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Yacht Engineer - The Role and the Path?

Discussion in 'Licensing & Education' started by mmss1, Feb 8, 2011.

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  1. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    Hello all!

    In my post about Y4 study material some of us came a little bit off topic and started to discuss the actual contents in the Y4 syllabus and the situation with "fast track" engineers vs. traditionally trained engineers.

    I invite everyone to freely share their thoughts on the "Yacht Engineer - The Role and the Path?".

    Why is there a special yacht engineer? Why aren't all engineers on yachts merchant navy engineers? Is the yacht licensing system flawed? ...

    Please, come up with your own questions, statements, thoughts, rants or whatever!

    Best regards!
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I don't think that all yacht engineers need to be former marine navy engineers. I feel that an engineer can work there way up from smaller yachts to larger ones and gain experience as they go, as well as work as an apprentice and gain the skillset they need. I think that the systems on a yacht and the environment in general is far different than what is found in the navy or even the commercial side of things.
  3. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    OK, I'll start (unless someone is fast enough to squeeze in between...).
    [Edit: OK, Capt J was fast, or I was slow...]

    I came to the yachting industry from a background as software engineer with a masters degree in mechanical engineering and a life-long interest in taking things apart and put them back together again. I have rebuilt motorcycles, car and boat engines and has always had hands-on hobbies to compensate for my office desk day-to-day work.

    I have been on small sailing dinghies, sail training ships, 30-50m bunker boats and was for 2 months engineer apprentice on a 80000dwt oil tanker before I choose the academical route. After 15 years as a software engineer I decided to go to sea again and this time on yachts. As I see it my experience and skills are very useful on a yacht in a way they wouldn't be on a merchant ship.

    (OK, finally closing in on the subject...)

    My view of the yacht engineer is that he/she must be a little bit of a "jack-of-all-trades" with a sound understanding of how all systems aboard work but not a specialist in any specific area.

    I honestly don't believe many engineers on yachts change cylinder liners or take crankshaft deflection measurements. Some engineers I know aren't even allowed to do tappet clearance adjustments due to liability / insurance / warranty policies.

    During a normal charter season here in the Med I think far more engineers find themselves fixing blocked toilets, trouble-shooting spurious alarms, repairing sunglasses, suitcases, etc for the guests, keeping the toys in shape, helping the guests with their computers, trying to get the satellite TV to work or serving drinks on their guests cocktail parties rather than testing injectors or performing gearbox inspections.

    In my view the role of the yacht engineer is quite different to the role of the merchant navy or cruise liner engineer and hence a very good yacht engineer may not be a successful merchant/cruise engineer and vice versa.

    With my background + my 3-4 years in yachting I don't see how the Y4 modules are tailored for the yachting industry. I also would rather see a skills test that focused on troubleshooting systems rather than manufacturing parts. How many yachts have lathes and milling machines aboard? When did you last do some welding on your yacht?

    And what about electricity? Why isn't there an electrical skills test? I've seen a lot of really dangerous electrical repairs on the boats I worked on. I guess that more of our problems are electrical than mechanical and unsafe handling of electricity leads probably to far more deaths (shock, fire) than mistakes with mechanical system (which of course could lead to collision, grounding etc. with catastrophic results, but I hope you get my point).

    OK, the heat is on...
  4. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    On it maybe but as it is still cold maybe the thermostat is gimped.
  5. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "... maybe the thermostat is gimped."

    Yeah, call a contractor to look at it. :rolleyes:
  6. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    Capt J started with a short but meaningful post in the spirit I expected the replies to be, i.e. to discuss the subject and see it from different angles which would help the readers of the forums.

    I'm a bit surprised that K1W1 and Marmot with your wealth of knowledge and experience (and opinions...) choose not to contribute more to this thread! It would be very much appreciated if you could write some proper replies when you have the time. Your input is highly valued!

    Marmot wrote in http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/120456-post17.html:
    I agree completely with this statement! (Done the "memorize" bit, still need to "muddle".) I suspect however that Marmot and I may have different views on how it should be instead.

    Even though I fully acknowledge that a commercial marine engineer will be thoroughly trained both theoretical and practical due to the mix of theoretical studies and practical sea-going as an apprentice, I would argue that not all of that training is best suited for the yacht engineer.

    One thing is that I think the roles are quite different as most yachts are very different from the big passenger ships, cargo ships and tankers the commercial training is aimed at. The smaller commercial boats like commuter ferries, bunker boats and tugs don't really have that much in common with yachts either when it comes to the requirements and expectations on the engineer.

    I can't see that apprenticeships on yachts is something that owners would happily embrace, so that would unfortunately most likely never happen.

    So, how could the training of yacht engineers be improved?

    Should the skills test be replaced by a mandatory practical course? I thought about doing the UKSA "Professional Yacht Engineer" course but was told from an experienced marine engineer that it would be "an insult to my intelligence". Nevertheless they seem to do a lot of practical work while living aboard so it should be somewhat relevant anyway. Well, I never took the course so I can't say if he was right or wrong.

    Would it be possible that established marine colleges would be interested in a yacht engineer programme? They already have the structure and knowledge and some of the courses would be exactly that same for yachts and commercial ships (or fishing vessels) while others would focus on completely different things. Perhaps they need to recruit instructors for the yacht specific parts but that shouldn't be impossible.

    I don't know if it is a yacht specific problem, but for many things you want to do aboard you'll need special skills certificates (electrical, refrigeration) to comply with legislation. Class surveyors often require reports from "legitimate companies" rather than trusting the onboard engineer's documentation on when and how maintenance has been carried out. Could training to get these certificates be part of the solution?
  7. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "So, how could the training of yacht engineers be improved?"

    I don't have the time or desire to rewrite everything I have already had published on the subject so if you will accept a distillation:

    Eliminate the MCA yacht license for commercial yachts. Prohibit the MCA from using STCW designators for yacht limited licences.

    Require the officers manning commercial yachts to meet the same training standards, licensing, and qualifications as required to operate a similar sized vessel in international trade.

    There is a ferry that runs from near the UK MCA headquarters building in Southampton to Cowes, a voyage of just a couple of miles down the river. The licenses issued by the MCA to captains and engineers that permit them to take a 2999 ton ship with 12 passengers across the open ocean on an international voyage is not considered adequate to drive that ferry.

    Why do those who charter large yachts deserve less protection than the passengers riding a ferry to the Isle of Wight?

    To answer another of your questions, there are many maritime colleges that would be delighted to provide cadet programs and formal training for yacht licenses. The fact that virtually no formal training is required has promoted the culture among yacht license holders that "if it isn't required I don't need it and won't buy it." The resistance to a broad education in the industry and the techniques of marine engineering is profound and widespread. The "zero to hero" culture prevails.

    Contrary to what we often call a yachting industry, there is no such thing, at least so far as the operation of large commercial yachts is concerned. It is a hobby that grew to the point of being noticed by regulators. It is a group of very distinct and strictly independent owners who have no common goal or voice. It is not an industry in the way we look at the airline industry or the shipping industry. It is a loose aggragation of hobbyists who have been forced by modern regulation into grudging conformity.
  8. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    Thank you for your input Marmot! (I haven't read all your posts yet since there are quite a few...)

    Unfortunately it is probably even worse in the sense that if someone actually did undertake training that wasn't mandatory, no yacht would value it as it seems like most employers only look at yacht licences and yacht service time. In my yachting courses there have been a few engineers with navy, commercial and fishing background who felt forced to take the Y exams just because no one was interested in their commercial licences.

    While the safety of our 6-12 guests can't be compromised I still wonder if there couldn't be a yacht engineer's licence even for charter yachts up to a certain size and range. Many smaller yachts here in the Med do just a two-hour cruise in the morning, stop for lunch, another two-hour cruise and stop for the night. The actual engineering part of the job in that case isn't really much more than monitoring and all maintenance work bigger than an oil and filter change is normally done between charters when along-side (or actually stern-to). Which of course doesn't mean that the engineer can't do dangerous mistakes due to lack of training!

    Perhaps a redesigned Y4 syllabus and more required practical training that focused on the <200gt yachts could improve safety a bit for all the "sole engineers" on these yachts. Only "problem" is that you need to be able to get into yachting somehow and the "Advanced?? Engine Course" is a joke!

    Probably the yachting industry (which I still will call it until a better phrase comes up) could benefit from a 3-6 month initial (required) training at a maritime college (leading to some sort of certificate) before allowed to work as engineer on a >24m yacht. It would include the STCW basic training and both practical and theoretical modules. I am not familiar with the US or UK maritime colleges, perhaps such a training already exist (intended for the smaller commercial craft)?

    That way you at least have something in your bag while getting your sea/service time for the Y4. But we are like our owners, if it's not required, we don't wanna pay... so I guess that without new regulations it won't happen.

    After the Y4 it could be a requirement of sea time as second engineer for a year or more before being allowed to take the Y3 (which perhaps should be more exhaustive) and only after that are you certified to be sole or chief on a 200-500gt yacht.

    I do apologise for my loose, fluffy ideas above, I'm just thinking out loud and trying to understand how it would be possible to make sure that we yacht engineers get proper training while still allowing people with valuable experience from other professions to become yacht engineers. I believe there must be something between the full blown commercial marine engineer and the "zero-to-hero" guy that actually would make a perfect yacht engineer.
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Ohh I don't know. The thing is, I've worked on a ton of yachts lets say 60-80' (mostly as Captain), I've also run several 80'- a 146' I ran today, and worked on even larger as a deckhand a decade ago.

    The systems (most) on a 65' for all comparisons sake are all very similar to say a 172' Feadship. For example the chilled water a/c system on a 55' Neptunus I manage, is virtually the same as a chilled water system on a 172' Feadship, just the components are larger in capacity and size, the principles and even design are the same.

    I've even seen a 100'+ commercial yacht that used standard toilets that gravity drained into the holding tank, just like you'd find in a house.

    I've seen some smaller yachts under 80' that have systems on them that would even have me scratching my head as well because they came from a commercial ship.

    For example the 76' Northern Marine I've run, has a PTO and everything for the boats operation is hydraulic off of this 1 pto which is run by a dedicated Cummins 6 cylinder diesel. But, this 1 PTO runs the steering, the bow thruster, the stern thruster, the anchor windless, and the davit. Needless to say it has a myriad of plumbing, valves, pressure adjustments, that would boggle most crew used to working on a 76'. Lose the 6 cylinder pony engine in the ICW on this single engined yacht and you were literally up a creek without a paddle. You can switch the pto takeoff to the main engine, BUT it requires a trip to the engine room and about 2 minutes to switch over.

    I've seen a bilge pump system on a 80' yacht (former converted aluminum shrimp boat into a large my. The bilge pump system looked like it belonged on a 350' Freighter. It had one pump, then had a manifold with 7 different valves on the manifold and hard piping running to each area in the yacht and you had to manually open the valve for the area you had to pump out. You also had to babysit the boat as well, because there was NO automatic bilge pump system on it. One also had to open the freshwater supply on it sometimes to prime it as well, to get it to pump overboard.

    On the flip side, I've also seen a lot of 100' + yachts with Rule bilge pumps and float switches like on your neighbors 38' Searay.

    I've seen sea-chests on 50-80' boats, with everything running off of one chest with a lot of tees on it, yet no seachest on a lot of 100' + yachts. I also worked on a 97' LR MY that had 6, watertight bilges (at least to the main deck level.) with completely sealed bulkheads, yet none of this on a few 150'.

    Granted some things on the larger yachts you will typically never see on a 80' and smaller yacht. I've only seen a fuel polisher on a yacht under 80' of the centrifuge aqua lavelle type on 1 yacht.

    I've run a 58' sportfish that had electronic, air shifted controls that were a heck of a lot more complicated (and one of only 12 sets that were ever made/installed in the marine industry) then the air shifted kobel controls I used today.

    I think courses are well and good and a benefit. But I don't think you could take all of the classes in the world and come out and work as a competant engineer on a yacht. I think real world experience makes up a lot of it. However, I think you can work on smaller boats, work under a qualified engineer or better yet several without any formal schooling and become completely qualified to be an engineer on a yacht. It's just a harder path then say becoming a captain, because up until a certain size (let's say 120' give or take), there is no formal engineer and the captain usually does that. So it's not like you can work like a mate does, gain experience from a Captain on smaller yachts, become a Captain on a smaller yacht and work your way up as easily. The only real route would be to get on a yacht that is really big and needs a jr. engineer.

    Another thing, is each yacht you get onto, you have to figure out a system that was designed by 1 individual at the perspective shipyard, and run who knows where through the boat. I've run 68' and 70; Azimuts, where you might as well have taken the electrical drawings for the boat and used them for toilet paper because there was not 1 wire that was in the location shown on the electrical plans anywhere on the yacht.

    I can also say that from reading their posts both Marmot and K1W1 have a WEALTH of knowledge when it comes to engineering systems, developing, and building them on the build level, much more so then myself but my profession is that of a Captain and not engineer. I'm very knowledgable in practice, and can maintain and fix just about any system found on a yacht, and have a very very good working knowledge of anything from electrical to a/c. However, I am not going to design a chilled water system for your 200' Feadship build, nor would I call myself an engineer by any means. But I can keep whatever is there running proficiently and maintained.

    This being said, an engineer for a yacht in my eyes is more of a mechanic then say an engineer. A mechanic fixes what is there, maintains it, and fixes what breaks, and sometimes even "island engineers" something till they can get the proper parts. They generally do not design the yacht or it's systems, or re-invent the wheel so to speak. They also generally draw the line at some point as to what they will and won't do. For example, an engineer on a yacht is not expected to rebuild a cylinder, while the boat is underway, while the engine is running, like what commonly happens on commercial freighters.

    I do think that the engineering courses, need a lot more tailoring to what is practical and should be learned when it comes to yachts as well as the requirements. I also think the USCG requirements both when it comes to manning requirements, experience, and seatime, and testing is more in line with what the license holder is allowed to do with the license. Meaning the qualifications are stricter for the license issued under the USCG then the MCA system, from what I have seen. For example the MCA 200 ton (yachtmaster???) seatime requirements are a complete joke, compared to the USCG 200 ton master requirements
  10. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    CaptJ,

    Do you ever sleep as you seem to post alot on here and at the same time drive just about every kind of boat out there all at the same time.

    I liked your latest novel above and in particular your comments about rebuilding cylinders while underway on commercial freighters, that is a new one on me, but then again I am now not very sure if I am a marine engineer or a mechanic.
  11. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Hehehee, yeah I sleep in spurts. Well for example, I woke up this morning at 5am, got to the 146' at Bahia Mar at 6:30, ran it to the freighter and loaded it alongside by 8:30am and was done with it by 9am, then had to take their 33' tender to Harbortowne and was done by 10:30 and back in my car, came home and took a nap from 2pm-6:30pm and here I am. Tommorow I have to jump in the 33' and bring it back to the ship so they can load it. And other times I do a long delivery and am on the same yacht for a week or two, like I have a delivery scheduled in March to run a yacht from Corpus Christie, TX to Fort Lauderdale which should take close to 2 weeks.

    I manage 7 yachts, but also do a lot of deliveries, daily Captaining, and freighter loadings for various brokers, manufacturers, shipping companies, and individuals. I've run 4 different yachts in 1 day before, from a marina and loaded them onto a freighter, so you get a big perspective on how each one is built and handles......

    You can also rebuild gardner diesels as well while they are running, as long as you remove the piston rod from the crankshaft while it is not running, the motor will still run without 1 cylinder, and there are a decent amount of these on older slow moving MY's. The cylinders are individual with individual cylinder heads on freighters and from time to time they do run the motor on 5 cylinders (or however many) minus the 1 they're rebuilding. When they have the cylinder liner, kit in and head bolted back on, they wait until the ship is stopped in port and hook the connecting rod back to the crankshaft and possibly move onto the next cylinder. Keep in mind a freighter tries to never stop moving and many are single engine so they have to have a way to keep going if they have an issue with 1 cylinder. I've seen one in process and the guy was standing inside the cylinder cleaning it. Sitting around costs them money and doesn't make them money.

    To me the standard definition of an engineer (in general) is someone who engineers and designs things, changes things on a product.

    A mechanic is someone who fixes/repairs problems, maintains things, but usually does not change the inherent design. They usually fix what is broken with like parts and move onto the next project. On a yacht, it's generally quickest and cheapest to change parts with similar parts as long as the design is pretty sound. Rarely do you re-engineer a system on a yacht unless the origional design is pretty flawed. This is solely my opinion.
  12. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    Your work rate should be commended, however it is strange you use a Gardner engine as an example to work on, You may find an old 8L3B ona very small freighter but I think most people reading your post would be assuming you are referring to the larger vessels you see in say Port Everglades.

    It is possible to shut down individual cylinders on a Gardner (was a hand built Diesel company in Manchester, England until Perkins Engines bought them out) in fact it is possible to use the cut out levers on each cylinder on say an 8 cylinder engine and then turn it by hand. Engage one cylinder and it will fire and run on one cylinder.

    These engines along with the larger single engines in the freighters you refer to can be worked on at sea however no right minded engineer and not a mechanic by the way, would dream of reserting a a con' rod into a moving engine. If you stopped to think about it you would know that there is no space inside a crankcase to hang a con rod.

    Now if you knew something about cross head engines you may be onto something but that is a different story. I have cut out many cylinders especially on slow speed MAN engines but never in a millions years would you consider renewing a liner on an engine like that while underway for many reasons, one being the oil mist swirling around from an open crankcase which is highly combustible and has caused numeorus deaths over the years.

    I would suggest that you stick to driving the 33 footers and dreaming of the 176's before sounding off about engineering. HeeHee.
  13. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    Thanks for your additional contribution, Capt J!

    Yes, getting real-life experience is a big problem! The smaller yachts don't really have engineers so your experience will be more biased towards the deck department and on top of that it won't count as sea/service time as engineer. If you can find a position as deckhand/2nd engineer you will be able to count at least half of your time and will also have an engineer to learn from. Here in the Med it seems harder to find such a position than "sole engineer" or "mate/engineer", both implicating that you'll have to learn from your mistakes rather than from an experienced engineer. Learning from mistakes can be both fatal and costly when you're on a boat! ("There's no success like failure, and failure's no success at all", as Bob Dylan wrote...)

    For aspiring captains there is as you say a very sound and natural progression from deckhand to mate to captain. Unfortunately not the same for the engineer. You may choose the "proper" commercial way but that may not be the right choice for a yacht engineer aiming for a 40m performance sailing yacht for instance. (Who most likely will need at least a Y4!)
  14. rodsteel

    rodsteel Member

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    If one is an experienced auto/truck mechanic or AV-IT engineer, much of the "ground-work" for a marine "mechanic" or "ETO" is already in place. In either case, I think there would be demand for two weeks of marine-specific "acclimitization" training to supplement an AEC certificate (I know I would pay up to $4K for two weeks of on-the-water 2nd Engineer or ETO training in a real yacht larger than 40m :cool: ).

    Rod
  15. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    I just read your reply late on a friday night after a number of beers and I think somebody is really taking the pi-s here.

    AV, RV mechanics and marine engineers, hopefuly you will either apologise or explain but then again I am sure CapJ will be able to tell you that a proper marine engineer will have to go thru' up to 6 years of college and sea time and that is not even to the chief engineer level
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    If you re-read and comprehend my post, you will see that I used a Gardner diesel as an example because cylinders can be rebuilt while running and state that you will find some of them on motoryachts.

    If you also re-read and comprehend my sentence about freighters rebuilding a cylinder underway. It states that once they have the cylinder finished, they then hook up the connecting rod once the vessel is in port. I guess you've never seen a freighter with an open crankshaft and oilers before either, huh? Ever step foot in the engine room of a freighter? I am by no means an expert on freighters, but I've stepped in a few engine rooms and talked to a few of the chief engineers and a friend of mine's dad was chief engineer on a super tanker and he travelled on it for 3 months at a time with his dad. I witnessed them rebuilding a cylinder on a frieghter I have stepped foot on, and the engineer told me they were doing the one while at sea because the freighter was booked and couldn't stop to do a rebuild or the company would lose a ton of money. I have stood on a 100 or so different freighters, but never left the landing on one or travelled on one.

    I don't BS about my abilities, my accomplishments, what I have done and have not done. I'm also secure enough in myself that I can say when I am not sure about something.
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I suggest you drink responsibly before posting here, so that I can understand what you are trying to say in this post referring to me!
  18. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    I can't understand Yachtjocky's "attack" on Rod's post. For many of us entering yachting as aspiring engineers we get an AEC and then we suddenly find ourselves working as sole engineer on a 25-35m yacht. I'd rather start as an assistant or 2nd, but you can't get those jobs without your Y4 (as I've probably written too many times now...)

    How can it be a bad thing to have prior knowledge and experience servicing and repairing truck engines? I believe Cat has made a few road engines? If you on a small yacht want someone to help out on the engineering side and you have two guys with an AEC, wouldn't you rather take the guy who has a few years experience of truck engines? I doubt anyone with a commercial engineering ticket would take job as deckhand/engineer on a 25m MY. Actually I think the job would go to the truck mechanic anyway since he probably is more used to the smaller stuff on the yacht.

    ETO's need comprehensive experience in servers, switches, routers and troubleshooting of networks. I think someone that has been IT technician in a medium sized company ashore would be far more competent as ETO (on a yacht) than someone from a maritime college. Perhaps a switched-on guy from a high-end audio shop would be more suitable than a commercial marine engineer when it comes to maintaining the sound system?

    As I have hinted earlier I think there are roles in the technical areas of yachting where someone from other walks of life may be at least as suitable as the commercial engineer.

    Paying to get on a yacht as engineer trainee? I wouldn't hesitate a second!

    Good post, Rod!
  19. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    CaptJ, I am perfectly able to read & understand your reply and let me tell you something which you may find interesting,

    One, I was a Gardner Dealer and factory trained and
    Two, I am a Chief Marine Engineer with 41 years experience.

    Started as an apprentice and did all of my hands on training plus 5 years thru' college ending with an unlimited ticket for both steam & diesel which includes the ability to work on gas or steam turbines.

    Reading your posts and being fully aware of what you are saying makes me think that you have an opinion on just about everything.

    Your comments about rebuilding cylinders is wrong and i did throw you a help line about cross head type engines which you obviously have no idea what they are.

    An open crank case with oilers is an engine you can work on but no way can you rebuild a cylinder, bolt down the cylinder head and then when in port reconnect the con rod as you plainly wrote in an earlier post, you may be able to remove and replace a liner but can not just stick a piston and rod into a crackcase to facilitate the "bolting down" of the cyclinder head.

    ...and by the way the last time open crank case engines were in common use was when men were made of steel and sailed on wooden boats and I doubt if you were wet behind the ears.

    Now let me tell you a little bit about engineering, most if not all slow speed diesels are cross head type engines, this has a slider that the connecting rod is bolted too. The piston rod is fixed solid to the piston and it is the piston rod that is bolted to the top of the cross head.

    In an open scavenge space type slow speed engines like an Iveco (6 cylinder, 22,000 HP at 110 RPM) one can un-bolt the piston rod and remove it after removing the cylinder head and placing the blank at the top of the crank case seal. One can then work on the liner etc at the top end. Once the new liner is re-installed one can not & I repeat one can not replace the piston and piston rod while the engine is running and obviously, like any engine, the piston and rod has to be installed before a cylinder head is "bolted back on".

    These type of engines did not prove popular mostly because of the problems associated with the needle valves in the scavenge space.

    The reason why you have to have a cross head is mostly due to the size & the wear rate if you have a 6 ton piston pushing against one side of the liner.

    Yes 6 ton just for the piston and rod and a 42" bore that you can get inside of to work in.

    As for attacking anybody, let me first apologise because I did not mean to come across like that but why should it be easy to get into yacht engineering, there are plenty of guys out there that have gone thru' a long learning process and much more than being a RV mechanic.

    Do you think that commercial freighter marine engineers only go around with big hammers and dirty coverall's. Where do you think an awful lot of yacht equipment comes from.

    Do you not stop and think for a minute that old guys like me have to keep right up to date with most of the latest advancements in the latest tech stuff. As for some bodies comments about bringing a IT tech in as a yacht engineer, please, get yourself properly trained .

    Caterpillar mechanics or any other mechanic properly trained is a start but a properly trained engineer is much more than just being a mechanic. Part of the training is being able to use any tool in a machine shop, being able to use your ability to make just about anything, being able to adapt to any situation, being trained in hydraulics, electrical, electronics, in other words anything found on a ship or yacht.

    In this day and age when injectors can cost $2,000 do you want to be a lightly trained engineer responsible for the care of say 32 injectors. There are so called engineers who have never been on any kind of course for common rail engines and I have seen even engine surveyors who may have been Detroit mechanics and who are being used to carry out an inspection on million dollar engines with absolutly no training.

    Long winded but alot of "old" experienced engineers get so fed up hearing about so called engineers being employed on yachts, how many of us have heard of contaminated fuel, huge engine repairs, salvage claims and all because a so called engineer did not know about water seals on an Alfa Laval purifier.

    ...and I did a bit of truck driving and never saw a fuel purifier on a truck with a Caterpillar engine but that is another story.

    My advise is to get a proper marine engineer training and you will never be short of work.

    PS. A super tanker way back when may have come with a diesel engine but in most Super Tankers, VLCC's & ULCC's came with steam turbines. :D
  20. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    San Remo
    Thanks for your more elaborate input, Yachtjocky!

    I don't think it should be easier or more difficult than any other profession that requires skilled persons. Please note that I don't advocate that everyone should be able to become a yacht engineer.

    What I can't see is that there should only be one single way. If that would be true, should we then also say "Sorry, you're a very skilled chief engineer, but you can't work ashore because your education and experience at sea is useless on land"? I don't think so! Many "proper" marine engineers retire from the sea life and start their own businesses, work as succesful project managers etc.

    Someone might ask: "How is that possible?":rolleyes:

    Well, they have "transferrable skills", so for instance if you're good at planning and managing a new build or a refit, you'll probably have no problem managing other projects.

    As a professional software engineer I've worked with fantastic project managers who wouldn't understand anything of the stuff I did, but why should they? Their job was to make sure that all 100 people or so involved performed as planned and that all problems were escalated so that they could reallocate resources, replan, get external help etc. The actual work was done by experts in different fields: software, hardware, digital design, mechanical design, production and so on. I think a chief engineer with a desire to go ashore and do something else could be a highly succesful project manager (or manager) in e.g. a software company despite the fact that he didn't spend 4-5 years studying software engineering in university (or too many late nights in front of the computer). Most likely he will even teach the "proper" project managers a thing or two just because of his different experience.

    "Same boxes to move around, only different contents."

    I would say that an IT tech with a few years experience in a company is properly trained when it comes to IT. He will not only be up to date with the latest in IT but will also have taken all necessary certificates and courses needed to work on the equipment. He has spent his whole working days immersed in IT problems and probably a lot of his spare time as well just out of curiosity. He might not know anything about marine systems or even electrics, but if his role aboard is IT perhaps he doesn't need to. I see no reason why a chief engineer couldn't have the same IT skills on top of his other skills but he would have to sacrifice something because IT training (as all training) takes time, effort and money.

    I may be naive, but I believe in diversity and like to think that a mix of different views is a good thing in all ventures. A group of people with exactly the same education, experience etc are likely to perform differently from a team with mixed experiences. The first group is probably far better than the latter in doing the thing they are trained to do, but when the task differs from the expected or when you wan't to evolve I'm certain the mixed team would outperform the first one.

    My reason for starting this thread was that there is a lot of guys out there, with both education and experience from other disciplines, employed as yacht engineers. We want to learn, improve our skills, get more experience and there isn't really that many options. We're not lazy, "zero-to-hero" or here for the "booze, babes and bucks". We are hard-working professionals from other walks of life and we like to go to sea in exactly the same way some sailors change to shorebased jobs.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011