Any new marine engineer will quickly find out that there’s a huge gulf between what you learn from textbooks and what you learn actually working on a ship. Every ship and system is unique in many ways, so here are a few tips to help as you get to know your new ship.
Parts, Maintenance and Records
Because marine engine room parts and systems are not usually the shame from ship to ship, you need to familiarize yourself with the maintenance and operating procedures as quickly as possible. Read the manuals and ensure they’re close by in case you need to troubleshoot.
Whenever you make a repair, keep a thorough record of it to help other engineers who may work in the engine room. Be sure to get details of significant past repairs to get a good history of the ship. Eventually, you’ll get a handle on which parts and repairs are needed most frequently, and you can build a stock of the most necessary parts and won’t need to panic when you have to fix something at sea.
Get to know technical specifications like clearances. Knowing a compressor’s bumping and bearing clearances, for example, will allow you to plan and execute a proper maintenance schedule. You also need to remember that when you change out or repair machinery, the parts next to it might change in terms of fit and size. This is another case in which you’ll want to double-check the records for that machinery to ensure you don’t buy the wrong parts.
In order to keep your maintenance schedule effective, you’ll need to spend a lot of time testing machinery. Almost every critical machine in the engine room has a built-in test allowing you to determine how efficiently it’s working. As long as you test routinely, the rest of your job keeping the engine room running will be significantly easier.