yacht: M/Y Idol
LOA: 58.9M/192' 11"
Builder: Austal
Time in current position: five months
Time in industry: 12 years, seven on land
Previous vessel: M/Y Hooligan 2

If I wasn’t working on a yacht I’d be working in the family business that specialises in hydraulics and PLCs. I grew up in the industry as my dad owns an engineering business. I used to travel around with him visiting the boats and then in 2011 I started training as an engineer with him.

The most challenging part of the job is when there is not enough budget to cover all the work you need to get done to keep the boat safe.

My worst mechanical failure was when we lost some main machinery while we were underway. I think the biggest mistake engineers make is not starting out following the commercial engineering route. That is the best way of learning but they choose not to because it is less money, less prestigious, and takes three years of training.

If you’ve got engineering experience under your belt, the best way to start in the industry is to get on a small boat (35 to 45 meters) for a year and gain some experience of how to get around a boat and then move on to a bigger yacht (60-plus meters) to gain the full experience of being a marine engineer under an experienced chief. But if you don’t have any experience, go to commercial school and gain the biggest ticket and then get on a big boat with a big salary, nice structure, and organisation.

Once you get a job, be humble and absorb any knowledge you can, listen to any experience, bring ideas and initiative to the table, be a team player, and care.

I’ve learned that your future is never exactly how you plan it to be and it always evolves.

I’m aiming for a rotation position so that I can spend time helping my family business while gaining my diploma and slowly planning the future of the business.

I love the diversity of systems and modifications that can be undertaken and the evolution of the skillset learned on the job, which is unlimited.

This article was orignally published in the April 2023 issue of Dockwalk.


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