Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a marine electrician? Perhaps you work on boats and your job requires you to do some electrical work, or maybe you are thinking about taking up this line of work; either way, this article will talk about the dangers that come with being a professional boat electrician.
Marine electricians are required to do all electrical work on boats, big and small. Some of the tasks involved include dealing with 110-volt circuits, rebuilding generators, running cables through confined spaces in the boat’s structure, repairing controls for engines or winches, charging batteries, and much more.
Unique Challenges Of Working With Electronics in the Marine Space
Marine electricians have a very unique set of electrical engineering challenges they must contend with. Once they are done installing an electrical part or system on a boat their work needs to stand up to the harshest conditions that nature can throw at it – constant saltwater exposure, wide temperature fluctuations from working in tropical temperatures during the day to freezing water in polar regions at night; heavy vibrations from huge diesel engines turning over all day long; salty air blowing into one’s eyes when standing outside in the open. If one piece of equipment goes wrong at sea it means trouble, so marine electricians need to be able to troubleshoot problems quickly and accurately because when they are out at sea, there is no one within shouting distance to call for help.
A large part of doing electrical work on boats is done in close quarters where accidents can easily occur. Marine electricians can easily get themselves into trouble if they don’t know what they are doing or lose focus during a task; their feet can slip through narrow decks with nothing under them but thousands of gallons of water below (a fall overboard often results in drowning). Their hands can easily be caught in moving machinery or tangled up in cables climbing around between decks (many marine electricians have lost fingers or hands to wiring machines). They can be electrocuted if they touch the wrong part of a live circuit, resulting in serious injury.
Due to these dangers, it often takes years of experience for one to become a qualified marine electrician. There are strict licensing requirements that need to be met before one can even begin working on marine vessels; this is why all boat electricians are required to wear personal flotation devices (PFDs) at work during any task involving electrical work and outside when moving around on the deck of the boat (marine electricians must also show proof of PFD training before allowing them to work unfinished jobs without supervision). Many boats do not allow unqualified personnel on board at all, so you won’t see your neighbor’s teenagers doing repairs on their boats.
It is estimated that there are over two million marine vessels out at sea on any given day. To make sure these boats can operate safely and efficiently, qualified marine electricians are required to do all the necessary work; it is too risky for untrained people to go aboard.
Advice From Experienced Marine Electricians
For this article we interviewed a few of our talented and experienced electricians, here’s what they had to say about their job.
“I’ve been an electrician for nine years now, but I’ve always had a love of boats. Being able to spend all my time doing electrical work on them is the greatest career I could ask for.”
“The best part of this job is seeing how excited people are when they are ready to set out on their adventures. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that all the hard work was worth it when they are finally about to hit the water.”
“It’s a serious business being an electrician on boats, so safety comes before anything else. If someone isn’t wearing their PFD correctly or if they are not following proper procedure during an electrical job, I have to stop them from doing their work until they can prove that they know what they are doing.”
“I don’t care how good you think you are at fixing things around the house, boat electrical work is a totally different ballgame. Marine electricians need to be able to stand up under pressure because there’s no one within shouting distance to help them when they are out at sea. I’ve seen good electricians leave jobs undone because they were uncomfortable with the dangers involved.”
“I’d advise anyone thinking of getting into marine electrical work to start by finding a boat that’s in need of an upgrade (a good place for this is your local boat club). Offer to help them with their electrical needs, and once you have proven yourself you can start to branch out. Word of mouth is the best advertisement for marine electricians!”
So there you have it, folks, straight from the horse’s mouth. Now you know what you are up against if you decide to go into this line of work.
Are You Prepared For A Job As A Marine Electrician?
Marine electricians need to be quick, precise, and accurate with what they do, because one mistake can mean disaster — resulting in injury or death for them, their crewmates, or any innocent bystanders coming across their path. If you are thinking about becoming a marine electrician it is best to start by learning your trade ashore first before working onboard ships; that way you will know the full extent of what you are getting into. Otherwise, if you just want some fun exploring electrical systems on boats then summer work as a deckhand is great — just remember to always wear your PFD regardless of what task you are assigned at all times (marine electricians don’t usually bother with them unless they are working on the water).
Marine electricians have a very risky job, so if you do choose to become one be very careful of what you do and always wear your PFD. In some cases it can take more than just luck for marine electricians to come home alive; many boat owners prefer to hire those who grew up around water and understand boats. Getting the right training before becoming a professional marine electrician is also an important thing as well — otherwise, you may end up getting into more trouble than you bargained for.