Marine Mechanics and Confined Spaces

Many workplaces on a boat contain confined space areas and while they may not be designed for people, they are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. A confined space may have limited/restricted access for entry or exit and they are not designed for continuous workplace occupancy.

Examples of confined spaces include cargo tanks, holds, engine rooms, storage lockers, crawl spaces, tunnels, and access-ways.

 “Working in a confined space” is actually a WorkSafe certified course, due to the considerable dangers involved. Every boat owner knows that they may need to do a little maintenance from time to time in the cramped quarters of an engine room. However, it is not advisable to spend considerable time in close quarters with unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, fumes and heat stress that can lead to life threatening situations.

BC Marine Surveyors can connect you with a dependable mechanic to help keep you safe when the situation warrants a professional.

Wood Shipwrights

A shipwright builds, restores and repairs boats and ships of all sizes, from handmade canoes to large naval vessels. Depending on the size of the ship, shipwrights may use hand and power tools to do their work, or they may work in conjunction with a team of shipbuilders and craftsmen.

Shipwrights must be highly creative and have knowledge of construction, physics, engineering, and math. Experience is a must, as it is common that many repairs are unique situations. Unfortunately, a regular wood worker (even an experienced one) is often at a loss to dependably repair the complex curves and demands of wood boat construction.


Riggers are probably the most under appreciated trade in the boating industry. The job of a rigger is to assist in movement of heavy equipment and cargo by calculating the size and type of sling required for a particular lift, selecting the slings to lift the load, attaching the slings to the load and assisting in controlling the load as it is lifted by a crane. Riggers also select pulleys or blocks used for lifts, tie knots to secure cargo and maintain rope as required.

If anything needs to be lifted and put down without damage (like an engine or an entire boat in the case of a haul-out) a professional rigger is essential. There are many horror stories out there involving serious (and dangerous) situations where damage has run into the tens of thousands due to incompetent riggers. I’ve had the good fortune to find and align myself and my business with two of the best on Vancouver Island. I wouldn’t trust my boat with anyone else.

Marine Electrical

Whoa! Don’t even get me started! An experienced marine electrician works with a variety of systems from different eras, different countries and even different grounding systems.

Following are the most common electrical problems and jobs, which marine engineers must know about:

  1. Operation of various electrical instruments: A marine engineer must know the correct operating procedures to operate all modern and obsolete instruments commonly found on ships on our coast.
  2. Starter panel routine: The starter panel of every electrical system comprises of contacts which need regular maintenance for burn outs, breakage, deposits accumulation etc. The maintenance of starter panel is a critical part of any marine vehicle.
  3. Insulation resistance: All wires and cables in the electrical system are susceptible to short circuits due to contact with salt water. Marine engineers must know how to maintain insulation resistance of wires and cables.
  4. Earth fault finding: One of the most common problems in an electrical system is the earth fault. Finding an earth fault is an exhaustive job which requires utmost patience. A Marine Engineer should know the methods and instruments to find out the earth fault.
  5. Motor overhauling: Electrical motors are present in abundance on ships. These motors drive several other machinery systems such as pumps, fans, purifiers etc. The complete overhauling procedure of motors must be known by marine engineer including the safety procedures required.
  6. Bus Bar overhauling: The bus bar of the ship carries and distributes the power generated by the ship’s generator. It is important to know the correct isolating and maintenance procedures for bus bar while the ship is at normal voyage or out of water in dry dock.
  7. Battery Charging onboard: Batteries are used mainly for emergency  power backup and for operating emergency LSA such as lifeboats. The charging and maintenance of the batteries have to be performed at regular interval of time and marine engineers must be aware of this process as well as all new development in solar and wind chargers.

These are some of the important and most common jobs a marine electrician must know onboard ships, we can put you in touch with some of the best.