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univarsity student studying Mechanical Engineering

Discussion in 'Licensing & Education' started by Matterne, Feb 11, 2010.

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  1. Matterne

    Matterne New Member

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    Hi all,

    Basically, I am studying Mechanical Engineering in South Africa, and want to know where this qualification would take me in terms of yachts.

    I did a successful season in 2008 as a decky, but decided to head back to SA to get an education. I am now in my 2nd year (of 4).

    My plan is/was to finish, head overseas and work somewhere like Canada or Spain for a few years as a straight up engineer (and in the process get hold of a better passport) and then move into the yacht world as a engineer/deck crew on a nice medium size sailing yacht. Might be a pipe dream? But ja...

    Am i wasting my time studying engineering, just for the sake of working on yachts, when there are obviously schools were I can get a more yacht specific training? Part of the reason I am studying engineering is because I wanted a fall back, for when whatever career path I chose didn´t work out!

    Any advice is more than welcome! I am semi-considering to blow off varsity and head out to do the 1st course to become an engineer! (Long week of 8-5 lectures in Stellenbosch in mid summer will do that to you!)

    K1W1 if you don´t mind giving me your opinion?
  2. FullaFlava

    FullaFlava New Member

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    If you don't mind me poking my nose in despite not being who you asked for advice.....

    I believe a mechanical engineering degree (BSc?) will help you later in your campaign towards Y3/Y2 in gaining exemptions for certain Theory subjects such as General Engineering Science I & II.

    I'm afraid to get an engineering qual you'll need to start at the bottom with either an AEC or an MCA approved MEOL Course which includes craft training; you will also need sea time.

    Incidentally there is a Chief Engineer on a Private 130ish foot 'Palmer Johnson' in La Ciotat with an AEC, so lucky jobs can be got with the lowest qualification.

    I posted this link to MGN 156 which lays out the MCA route earlier today by coincidence:

    www.mcga.gov.uk/c4mca/mgn_156_eng_yacht.pdf

    As I also said I went through this recently so hope that I am fairly current, if anyone knows better, I am pleased to be put right.

    Best Regards
  3. Matterne

    Matterne New Member

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    Not at all! Please anybody can help!

    It´s a masters course, so I would probably end up being overqualified in the wrong field! But I guess the knowledge of electrical systems would be there for a part.

    Would having this kind of degree count towards getting just an entry level job with the possibility of being trained up? That wouldn´t be the worst thing ever!
  4. FullaFlava

    FullaFlava New Member

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    M.

    To be fair, I don't think having a Master Degree will assist in getting a job as an engineer on a yacht (this is my opinion only). Look at it this way a degree means you can cube root a jar of pickles but doesn't necessarily mean you know how to open it.

    Engineering on a yacht is 'hands on', requiring you to know both how it works and possibly more importantly how to fix it. Every job you see advertised will ask for experience; the MCA or USCG engineering quals show that you have it. A degree means that you can read the instructions, but not necessarily turn a spanner.

    My advice, which is worth exactly what you paid for it is to take an AEC course during one of the semester breaks and try and obtain an entry level job with that to accrue some sea time in between study. The degree will come good, just not at the start.

    I hope that this doesn't sound harsh, but these are the facts as I see them, others will prolly have different opinions.

    Best Regards
  5. Matterne

    Matterne New Member

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    Thanks, that is pretty much what I expected, and I definitely knew I was going to have to start out with the AEC, but also just interested in how the degree is perceived in the industry...

    For me the biggest problem with this degree is the complete lack of hands on type work. Working as a deck-hand, although a bit slow paced mentally, was very rewarding from a "hands on experience" perspective. Either way, Iv got 3+ years of studying, after which I will make a plan to get a job as an engineer on a boat. Simple!

    What is the pay structure like/ paid leave for an entry level engineer? Nothing like the month on month off type of thing the more qualified guys get...?

    Edit: Spelling mistake in title.... just realised! oops... Too much maths!
  6. FullaFlava

    FullaFlava New Member

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    The pay scales available on some websites or in magazines run fairly true as far as my experience shows. You will not find a rotational job below Y1/Y2 I don't think. Experience counts as in all things and especially when negotiating a salary.

    My contract allows 35 days Holiday a year not including weekends and one flight home a year.

    Something not mentioned so far but private yachts, ie not for charter, do not require the engineers to have any sort of tickets, your Masters degree may help in gaining a job like this but not good for longevity in the field.

    Best Regards
  7. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    your everyday work. Also when doing refits and new builds your MSc will help you understand the shipyard engineers reasoning and improve your ability to find the best technical solutions. (Well, at least I hope it will since I'm following the same route...)

    Disclaimer: All the above is just my thoughts on the initial question about the value of an MSc in Mechanical Engineering when you want to work as a yacht engineer. I may be completely wrong about anything I have written!

    Best regards!
  8. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    (I managed to mess up my previous post so here is another try...)

    I have a MSc in Mechanical Engineering which I thought would be looked favourably upon when I entered the yachting industry but no one seems to care!

    I only have limited yachting experience (< 3 years) in the smaller/lower end and is currently sole engineer on a 34m MY.

    Here are some thoughts:

    1. The Msc will not help you in getting a job!

    2. It will help you in your work as you will be disciplined, structured and have quite some (theoretical) experience in troubleshooting, reading and understanding technical literature, interpret drawings and schematics and understand why things are designed in certain ways.

    3. As a new engineer your job will be more "fix this now" rather than "find the problem, make a plan on how to redesign it, redesign and write a report". Your practical mechanical skills will be far more important in the beginning!

    4. On the smaller boats at least there seem to be a lot of really good mechanics but many seem to lack planning and project management skills and structured work methods. (Which you use daily during your MSc studies.)

    5. I guess that it is not until you're at Y2-level your MSc really will pay off. Not only in passing the Y2/Y1 exams but also in your everyday work. Also when doing refits and new builds your MSc will help you understand the shipyard engineers reasoning and improve your ability to find the best technical solutions. (Well, at least I hope it will since I'm following the same route...)

    Disclaimer: All the above is just my thoughts on the initial question about the value of an MSc in Mechanical Engineering when you want to work as a yacht engineer. I may be completely wrong about anything I have written!

    Best regards!
  9. Matterne

    Matterne New Member

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    Thanks for your reply.

    I changed my "major" from Mechanical to Industrial Engineering.

    I can see how this would limit the usefulness of the degree in terms of finding a job as an engineer, but in terms of a lifestyle choice I think it will be better. Thermodynamics was not doing anything for my soul!

    I hope to someday return to the industry once I´v completed the 4+ years, and my aim is to find a job on a small SY as an all round capable crew member, hopefully the Msc will count in my favour, maybe not, but Im sure if I work my way to Captain the Industrial understanding won´t hurt.

    Either way the lifestyle and money is too good to miss. Especially considering the lifestyle and earning potential of a Msc graduate. (Which isn´t particularly bad!)
  10. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    Good luck with your Industrial Engineering degree!

    A master degree will help you in whatever you decide to do.
    Even if you want to do something completely different later
    in life you will have gained quite good studying skills which
    will help you learning anything.

    (And you will have a fancy title to put in your business card...)

    Best regards (from XX MSc ME).
  11. Matterne

    Matterne New Member

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    Haha thats the backup plan anyway:)

    Thanks for the help and good luck with the job hunting!