Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Is an engine office just a glorified mechanic?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Is an engine office just a glorified mechanic?

    First off I've intentionally chose the title to be provocative, and hopefully initiate a good response.

    I've recently graduated with an MEng in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Manchester, and have been offered a fast track cadetship (engine dept.).

    Anyway, during a recent conversation about me being offered the cadetship, a friend asks me: what i'll be doing on ship, whether i'll basically just be a mechanic, and why I've spent 4 years at uni to become a mechanic - to which i didn't really have a response.

    Now I've researched the role thoroughly, but of course i have my doubts about the career (as i think most aspiring cadets would), with the job being somewhat life changing. I have nothing against mechanics, its a respectable career, but I need a career with more depth than that. I want a career that is both technically and practically challenging. So I have a few questions for you lot.

    TLDR Questions:

    (1) Is an engine officer just a mechanic/ maintenance technician?
    (2) In what way is an engine officer different than a mechanic/technician?
    (3) Besides qualifications, what differentiates a rating from an engine officer?
    (4) What's the equivalent onshore role for a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th engine officer?

    Thanks kids,

    Chrissy

  • #2
    an engineer will come along and give you a better answer, but as a start, think about what other jobs you would be interested in as an engineer yes there's lots of pulling things apart and doing set hours and replacing bearings and seals, however its one of the few places when you get large engines to actually play with and there will be problems to solve often in a difficult circumstances.
    to answer your questions
    1) yes
    2) the same
    3) resposnibilty, paperwork, no painting, limited cleaning
    4) 4th: car mechanic, 3rd: train mechanic 2: no good idea 1st: any engineering manager no real day to day hands on work but an assumed knowledge base and management skills/ coordination of a team (project manager)

    im sure someone will disagree or at least offer better ideas
    you can take it with a pinch of salt, but i prefer it with a nip of whisky

    Comment


    • #3
      There are many systems on ship that is to the responsibility to that of the engine department, one of them is the engine, and the fact that a car has an engine shouldn't imply that the two jobs are the same. Even with the engine, the maintenance that gets carried out differs largely from that of a car engine, with factors such as time allowed for maintenance, replacement parts and there is nobody to call or to send parts off, everything is done by the engineers.

      The difference between that of an officer and a rating are the jobs that are carried out and the responsibility held. I have been on ships where the rating has done nothing but clean the machinery spaces and others where the ratings have been heavily involved with major jobs.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Stugots View Post

        (1) Is an engine officer just a mechanic/ maintenance technician?
        (2) In what way is an engine officer different than a mechanic/technician?
        (3) Besides qualifications, what differentiates a rating from an engine officer?
        (4) What's the equivalent onshore role for a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th engine officer?
        1) No. Your an Engineer, and also an officer.

        2) What does being an Engineer involve, it involves much more then doing mechanical work straight from a manual, there is a lot of problem solving, and if you are able to take a good challenge and prove your ability, the senior engineers will give you work to suit your ability, and give you space to progress. It is not a simple Mechanics job.

        What is it to be an officer. Even newly qualified, as a Junior Officer you will be put in a position where you can be in charge of a watch, have mechanics/motormen/apprentices under you, and are also responsible for the safety of other crew, such as deck and catering, and even more extensively on a cruiseship, with hospitality and entertainment staff, when it comes to things such as emergency drills, fire, rescue boats etc. They will all be looking to you and your fellow officers. At sea you do not have backup, and you will be in a position sometimes, which you never would be in ashore, where solving the problem, in the correct manner, could save life.

        3) A rating, either does cleaning/painting or other simple tasks when his ability proved, or he will be assisting an engineering officer on more complicated work, and you will act as the team leader, or second team leader in some cases. You will also find yourself working with shore-side technicians, specialists in say a steering gear system, you will be there supervising them, as the expert in your vessel, and making sure his ability does match what it is supposed to be. You would be the eyes for the Chief Engineer, not only assistance and advicer for the service engineer.

        4) Whats the equivilant roles ashore? Tough one, as you are challenged with a lot more variation of work on ships typically then ashore, and different circumstances. a Junior 3rd or 4th engineer I could only explain as similar to a RAF Engineer. As in the RAF they train you as a mechanic first, then after a couple of years you do further training and go back as an engineer, slightly more senior. But to be hoenst, really its a lot different, I do a lot more variations in tasks then my friend in the RAF. And can transfer my skills to other industries easier then he could exit the aerospace industry. If you had the combined experience, then you would be able to get a job almost any where engineering wise. A ship engineer not only does mechanical and electrical engineering, but also does ship structual, will is similar to construction of bridges, wind turbines, other large steel structures. You can apply the mechanical skills to places such as power stations. And electrical is really broad, its near enough everything from microwave, to complicated alarm systems, electrical propulsion and satellite communications.
        The equivilant of 2nd engineer is senior team leader position, he is in charge of the engine room junior officers and crew, he is 80% practical management, 20% paperwork manegement.
        Chief Engineer is the tie ashore, and also does all the fuel calculations, keeps on top of what work needs to be done when, major work planning. Is the connection with the technical superindendant ashore. This would be the superindendant shore side typically, you need this extra position, as the superindtendant can't be both in the office and on the ship at the same time in this industry.
        You will progress shore side on to do technical superintendant jobs too if you want, and if your really switched on there is hell of a lot of money in management positions, surveying positions and even some directors of smaller shipping companies are ex-chief engineers. So plenty of space to excel!

        Hope that helps. a ships engine is much much much more complicated then a aerospace engine such as a Rolls Royce Trent. There is a lot more auxiliary systems associated, and then there is also systems for things such as fuel purification, LO purification, water generation, ballast, oily water seperation, hotel supplies, huge steam plants, list goes on probably.
        This is just some of the systems in basic terms you come across on a vessel - http://www.marineengineering.org.uk/


        ETwhart? I think you need to go work out why mechanics are called mechanics, engineers are called engineers. What type of ships you work on?
        ....

        Comment


        • #5
          I stand by the vague size/ complexity
          a 4th engineer who is stripping down purifiers, looking after the sewage plant, cleaning other filters etc is about the same level of work that a competent car mechanic would be at. obviously its a bigger range of systems but its basic systems.
          There's different aspects to it, but I don't consider 4th/3rd engineers to be an actual 'engineer' outside the marine industry where within it a lot of the responsibility is actually for keeping within the regulations, the safety duties during emergencies etc. which is what I would class as being the 'officers' part of it
          you can take it with a pinch of salt, but i prefer it with a nip of whisky

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ETwhat? View Post
            I stand by the vague size/ complexity
            a 4th engineer who is stripping down purifiers, looking after the sewage plant, cleaning other filters etc is about the same level of work that a competent car mechanic would be at. obviously its a bigger range of systems but its basic systems.
            There's different aspects to it, but I don't consider 4th/3rd engineers to be an actual 'engineer' outside the marine industry where within it a lot of the responsibility is actually for keeping within the regulations, the safety duties during emergencies etc. which is what I would class as being the 'officers' part of it
            So what type of ship do you work on cruiseship?

            A capable 4th engineer, would be given more advanced tasks to match is ability and allow him to grow, if he has the correct senior officers. A competent car mechanic, they are far and few inbetween, especailly now most of them rely on plug in analysis! And if your car doesn't have a plug in system, they look at you perplexed. Never seen a car mechanic do things such as condition monitoring, planned maintenance, fixing 50 tonne cranes, large hydraulics and a whole other host of things I would trust with a capable junior.
            I never have been a 4th engineer, went straight in at 3rd. But most people who do a 4ths job, don't stay there long, a less they are completely incompetent. At 3rds level you are taking charge of the aux generators on a lot of ships.

            I'm glad you agree on the officer part. I would presume you see yourself as an ETO more advanced then a run of the mill electrician?
            ....

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Dosedmonkey View Post
              1) No. Your an Engineer, and also an officer.

              2) What does being an Engineer involve, it involves much more then doing mechanical work straight from a manual, there is a lot of problem solving, and if you are able to take a good challenge and prove your ability, the senior engineers will give you work to suit your ability, and give you space to progress. It is not a simple Mechanics job.

              What is it to be an officer. Even newly qualified, as a Junior Officer you will be put in a position where you can be in charge of a watch, have mechanics/motormen/apprentices under you, and are also responsible for the safety of other crew, such as deck and catering, and even more extensively on a cruiseship, with hospitality and entertainment staff, when it comes to things such as emergency drills, fire, rescue boats etc. They will all be looking to you and your fellow officers. At sea you do not have backup, and you will be in a position sometimes, which you never would be in ashore, where solving the problem, in the correct manner, could save life.

              GM - You won't be in charge of the watch right from the get go. You'll be supervised and mentored until the C/E or 2/E is happy enough to go to bed whilst you are on watch.

              3) A rating, either does cleaning/painting or other simple tasks when his ability proved, or he will be assisting an engineering officer on more complicated work, and you will act as the team leader, or second team leader in some cases. You will also find yourself working with shore-side technicians, specialists in say a steering gear system, you will be there supervising them, as the expert in your vessel, and making sure his ability does match what it is supposed to be. You would be the eyes for the Chief Engineer, not only assistance and advicer for the service engineer.

              GM - Partly correct, you are there to assist the service engineer, but you should not be signing off any work they do. Either the C/E or 2/E does that as they are supposed to inspect it to ensure the work is done correctly

              4) Whats the equivilant roles ashore? Tough one, as you are challenged with a lot more variation of work on ships typically then ashore, and different circumstances. a Junior 3rd or 4th engineer I could only explain as similar to a RAF Engineer. As in the RAF they train you as a mechanic first, then after a couple of years you do further training and go back as an engineer, slightly more senior. But to be hoenst, really its a lot different, I do a lot more variations in tasks then my friend in the RAF. And can transfer my skills to other industries easier then he could exit the aerospace industry. If you had the combined experience, then you would be able to get a job almost any where engineering wise. A ship engineer not only does mechanical and electrical engineering, but also does ship structual, will is similar to construction of bridges, wind turbines, other large steel structures. You can apply the mechanical skills to places such as power stations. And electrical is really broad, its near enough everything from microwave, to complicated alarm systems, electrical propulsion and satellite communications.
              The equivilant of 2nd engineer is senior team leader position, he is in charge of the engine room junior officers and crew, he is 80% practical management, 20% paperwork manegement.
              Chief Engineer is the tie ashore, and also does all the fuel calculations, keeps on top of what work needs to be done when, major work planning. Is the connection with the technical superindendant ashore. This would be the superindendant shore side typically, you need this extra position, as the superindtendant can't be both in the office and on the ship at the same time in this industry.
              You will progress shore side on to do technical superintendant jobs too if you want, and if your really switched on there is hell of a lot of money in management positions, surveying positions and even some directors of smaller shipping companies are ex-chief engineers. So plenty of space to excel!

              GM - To be honest, I've got utterly no idea what this is all about or if you fully understand the role of the Superintendent ashore or not. When it comes to communications with the vessel, generally (not always) most places tend to send all comms via the Captain, who passes it on to the C/E. If the C/E needs to send messages ashore, he will do it via the Captain. Some ships have a C/E's email, but it is normally good practice (and general courtesy) to keep the Captain copied in. The Superintendent is also in charge of more than just the Engineers on board. Typically, they are in charge of all aspects of the vessels management with the exception of the safety, quality and operational side of things. The Superintendent is the one that controls the vessel's budget, if service engineers attend or not and liaising with a whole host of people who all have their own interests in the vessel.



              ETwhart? I think you need to go work out why mechanics are called mechanics, engineers are called engineers. What type of ships you work on?

              GM - Pot, this is kettle, can you hear me?
              Have you been drinking? Half of this makes no sense...

              My comments are in bold...
              I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

              All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by GuinnessMan View Post
                Have you been drinking? Half of this makes no sense...

                My comments are in bold...

                These are all of my experiences.

                I was in charge of a watch after a weeks supervision, I haven't written every detail about the job in my post. An overview.

                I didn't say you sign off any work service engineers do, but I did say you act as the eyes for the Chief Engineer, as he can not be there the whole time.

                The companies I've worked for have had,
                Operations Superintendant, comms mostly to Captain,
                Technical Superintendant, comms mostly to C/E.

                A mechanic is a tradesman, craftsman, or technician who uses tools to build or repair machinery

                An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics, and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers understand in depth materials, structures, and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost.

                Perhaps some more answers to the original questions, will give a broader picture to the industry and other engineers opinions.
                ....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dosedmonkey View Post
                  So what type of ship do you work on cruiseship?

                  A capable 4th engineer, would be given more advanced tasks to match is ability and allow him to grow, if he has the correct senior officers. A competent car mechanic, they are far and few inbetween, especailly now most of them rely on plug in analysis! And if your car doesn't have a plug in system, they look at you perplexed. Never seen a car mechanic do things such as condition monitoring, planned maintenance, fixing 50 tonne cranes, large hydraulics and a whole other host of things I would trust with a capable junior.
                  I never have been a 4th engineer, went straight in at 3rd. But most people who do a 4ths job, don't stay there long, a less they are completely incompetent. At 3rds level you are taking charge of the aux generators on a lot of ships.

                  I'm glad you agree on the officer part. I would presume you see yourself as an ETO more advanced then a run of the mill electrician?
                  Currently working on some interesting ro-ro's although have sailed on tankers as well during my cadetship. not that it really matters and I do get to sail with whole british crews again not that it makes any difference but it is what im judging what I see british officers doing.

                  3rd engineers look after the gen sets which are reasonably small (expecting for electric propulsion) and actually have a lot in common with a large diesel train what I was aiming at is trying to provide other industries where the level would be comparable. However I have a mate who works as an engineer designing and testing systems for electric trains I consider him to be an engineer the people who fix them with no ability to design one are technicians / mechanics

                  As you ask about ETO's yes compared to a ship going electrician its a more advanced qualification as the electricians I've seen at sea had no clue about most bridge equipment or more complex control systems. however the job is still that of a technician not an engineer while I can fault find sat comms and bridge equipment I wouldn't really be able to design one.
                  you can take it with a pinch of salt, but i prefer it with a nip of whisky

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ETwhat? View Post
                    However I have a mate who works as an engineer designing and testing systems for electric trains I consider him to be an engineer the people who fix them with no ability to design one are technicians / mechanics
                    .
                    So you're answers are clearly based on what you consider to be an engineer, not what an engineer is.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wow....ships engineers just mechanics....well yes, and just stock takers, and just accountants, and just fault finders, and just mother and father to juniors, and just librarian, and just the people who build the BBQ, and just about 2 million other jobs.

                      Try this.....whats the difference between god and an engineer?
                      .
                      .
                      .
                      .
                      .
                      .
                      god doesnt think he's an engineer

                      A ships engineer is so much more rounded than a mechanic, they tend to specialise in "whatever" it is, a ships engineer will be doing with crap (litterally fixing the poo plany) one day, then ripping a purifier apart the next either planned or unplanned, than at some point do a stock control day working out how much oil / fuel/ chemicals are on board........

                      We have so many hats that I need a complete hat stand to keep them all on.
                      Trust me I'm a Chief.

                      Views expressed by me are mine and mine alone.
                      Yes I work for the big blue canoe company.
                      No I do not report things from here to them as they are quite able to come and read this stuff for themselves.


                      Twitter:- @DeeChief

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A ships' engineer will be able to operate, fault find and repair on any of the following.

                        Main engines
                        Electrical generation systems
                        Electrical distribution system
                        Main and generating auxiliary systems, such as cooling water, lubricating oil, starting air, pumps, coolers, filters, etc.
                        Air conditioning and refrigeration
                        Cargo handling equipment
                        Navigation equipment
                        Bilge and ballast pumping systems
                        Fire fighting systems
                        Fresh water generation, treatment and distribution
                        Other specialised systems depending on the type of ship

                        Senior engineers will also be involved in work and project planning as well as personnel management, ensuring legal compliance and general management of the ship.

                        Know many mechanics who would do that in a days work?
                        Go out, do stuff

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Surely the difference between an engineer and a technician or mechanic is a matter of depth rather than breadth?

                          Do all grades of seagoing marine engineer genuinely work at a comparable level to civil engineers, electronic engineers or aeronautical engineers (for example)? For me, this is the fundamental question from the OP.

                          (Genuine question. I've encountered this debate before, along the lines of "Marine engineers are glorified fitters", but I don't really know enough to agree or disagree).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I know its a bit of a bone of contention for some people with BEng (or higher) degrees that pretty much everyone who picks up a spanner in the UK gets referred to as an engineer, right down to the guy that fixes your washing machine or whatever (no disrespect to people that fix washing machines for a living, just an example).

                            Obviously marine engineers are specifically more specialised than people who fix washing machines but could they design some of the systems that they maintain on the ship? I genuinely have no idea. I think that there is a school of thought that only people with engineering degrees who are involved in the design stage etc are real engineers and everyone else is a glorified technician. Not saying that I agree with that but I think it is something some people with engineering degrees think...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              But I as a 4th engineer have a degree in marine engineering ? As will most of the cadets coming into the industry. What makes a degree in aerospace engineering more of a degree than a degree in marine engineering ?

                              Your suggestion that the only true engineers are the design engineers would demote around 90% of engineers to 'glorified technicians'. Engineers such as chemical, nuclear, development or materials engineers are simply not real engineers ? But I suppose you have a different approach for electrical engineers ?

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X