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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Engine Room Crew, Water Transport (7532)

Workers in this unit group assist ship engineer officers to operate, maintain and repair engines, machinery and auxiliary equipment aboard ships or self-propelled vessels. They are employed by marine transportation companies and federal government departments including the armed forces.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read specifications for equipment. (1)
  • Read memos and Standing Orders from the chief engineer concerning operational procedures. (2)
  • Read technical journals for information on engines. (2)
  • Read safety procedures for emergencies at sea and for confined space entry. (3)
  • Read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to find out about the hazards associated with particular oils and solvents. (3)
  • Read diesel service and repair manuals to find information which will assist in engine repairs. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Read Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) labels and identification labels on pipes, gauges, tanks, pumps and gears. (1)
  • Read lists of equipment which has arrived for repair and inventory lists for engine room stores. (1)
  • Complete log entries to record temperature and pressure readings. (1)
  • Complete Engine Room Maintenance forms to keep track of maintenance functions which have been performed. (1)
  • Obtain information from pictures in the repair manuals. (2)
  • Read multi-column tables which indicate the type of oil to use for various applications. (2)
  • Read measurement conversion charts to convert gas reservoir volume from imperial to metric measurements. (2)
  • Read plans of the ship's layout to locate rooms and equipment. (2)
  • Complete forms such as the Engine Room Maintenance Record and the Fuel Bunkering Procedures form. (2)
  • Read assembly drawings and schematic diagrams for electronic equipment. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write notes to themselves as reminders of tasks to be done. (1)
  • Write log entries to record activities such as " Bilge pump running. Sucking from starboard tank ". (1)
  • Write memos to the chief engineer describing work in progress or outlining repairs. (2)
  • Write requests for materials and the justification for the request. (2)
  • May write memos to officers to convince them of ways to improve the operation of equipment such as pumps. (3)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • May make purchases from petty cash, recording the GST and providing change to the petty cash fund. (1)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • May calculate the quantity of materials to be ordered for repairs to generators. (1)
  • Measure the width of plates and the length of pipes when repairing machinery. (1)
  • Read pump and fuel level gauges to check their readings in relation to required standards. (1)
  • Calculate the volume of tanks and of irregularly-shaped containers. (3)
  • Use specialized measuring equipment such as micrometers and vernier calipers to measure engine and pump parts precisely. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Calculate the rate of fuel consumption using gauge readings from the water compensated fuel tank and several formulae. (2)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the amount of oil which is escaping from a leak in a pipe. (1)
  • Estimate the heat generated by a motor which does not have a temperature gauge. (1)
  • Estimate the time required to carry out maintenance and repair operations. For example, estimate the time required to pump water from the bilge. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Listen to and respond to orders from supervisors such as the senior engineer. (1)
  • Radio to an assistant to communicate when to start pumping fuel. (1)
  • Communicate with co-workers in the engine room to co-ordinate activities and to discuss faults detected in fuel systems. (1)
  • When necessary, deliver detailed report of operational problems to ship's officers. (2)
  • Interact with mechanics to discuss mechanical problems in the engine room. (2)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May find that there is no suction on the bilge pump. They check to find if a valve is open somewhere or if the bilge strainer has been improperly secured. (1)
  • May find that an alarm trips when power is switched from one engine to another. They turn the power back to the first engine, then search for the source of the problem. They may find that a mechanical valve was incorrectly set, stopping water from transferring as required. (2)
  • May hear a knocking noise. They diagnose the cause by checking valves, water pipes and injectors. (2)
  • May encounter an unknown source of water in the ship. They determine if there is a leak in piping or in the cooling water tank. (3)
Decision Making
  • May decide whether to repair an oil leak or report it to a senior officer. (1)
  • May decide when to call the bridge to request the shutdown of a malfunctioning propulsion motor. (2)
  • May decide whether a malfunction of an engine, fan, boiler or bilge pump is serious enough to call the senior engineer or whether to coax the equipment along for a period of time until it is convenient to carry out repairs. (2)
  • May decide whether equipment should be repaired or replaced. (3)
  • May decide whether to extinguish a small engine room fire or to raise the fire alarm. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Engine room crew, water transport, receive general work instructions from senior engineering officers. They prioritize their own work tasks, co-ordinating closely with other engine room crew and with crew in several other departments. Because of the range of persons with whom they must co-ordinate tasks, scheduling of activities may be complex. They plan maintenance functions several days ahead and organize their activities so that gauges and machinery throughout the ship are monitored through a series of rounds. Sudden malfunctioning of machinery frequently interrupts the regular rhythm of the work day, but responsibility for effecting repairs lies mainly with the chief engineer who organizes how the repair will be carried out.

Significant Use of Memory
  • May remember which tanks have not been pumped out so that they can deal with them during their next round.
  • May remember which valve in the maze of tagged and colour-coded valves is the one that caused problems last year.
  • May remember complex step-by-step sequencing of procedures for starting up machinery.
Finding Information
  • Look in a file drawer to find schematic drawings for water, bilge, oil or refrigeration systems. (1)
  • Consult the ship's supply officer or a computerized database to find out if replacement parts for machinery are on board the ship. (1)
  • Refer to numerous sections in a variety of manuals to find details on how to repair ship machinery. Often it is necessary to cross reference information from several sources. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • May type memos. (2)
  • May look up the location of parts required for repairs in a supply inventory database. They may access the electrical code through a CD ROM database. (2)
  • May produce tables. (2)
  • Use computer controlled equipment such as a computerized Program Logic Control (PLC) system to maintain a watch on alarm and propulsion systems and to do remote reading of gauges, pressure levels and flow rates. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Engine room crew, water transport, generally work as part of a four or five member team in the engine room. They are also part of a larger team which encompasses the whole ship's company. Since engine maintenance and repair must continue on a 24-hour basis, engine room crew are also team members with crew who carry out similar duties as themselves on different shifts. While being part of a team, engine room crew sometimes work independently to do routine inspections and maintenance. They are sometimes paired with a co-worker to load fuel or to do repairs.

Continuous Learning

Engine room crew, water transport, continue to learn on the job and through courses. They may take training in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), confined space entry, first aid and marine emergency duty (MED). They may take technical courses such as steam plant operation, small gas turbines, welding, plumbing and refrigeration. They may also receive training in firefighting and life boat emergency evacuation.

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