things junior engineer should learn

Top 17 Things Junior Engineer Should Learn On Joining a Ship

With the employment market for junior engineers becoming increasingly competitive, the value of cadetship can’t be understated. Senior engineers have their own particular tasks onboard, and with the exception of a few engineers, most of them do not take time out to teach and train freshers. However, it is crucial for a junior engineer to learn the procedures as after 15 days or a month, he would be expected to carry out all duties on his own without making any mistakes. 

When new to the ship, it is normal for a junior engineer to be surrounded by fear, doubts, and confusion. Some senior engineers understand this and provide time to grasp things. But, the junior engineer shouldn’t expect unlimited time to learn his duties. As a result, even if the junior engineer is on the training period, it is critical for him to know and absorb tasks as quickly as possible. 

The faster you grasp and understand your duties, the better the future learning process will be. Thus, in this blog, we will take you through 17 things that you should learn as a junior engineer on joining a ship.

Table of contents:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the ship
  2. Know the escape routes 
  3. Know the location of important valves
  4. Find out how the DPA is
  5. Check the location of Muster stations
  6. Observe good housekeeping practices
  7. Know about the segregation of garbage
  8. Learn about the company rules and policies
  9. Learn how to use emergency equipment
  10. See how a lifeboat is launched
  11. Learn about alarms
  12. Learn about manuals
  13. Know about the automation in the control room
  14. Familiarize yourself with the engine room
  15. Learn about Manoeuvring
  16. Know about SOPEP
  17. Foster good working relationships

17 things a junior engineer should learn on joining a ship

1. Familiarize yourself with the ship

Things Junior engineer should learn-1

As a new sailor, you need to familiarize yourself with the ship as soon as possible. Don’t fall for the notion that just because you’ll be on board for several months, you’ll have plenty of time to do that afterward. The earlier you become acquainted with the ship, the better and easier things will be for you. 

Also read: 14 things to know and carry before joining a ship

2. Know the escape routes 

While getting acquainted with the ship and familiarizing yourself with different areas onboard, make sure you remember the emergency exit routes and doors on the ship. Especially for new crew members, this should be the first safety lesson. You need to remember these routes like the back of your hand so that you’re not stuck when an emergency situation arises. 

3. Know the location of important valves

Almost every new crew member is tasked with “tracing pipelines” in the first week onboard. As a junior engineer works in assisting capacity, he must be familiar with the location of valves and pipes. Equipment such as pumps, filters, heat exchangers needs to be isolated before commencing work. This is done by closing inlet and outlet valves, draining, and where applicable, venting.

4. Find out who the DPA is

The designated person ashore, also known as the DPA, is the basis for maintaining a strong safety culture onboard a ship. As a junior engineer, you should find out who the DPA of your ship is. As the DPA is the company’s first direct line of communication with the senior management, he/she is available for contact at all hours of the day in case resources are required to protect the safety of the crew, vessel, cargo, and environment.

5. Check the location of Muster stations

Things Junior engineer should learn

A muster list consists of all the duties and responsibilities allocated to each person on the ship in case of an emergency. In other words, it is a list of roles that each member of a ship’s crew is obligated to fulfill in an emergency situation. The muster list is placed in essential locations such as the bridge, engine room, accommodation passageways, and so on – areas where the ship’s personnel spend the majority of their time. You should know about these muster stations as you don’t want yourself to get lost in case of need.

6. Observe good housekeeping practices

It is essential to ensure that your workplace is clean, not just for the sake of cleanliness, but also for the early detection of leakages. When the engine room is clean, you will be easily able to detect new leaks. The purifier room is one such location where leakage might occur, and it is crucial to identify a leaking valve early to avoid a large cleanup job. Slips, stumbles, and falls might also result from oil on the floor. Thus, cleaning up after a job is as vital as doing the job itself. 

7. Know about the segregation of garbage

Onboard, a Waste Management Plan provides a systematic method to garbage disposal and management in the maritime environment. A junior engineer should know about the segregation of garbage on a ship, i.e. he should have an idea of what garbage to throw in which designated color bin. This is going to be the same for all ships and thus will be useful throughout the sailing career.

8. Learn about the company rules and policies

Every shipping company has its own set of policies, rules, and regulations to be followed. As a new crew member, it becomes your responsibility to know about these policies to save yourself from any kind of trouble. It will provide you with a clear idea of what to do and what not to do on a ship. These policies are generally available on the company’s website. If not, you can always ask for them from your seniors.

9. Learn how to use emergency equipment

Things Junior engineer should learn

Personal safety on a ship is of utmost priority for everyone onboard. As a new member, the junior engineer should learn how to use emergency equipment including emergency generators, life-saving appliances, fire fighting appliances, etc. You should also know where these equipment are kept. For the personal safety of crew members; fire extinguishers, fire suits, breathing equipment, escape smoke hood, personal locator, pyrotechnics, first aid kit, etc. are available on the ship.

10. See how a lifeboat is launched

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Depending on the kind of ship and other unique needs, numerous types of lifeboats are employed on board. As a crew member, you need to know how a lifeboat is launched, as all the lifeboats have different types of releasing mechanisms. These systems allow the boat to be released from the davit, which is tied to a wire or falls through a hook. A junior engineer should understand how to launch and operate a lifeboat, as well as how to start the lifeboat’s engine. 

11. Learn about alarms

The emergency signals and alarms on a ship can help in tackling an emergency or avoiding it completely efficiently and in the right way. On a ship, emergency alarms are fitted throughout the vessel’s multiple systems and machinery to alert the crew members about a potentially dangerous scenario that might result from various reasons onboard. As a junior engineer, you need to learn about identifying various alarms such as Co2 alarm, general alarm, engine room alarm, and fire alarm, along with actions to take in case of such situations.

12. Learn about manuals

Find out what all manuals are available in the engine room and where they are located. Every ship has a set of manuals placed in different areas for crew members to refer to when required. Every Engine room is provided with hundreds of documents – Manuals, operating instructions, and safety and pollution prevention instructions just to name a few.  Learn about them and follow them religiously.

13. Know about the automation in the control room

Most engine rooms can now be operated unattended, at least in part, thanks to modern automation technology such as remote control, alarm, and monitoring systems. As a junior engineer, you need to understand how to operate the basic operations and equipment in the control room.

14. Familiarize yourself with the engine room

Things Junior engineer should learn

The engine room is the place where you will be spending most of your time on the ship. It is expected from a junior engineer to know each and every corner of the ship’s engine room and engine room workshop. Besides propulsion and auxiliary engines, a typical engine room contains many smaller engines, including generators, air compressors, feed pumps, and fuel pumps. Today, these machines are usually powered by small diesel engines or electric motors, but may also use low-pressure steam.

15. Learn about Maneuvering

Maneuvering includes quick changes in engine speed, which affects a crucial engine metric – the cooling water temperature. Although automated control is available, the changes are too quick and too severe to be adjusted alone by an automatic pneumatically controlled valve. Unchecked high and low temperatures can generate thermal strains that harm the engine lining. Therefore, even though maneuvering is not a direct responsibility of engineers, it requires the presence of the chief engineer, a duty engineer, and the cadet. So, it is important for a junior engineer to learn its procedures to improve his reliability. 

16. Know about SOPEP

SOPEP stands for Ship Oil Pollution Emergency Plan. As per the MARPOL 73/78 requirement under Annex I, all ships with 400 GT and above must carry an oil prevention plan as per the norms and guidelines laid down by International Maritime Organization under MEPC (Marine Environmental Protection Committee) act. The SOPEP locker on a ship consists of numerous types of equipment that you should be aware of.

17. Foster good working relationships

A major difference between working onshore and offshore is that you live with your colleagues onboard. In a majority of the cases, your crew members will be from different nationalities, particularly South Asian and European. As a new crew member, it is important to respect the cultural differences and make friends to escape the monotony of sea life. If you try to acquire a few words in their language and show an interest in their culture and way of life, you will find it easier to build good relationships. 

The bottom line

The above are the top 17 things that a Junior Engineer should learn on joining a ship for the first time. It is crucial that you learn all these things in the training period to avoid problems after your training gets completed. 

Let us know if you have any other important points to be included in the list!

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