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  • ETOs career

    Evening all,

    Just some questions around the ETO role. Do all ships have ETOs - they seem to have a more defined role on cruise/RFA/specialist stuff (drilling and the like). Do box boats and tankers also have ETOs? How many are typically on board?

    On tankers and the like are there say a couple of ETOs who slot into the engineering chain of command?

    What will the proposed STCW oow certificates for ETOs mean in practice?

    How would ones career develop as as ETO? Slight worry that there may be a glass ceiling... of course balanced by the fact that ETO could be more and more common in future...

    What are peoples views on the "pure" ETO vs the engine + eto elements

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: ETOs career

    some good questions

    I finally chose the pure ETO route but it was a tough decision, there are a lot of uncertainties which you've summarised well.
    Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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    • #3
      Re: ETOs career

      If you want to be a Chief, do Engine. You can (in theory) climb quite high in the RFA as an SE (e.g. Captain SE on ?70k), but essentially an ETO only comes in three flavours: fast-track trainee; junior; and senior.
      That's your "glass ceiling". It's not a career laddery type area. Shipping is for nerds.

      Having said that, ETOs seem to earn quite nicely. You can find adverts online with salary offers as good as many Chiefs for someone with a similar sounding amount of experience ?30k-50k.

      The Warsash ETO thing is Engine "plus"; the course (from what I can tell) doesn't/can't cover the EE stuff of the STC ETO course in the same depth or breadth - there's only so much time to fit it all in! So it seems fine for non-specialist ships without loads of EE stuff on them (like box boats); but some ships will need a dedicated member of staff or tiny EE team. Cruise Ships have all their entertainment stuff and customer's facilities to tend to; specialist ships: LNG; RFA; have extra EE stuff to tend to.
      Box Boats and LNG ships will generally always carry ETOs, the former for dealing with Refrigerated containers; systems; monitoring & repairs; and the latter for dealing with High Voltage pumping & cargo systems.
      They're generally quite rare on AHTS/PSV and Tankers unless they're particularly high specification ships, however expect to see them on those ships with lots of specialised electro stuff like Dive Support, Offshore construction (ROVs) etc...

      Then there's transferability... I reckon EE is pretty safe on that front. Tiffies on oil rigs; ROV stuff; industrial electrician, all sorts of things come to mind beyond it.
      In fact I would go so far as to suggest that a HNC or HND is more valuable than a degree these days (in terms of landing a job), because it tends to mean you can actually do something of practical use; and AIUI, HND level is probably all you really need for that gig.
      This might make interesting reading...
      http://jschadwick.co.uk/


      I wouldn't hold your breath about the "future" growth; it could be plugged by Indian crew.
      Electro CoCs might come a bit sooner though. AIUI, such a CoC would just mean that you could straightforwardly work in that capacity worldwide with less difficulty (i.e. without having to explain your background to HR at Johnny Foreigner plc).


      I totally understand where prospective Electro Officers are coming from: wanting to feel like it's not a dead end and that they can look forward to many years at sea and some sense (if you'll pardon the pun) that they're not treading water in their careers.
      I'm pretty sure it's not a dead end at all though; but it is a different path. AIUI you'll mingle with the Clankies, but get to wander all over the ship and smell fresh air instead of the Chief's farts!


      I suspect that it's not uncommon for people thinking about the Electro option to worry about possibly being trapped in a rut/held hostage by an employer/having few options; and then entertain the idea of doing Engine because it seems safer (plus you get the CoCs).

      The safer position seems to me to be to have as close to a guarantee of a job at the end of your training. I suspect that there are so few ETO cadetships that being selected for one is as safe as it gets (maybe only 3 or 4 per fleet that actually hires them - enough for one classfull at STC?). It's also probably safer in the long run to be doing something you're more interested in (and easier to get hired) when it's obvious that that's where your whole ("professional") focus is.


      I got the impression it was Deckies who were more interested in climbing the ranks to captain!
      Emeritus Admin & Founding Member

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      • #4
        Re: ETOs career

        Originally posted by nemo
        I suspect that it's not uncommon for people thinking about the Electro option to worry about possibly being trapped in a rut/held hostage by an employer/having few options; and then entertain the idea of doing Engine because it seems safer (plus you get the CoCs).

        The safer position seems to me to be to have as close to a guarantee of a job at the end of your training. I suspect that there are so few ETO cadetships that being selected for one is as safe as it gets. It's also probably safer in the long run to be doing something you're more interested in (and easier to get hired) when it's obvious that that's where your whole ("professional") focus is.


        I got the impression it was Deckies who were more interested in climbing the ranks to captain!
        I agree. I was thinking of doing the Engine+Electro course but although it seemed a safer option with the option to progress to Chief Engineer etc, I have no natural interest in engines and from some other career experience I've had, the most important thing is to work in an area you're fully interested in, so pure Electro for me.

        I'll take my chances with my career and how the future might or might not turn out, Electro seems good right now.
        Former TH cadet with experience of cruise ships, buoy tenders, research ships and oil tankers

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        • #5
          Re: ETOs career

          As nemo said, Electro can be a bit specialist, the traditional sources of Electricians has gone and they have only just woken upto that fact, many would come "time served" from the mining industry / car industry or in fact industry in general (ship yards...remember those?!).

          Though most stuff nowadays is pretty much "throw away" even on radar's and engine command and control gear, the trick is fault finding and throwing the right part away! However most companies at the very least have shoreside office bound electricians who are on call 24/7 so you can e-mail or phone them when really stuck, so it offers another route for you, when the wife demands you are home more often and at night and weekends and things, become an electrical supper, with the option of runnning away back to sea when she has had enough Dont giggle it happens

          Captain isnt really in your scope unless you are RFA or RN, I "think" some of the cruise ships have CTO's Chief Technical Officer who may be either electrical or mechanical, and in order to keep the Flag happy they will have enough "tickets" in the right places etc.
          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

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          • #6
            Just out of curiosity...are you sure the rfa have SE Captains? are there engineer captains in the rfa as well? I thought it was only deckies who could become captains! So what is the career progression (ranks) for Systems Engineers? can they become commodores?!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by chunkylumber View Post
              Just out of curiosity... 1) are you sure the rfa have SE Captains? 2) are there engineer captains in the rfa as well? 3) I thought it was only deckies who could become captains! 4) So what is the career progression (ranks) for Systems Engineers? 5) can they become commodores?!
              1) Yes, but singular. There is a single post at Abbey Wood for a Captain (SE).
              2) Every Chief Engineer is a Captain (E), though that is about to change.
              3) Think again.
              4) 3rd Officer (SE), 2nd Officer (SE), 1st Officer (SE), Chief Officer (SE).
              5) Not yet, though the SE/ME divide used to be more fluid and I don't know whether past Commodores (E) were ever employed as SEs.

              Captain (branch) is just a pay grade. Do not confuse 'Captain' with 'Master'.

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