The First Months of Marine Systems

Over the last month of Marine Systems, we’ve been super busy both in the classroom and out on the shop floor. We’ve been learning how to read plans, layout the different systems, create wiring diagrams to plan our wiring, price out simulated plumbing jobs, and install both electrical and plumbing on our simulators. We’ve officially completed the ABYC Marine Electrical certification portion of the course, and I’m proud to say that 70% of the class passed the exam. We’re now Certified Marine Electrical Advisors, which after two years of working in the field, will convert to the Technician level.

Marine Electrical was fun to learn but also mentally exhausting. I’ve had a fear of electrical things since my days working as a residential carpenter and roofer having been shocked by my fair share of sketchy hundred-year-old wiring in the typical New England home. I’m also proud to say that I only blew up one LED light during the entire electrical portion of the program. My bench mate Aiden and I decided to name our simulator “Smoke Show” in honor of that LED and its beautiful puff of magic smoke. Morning lectures covered everything from Ohms law and basic electrical theory through more advanced power systems like 208 three-phase and 240 split-phase.

The didactic portions are always backed up with practical skills such as crimping pull competitions, wiring transformers, electric motors, and relays.


In addition to these evolutions, there’s still work continuing on the individual simulators from building custom battery boxes, making ignition and gauge panels, wiring AC and DC panels, inverters, and other accessories.



For me, the most fun I had during electrical was the troubleshooting practice. The instructors take the sim panels into the back and mess with them. They then write up a trouble ticket, and we would have to work through the problem and finally figure out a solution. Some of the issues were straight forward with issues like loose connections to batteries; some situations were more difficult with shorted gauges or bad crimps and took much more time to solve. Once every team had made it through the scenarios and had come up with a plan to fix it, Nels took the class through each sim and showed us how to find the issue and, ultimately, how to fix it.

The Marine Systems section started with a little shakeup in the shop. The class was assigned a new bench mate, some students had to switch benches, and most of us got a new sim in the “lottery.” My new bench mate Jamie and I spent the first day fixing any leftover troubleshooting issues from Electrical and started on the installation of our head, and it’s associated plumbing fixtures.



Not having done much plumbing in my life, this was my first real exposure to piping runs and figuring out how to make it all fit in the confined space of our simulator. I will say that while plumbing was a beneficial skill to learn, I much prefer electrical.


See more of Jason's past blog posts here!