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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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    Very true indeed, the only consideration being that the "machine shop" may be a work bench (or on a 46m Palmer Johnson or a 40m Sanlorenzo not even that!) and your tools may be a set of spanners, pliers, screwdrivers,... So what do we do with emergency repairs? MacGyver! :D

    I would love to have access to raw material and a lathe, a pillar drill, a welding machine and some other proper tools. But I don't! So we have to ask the local workshop to manufacture even the simplest things to great expense for the owner but still probably cheaper than setting up our own workshop.

    Even if you had the proper tools and spares not all manufacturers or insurance companies would allow you to touch the engine anyway.

    I think the most important part of your section quoted above is:
    and it of course here all the training and experience is put to test. Being an experienced marine engineer you would be more suited to foresee the events and come up with a strategy than someone with less sea-time and less sea-related education.
  2. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    Trust me bobbing about the ocean in the middle of a Typhoon with another one heading your way in the South China sea, having put out the latest scavenge fire and trying to get the engine to run the last thing on your mind would be worrying about whether a manufacturer or an insurance would give you permission.

    As a chief engineer you are required, and I always wanted to do it anyway, to go on all kinds of courses from fuel systems, turbo-chargers, power generation, various engine builders and control and electronic courses. It may take me a little longer to sort things out but we have to do it. It is nice to think that in this day and age you can have IT tech's on board but trust me with the cut backs in manning from say 42 men on a 15,000 ton ship to 14 men & women on a 110,000 ton ship there are not many dedicated IT guys on a ship.

    I have many friends who have left the sea and found jobs in all kinds of places, power stations, breweries and hotels to note a few and the good thing is properly trained engineers can move from one job to another as they can adapt.

    I would hate to think that any young aspiring engineer read these posts and read the rubbish about changing cylinders while the engine is running and for them to join a yacht or freighter and trying that. Why did he try it, oh, a licensed Captain said it could be done.

    Proper training from the commercial side or the Coast Guard would be ways to get the experience and to move onto yachts.

    Now where do I apply for that job with "Booze, Babes and Bucks"
  3. rodsteel

    rodsteel Member

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    :rolleyes: Not for MCA yacht tickets (AEC takes one week, MEOL is 24 months sea time, Y4 is another 12 months) - AEC seems to be sufficient for many entry level positions (especially on sailing yachts, but does not give any useful on-board training - that is why I think two to four weeks in addition to the AEC would create a productive 2nd or AV-IT engineer if they have a technical trade diploma or BSc and more than five years shore-side experience). :D

    Rod

    P.S. Ooops, I missed the second page of discussions.

    P.P.S. I am not contending that the MCA route produces "commercial grade" engineers, just that, since the MCA yacht tickets exist, it could be possible to get competent entry-level or support engineering crew for the yachting "environment" (which does not usually entail taking care of systems on the ocean during typhoons) from the shore-side talent pool with a minimal amount of additional training.
  4. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    A little bit more dramatic than a F4 in the Med perhaps :) but of course I agree with you in that specific case.

    Exactly my point! Especially if they've under a long time spent a lot of their spare time learning things relevant to their new career.

    :D
    Sorry, I don't really know, but evidently those jobs are there: just visit Antibes in the summer and observe all the yachties spending their money on one of the numerous yachtie bars!
  5. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    Great post again, Rod!

    As you say the situation is that the MCA yacht certificates exist and that many are working as "engineers" on yachts with no more than an AEC.

    Right or wrong, this is the way it currently is!

    If "everyone" would agree that there is only room for commercially trained engineers, so be it, but until that point I will at least try to improve the situation for us who are employed as "yacht engineers" and want to improve our knowledge and experience.

    One big help would be if the MCA Y tickets would be more in line with our working conditions and the requirements on a yacht specific engineer. I've just spent more than 5000 Euros and almost 2 months (including pre-studies) for the three Y4 modules and even though I did learn some really good stuff I think the time and money spent could have been used more wisely.

    A practical course with fuel purifiers would take care of one of the problems Yachtjocky mentioned much more effective than reading about it. (I'm fortunate enough to have an Alfa Laval in my engine room but some of my colleagues on the smaller yachts only have filters.)

    No one is trying to say that the yacht engineer can do the commercial engineers job, we just think that they can co-exist in their different environments.

    And by the way, I thought I posted on "YachtForums" and not on "VLCCForums" :D
  6. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    To start, I am not doubting your skills (nor ever was) as a marine engineer, experience, or belittling you.

    However, there is a huge difference between being a marine engineer on the Bart Roberts, and someone who is an engineer starting out that might find his way on say a 135' Delta. I highly doubt that any seriously accomplished marine engineers are going to want to take the pay cut, or job on a 135'.

    Lets say under 175', no marine engineer is going to be expected to use a lathe in the engine room, change injectors (except in extreme cases), rebuild a turbo or complete engine, etc. You just don't have the means to do it in many cases. So how does a young engineer gain real world experience? That was the topic of this thread.

    As for the freighter, I wouldn't know the first thing about an engine in one. I've rebuilt several 4 cycle gasonline engines, could rebuild a DD or something to that effect if push came to shove and I had the book in front of me. I've overseen a few rebuilt, and mainly I'd need the book for setting the injectors and valves and such. But anyways, technically on the freighter they could remove the cylinder head, piston and rod at the last port, then change the liner underway, set the rings on the new piston/rod, prep the cylinder head, and get everything cleaned and ready so at the next port they could then set the piston/rod in, connect it to the crank, bolt the cylinder head on, and have the engine cylinder done and ready to go in the 2-3 days the freighter is getting unloaded/loaded at the next port?

    I feel it is better if someone say came from a CAT heavy equipment background before going for the schooling/training side of becoming a marine engineer. At least their prior experience gives them a lot of knowledge about diesels and hydraulics as well as a good mechanical aptitude. Versus having no experience and just going to school.

    I have no interest in becoming a marine engineer by trade, I'd rather be at the helm instead of stuck in the engine room. I can repair just about all systems on the yachts I run to proper standards, however, I am not going to pull a head off of an engine or anything internal in the engines. I'm a Captain, and just like your south sea explanation have to fix things to keep going.
  7. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    Amen, Capt J!

    A great post (in my eyes anyway) since it shows that some captains as well as some of us engineers see the need and use of people with a different background than the commercial.

    Thanks also for setting focus back to the original topic:
    (I have to correct you a little bit though since I probably don't count as young in everyones eyes with my 40+ :) )

    I did actually change the injectors on our main engines and our bow thruster engine but Bureau Veritas didn't really like it, so we had to use an authorised dealer to replace the injectors on the generators. Shouldn't logbook entries and photographs showing what's been done be enough "evidence"?
  8. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Does your boat have an EIAPP certificate?
  9. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    CaptJ, do you ever bother going back to your previous posts and read them, I had no intention typing for what seemed for ever yesterday explaining to any young engineer how NOT to change a piston as you described but then I read your complete opposite explanation this morning.

    You never wrote that they would remove in one port and replace in the next and I was simply pointing out to any young engineer that your first explanation was so wromg it was potentially very dangerous.

    As for some comments about freighters, again CaptJ brought them up and I was merely responding on a subject that I know about and he obviously does not.

    and like you say back to the original question about training, I still stick to my point in asking why should it be easy. Your training should be such that you are capable of doing anything on a yacht (just like we were trained on a ship).

    Would I have expected to have left school and be looking for a chief engineers job on a 60' or a 160' or even bigger yacht. No I had to go the proper route to learn my trade as an apprentice and it went a bit like this,

    Cadet - anybodies dog's body + chief's runner
    Junior Engineer - anybodies dog's body + chief's runner
    6th Engineer - 2nd Engineers runner
    5th Engineer - Chief engineer's assistant when taking fuel, air compressors and hydraulics
    4th Engineer - purifiers, fuel & electroncis
    3rd Engineer - generators & electric + assisting electrician
    2nd Engineer - main engines & dreaming of a chiefs job
    Chief Engineer - Finally making it to find that the world has changed and discover that you no longer had any more than a 2nd & 3rd to assist you.

    If you want to attain improvement in your skills you need to be dedicted and sacrifice alot to get there. Would an IT tech be capable of doing the job, possibly, a Caterpillar mechanic may have a better chance, how many lathes have I seen on yachts, one. That is not the point I was making.

    My point is a properly trained & qualified marine engineer from either the freighters or the navy has been trained in the many disciplines found on a ship or a yacht, he has had to pass very hard government set exams and not "just" attended a few courses.

    I am all for bringing the standards up and not down.
  10. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    That would have been a valid reason, but our main engines our from 1983 and are therefore exempt from Annex VI. They had a major overhaul in 2005 where all injectors, pistons, liners,... were replaced but that seems not to be considered as a "conversion" in the eyes of IMO.

    And when it comes to the generators they are from 2006 but only 50kVA and hence below the 130kW limit.

    Thanks for your comment! If for instance our main engines had been from 2001 then I probably would have done the same and perhaps violated the regulations. (Many traps to fall into...)
  11. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    Absolutely! Which is why I wrote the following in post #20:
    Since you're more or less using my words, I agree fully! (also in post #20):
    Which we all are, why would we otherwise bothering even discussing the subject? I think it is good to see that we all, with our different opinions and our different backgrounds contribute to the discussion. Hopefully thoughts and ideas here can inspire us and others to try to find ways to improve the standard of the entry-level yacht engineer.

    Thanks for your continued contributions to the thread!
  12. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    A question for Yachtjocky!

    You wrote earlier:

    Could you then please explain why I as a properly trained engineer with 4 years studies of mechanical engineering in upper secondary school and 4.5 years of university studies leading to a MSc in mechanical engineering shouldn't be able to "move from one job to another".

    Am I unable to adapt to another job because I started on land instead of on the sea? I can't see that spending the time and money to get a masters degree is trying to take the easiest way. Nor do I see a MSc in mechanical engineering as "no proper training".

    My question is meant as honest and sincere!
  13. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    I swore I wouldn't get involved in this mud wresting exercise but if you really have a MSc in ME then just go to the MCA and apply for a real license and get beyond this Y limited silliness.

    You will have to spend some time at sea on a ship working under the supervision of a marine engineer but will then have a real license to go with a real degree and you can then go do anything you want on any kind of vessel. There are ETO opportunities for those with an underlying professional marine engineering CoC.

    You are wasting your time arguing with yacht captains and yacht engineers and getting in the middle of a manhood measuring contest. Collect all your paperwork and see what you can convert it to in the real world paperchase then go spend some time with professionals. Come back to yachting when you realize how ridiculous this argument is and help improve the breed.
  14. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    Thanks Marmot!

    I actually did contact the MCA who replied that they first of all would need a "UK NARIC Statement of Comparability" for my non-UK degree and first there after could give me any sort of answer.

    I then got a little bit put off when they didn't recognise my non-UK advanced STCW training in my NoE for MEOL so I focused on retaking the 3 courses and go for the Y4 instead.

    Probably I should give it another try.

    Giving someone guidance can never be seen as "mud wrestling", thanks for your good advice!
  15. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    What nationality are you and your diplomas and certificates? For some reason I thought you were a "red ensign" guy.
  16. travler

    travler Senior Member

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    WOW reaading all of this has givin me a headace it makes crabing in the bering sea seem like a vacation i think i will stick with my old D398 and 2 old 3306 225 kw gensets and be happy ( and keep some wood plugs to drive in the bottom if we spring a leake )

    the best to you all travler
  17. Yachtjocky

    Yachtjocky Senior Member

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    At least now you know that you can replace a cylinder in anyone of them while at sea and the engines are running. That should give you time to prepare your resume with all that Caterpillar experience for the "Booze, Birds & Bucks" job on the white boats.
  18. travler

    travler Senior Member

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    THANKS i think i will keep my job , i don't fit that mold very well i tried that for a year after i thought i would retire then reality set in and i am back to what i love best (except for spoiling that grand kids )

    cheers travler
  19. mmss1

    mmss1 New Member

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    Swedish.

    You would expect the MCA to honour advanced STCW training done in another EU member state that's been on the IMO white-list from the beginning and never been a flag of convenience. Apparently UK fire fighters are sent to Sweden for advanced training, but I had to redo my Swedish Advanced Fire Fighting. :confused:

    Well, it's a very useful (and fun) course anyway and it's always a good thing to see the difference in Swedish and in this case French fire fighting. In Sweden we used diesel fires (I think they've changed to gas now) and in France gas fires. Very different experience! The diesel fires are much scarier!

    Anyway, thanks to your support I've just filed an application to NARIC (posting the documents tomorrow) and I should have their statement in 2-3 weeks. Then I'll send it to the MCA for an evaluation. I will keep you posted on their reply.

    Thanks again for your help!
  20. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    Have you submitted your diplomas to the Swedish maritime authority for evaluation toward a CoC? Sweden is on the Cayman Islands "white list" so a Swedish certificate is endorsable for service on a Cayman vessel. You do not have to play the MCA game at all.