Marine electricians install, maintain and repair electrical and electronic systems in vessels such as air conditioning systems, lamps, radios, heating systems, batteries, electrical wiring and alternators. They use diagnostic testing equipment to inspect vessels and find faults. To do repair work, they use hand tools and specialised electrical instruments and machines.
A marine electrician typically does the following:
- Installs conduit to bulkheads with brackets and screws, using hand tools, and threads wires through conduit to terminals, for example connection boxes, circuit breakers, voltage regulators, and switch panels.
- Strips insulation from wire ends and solders ends to terminals, using stripping pliers and soldering iron. Connects power-supply circuits to radio, radar, sonar, fire control, and other electronic equipment.
- Tests electrical characteristics, for example, voltage, resistance, and phase angle, in circuits, using voltmeters, ohmmeters, and phase rotation indicators.
- May also construct instrument panels, using hand tools, rulers, dividers, and power drills, following specifications.
- Troubleshoots electrical equipment and circuits using appropriate test equipment to detect and effect required maintenance, repairs, or replacement requirements.
- Performs maintenance and repair of generators, switchboards, controllers, circuit breakers, electrical motors, distribution panels, alarm and lighting circuits.
- Conducts insulation resistance measurements of electrical cables to determine condition and effects repairs or replacements as required.
- Supervises and participates in the installation and/or alteration to electrical systems aboard ships.
- Maintains adequate inventories of electrical spare parts and requisitions replacements as required.
- Maintains electrical system maintenance histories notating date, and extent of repairs and/or alterations.
The following job titles also refer to marine electrician:
marine systems electrician
marine diagnostic electrician
marine installation electrician
vessel electronics installation technician
marine electronic networks electrician
marine design electrician
marine repair electrician
vessel electronics design technician
vessel electronic networks technician
vessel electronics repair technician
vessel electronic systems technician
A high school diploma is generally required to work as a marine electrician.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Marine electrician is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Marine electrician career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to marine electrician.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of marine electrician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of marine electrician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of marine electrician.
- Mechanics of vessels: The mechanics involved in boats and ships. Understand the technicalities and participate in discussions over related topics in order to solve problems related to the mechanics.
- Types of maritime vessels: Know a large variety of maritime vessels and their characteristics and specifications. Use that knowledge to ensure that all security, technical, and maintenance measures are taken into account in their supply.
- Vessel electrical system: The various components making up a vessel electrical system and the interplay between these components.
- Electronics: The functioning of electronic circuit boards, processors, chips, and computer hardware and software, including programming and applications. Apply this knowledge to ensure electronic equipment runs smoothly.
- Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.
- Electrical testing methods: Test procedures performed on electrical equipment and machinery in order to check the performance and quality of the electrical equipment and their adherence to specifications. During these tests electrical properties, such as voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, and inductance, are measured using electrical measuring equipment, such as multimeters, oscilloscopes, and voltmeters.
- Electrical wiring plans: Pictorial representation of an electrical circuit. It shows the components of the circuit as simplified shapes, and the power and signal connections between the devices. It gives information about the relative position and arrangement of devices and terminals on the devices, to help in building or servicing the device. A wiring diagram is often used to troubleshoot problems and to make sure that all the connections have been made and that everything is present.
- Electrical wiring diagrams: The visual schematic representation of an electrical circuit, its components, and the connections between these components.
- Mechanics: Theoretical and practical applications of the science studying the action of displacements and forces on physical bodies to the development of machinery and mechanical devices.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of marine electrician.
- Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
- Test electrical equipment: Test electrical systems, machines, and components and check electrical properties, such as voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, and inductance, using electrical testing and measuring equipment, such as a multimeter. Gather and analyse data. Monitor and evaluate system performance and take action if needed.
- Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
- Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
- Read standard blueprints: Read and comprehend standard blueprints, machine, and process drawings.
- Fasten components: Fasten components together according to blueprints and technical plans in order to create subassemblies or finished products.
- Use technical documentation: Understand and use technical documentation in the overall technical process.
- Install electrical equipment in vessels: Install electrical equipment and accessories such as lighting, gauges and radios in vessels. Make sure installation is according to requirements and regulations.
- Apply health and safety standards: Adhere to standards of hygiene and safety established by respective authorities.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of marine electrician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Electronic test procedures: Testing protocols that enable a variety of analyses of electronic systems, products, and components. These tests include the testing of electrical properties, such as voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, and inductance as well as the testing of specific electronic components, such as the electron tubes, semiconductors, integrated circuits, and batteries. These tests include visual inspection, performance tests, environment tests, and safety tests.
- Battery fluids: The characteristics and properties of battery fluids.
- Battery chemistry: The different battery types according to the representative chemical components used in the anode or the cathode such as zinc-carbon, nickel-metal hydride, lead-acid, or lithium-ion.
- Battery components: The physical components, such as wiring, electronics and voltaic cells that can be found in batteries. The components vary according to size and type of battery.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of marine electrician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Follow control of substances hazardous to health procedures: Adhere to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) procedures for activities that involve hazardous substances, such as bacteria, allergens, waste oil, paint or brake fluids that result in illness or injury.
- Apply soldering techniques: Apply and work with a variety of techniques in the process of soldering, such as soft soldering, silver soldering, induction soldering, resistance soldering, pipe soldering, mechanical and aluminium soldering.
- Install transport equipment batteries: Install batteries in transport equipmentby using hand and power tools. Make sure the battery fits the model of the transport equipment.
- Maintain electrical equipment: Test electrical equipment for malfunctions. Take safety measures, company guidelines, and legislation concerning electrical equipment into account. Clean, repair and replace parts and connections as required.
- Create technical plans: Create detailed technical plans of machinery, equipment, tools and other products.
- Diagnose defective engines: Diagnose engine damage or malfunctions by inspecting mechanical equipment; utilise instruments such as chassis charts, pressure gauges, and motor analysers.
- Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to product and services.
- Repair battery components: Repair battery components through replacing cells, repairing wiring, or spot-welding cells.
- Operate battery test equipment: Operate equipment used for battery testing, such as a soldering iron, a battery tester, or a multimeter. Detect flaws affecting the battery’s performance, test the battery’s capacity for accumulating charge, or test its voltage output.
- Maintain vessel technical equipment according to instructions: Operate and maintain technical equipment and devices according to technical instructions.
- Repair vessel electrical systems: Execute on board repairs of vessel electrical systems. Resolve malfunctions without affecting the course of the journey.
- Operate soldering equipment: Use soldering equipment, such as a soldering gun, a soldering torch or a gas-powered iron, to melt and join together pieces of metal or steel.
- Write records for repairs: Write records of the repairs and maintenance interventions undertaken, of parts and materials used, and other repair facts.
- Install transport equipment lighting: Install lighting elements in transport equipment according to blueprints and other technical plans.
ISCO group and title
7412 – Electrical mechanics and fitters
- Marine electrician – ESCO
- Marine Electrician – Job Description – AIT Marine
- Featured image: By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Eric Powell. – This image was released by the United States Navy with the ID 040324-N-1261P-009 (next). Public Domain