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Old 21-05-2009, 07:35   #1
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Career in Marine Electronics

hello everyone want to get some feedback from the forum. imlooking at switching careers i would like to pursue a career in marine electronics and would like to know what courses or training i would need to take in order to achieve this. first let me give you a little background on my skill set. for the last 15 years ive been employed as an IT professional. i have a degree in computer science and electronics. prior to this i had worked as an apprentice auto mechanic. ive decided that im tired of being locked up in a corporate office and would much rather be out working on boats around boats etc... so any suggestions or information would be greatly appreciated. thanks
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Old 21-05-2009, 08:15   #2
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The National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) offers the Certified Marine Electronics Technicians (CMET) Program
NMEA
Marine Radar Electronics | Marine Radar Installer

An Amateur Radio Licence (General Class) will also be useful:
ARRLWeb: Where Do I Start?

The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) doesn’t have a specific certification* for Marine Electronics Technicians; but do offer several useful educational programs.
American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) - Education and Certification Programs

* ie: Marine Electrical & Marine Systems, etc.
American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) - Education and Certification Programs
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Old 21-05-2009, 08:16   #3
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What type of marine electronics work? Would you like to design systems or install systems? Given your experience it sounds like you are more interested in designing systems?
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Old 21-05-2009, 08:17   #4
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thanks gordmay some good information here.
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Old 21-05-2009, 08:18   #5
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good question david. i think i would enjoy both. im a hobby car audio enthusiast and really enjoy finding new ways to install equipment.
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Old 21-05-2009, 08:21   #6
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I dunno about marine electronics. I think the better manufacturers provide good enough customer service to their customers to keep the demand from owners for assistance relatively low, and there are such rapid advances an independent would be challenged to stay up to speed.

Now marine electrics is an area that I would definitely consider. I think many owners have enough knowledge to take care of their own service needs, but there will always be demand for a skilled marine electrics service person from owners who have neither the time or skill to do their own work. Plus all you need are some basic tools and a good multimeter... minimal investment and you can probably teach yourself enough to get started. And it's basic volts, amps, watts and ohms... no more big advances in his area that you'd need to stay on top of. Except perhaps battery technology.

And why not be a marine mechanic? There are plenty of engines and generators that need maintenance, rebuild, etc.
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Old 21-05-2009, 08:22   #7
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Working for a company perhaps like Garmin would be excellent, although you would probably still be locked up in an office. It sounds like that is exactly what you don't want. Given you probably want to work outside and on boats, you may want to consider starting your own marine electronics installation and service business.

Marine electronics are still nowhere near plug and play and lots of boaters who have more money than time need electronics professionals to come out to their boats to install the equipment and get it working.

I just installed a Furuno NavNet 3D MFDBB (blackbox) system. It was nowhere near plug and play and took numerous calls to Furuno to get it working properly. Most boat owners probably do not have the time, general knowledge of electronics or the patience to do this. Mounting the equipment and running the power wires and data cables was about half the work. The rest of the installation work was spent on the phone and and changing system settings after it was powered up to get everything working correctly.

Marine electronics are not getting any simpler and it really is getting close to the point where it requires a professional to install the more sophisticated integrated systems.

I know of people who have such businesses in the SF Bay Area, therefore it is a viable profession.
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Old 21-05-2009, 08:27   #8
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Michael;

I will be watching the replies, because I want to get cross trained also. I am a retired ATT technician. Much of the technology is shared with multiplexers, bus and so forth in intergrating the systems. Next move on equipment sets will be a move to fiber.

Here is the group we need to work with National Marine Electronic Association - NMEA That is the National Marine Electronics Association. They set the standards, Ray Marine does not train any longer they punted to these guys.
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Old 21-05-2009, 08:35   #9
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well marine electronics i would also like to branch out into the wiring electrical aspect as well. im very familiar with dc circuitry but would require some more training on higher end ac systems.
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Old 21-05-2009, 09:03   #10
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Old 21-05-2009, 09:41   #11
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thanks again gordmay does anyone know of any online or correspondence type training for this.
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Old 21-05-2009, 10:57   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
I just installed a Furuno NavNet 3D MFDBB (blackbox) system. It was nowhere near plug and play and took numerous calls to Furuno to get it working properly. Most boat owners probably do not have the time, general knowledge of electronics or the patience to do this. Mounting the equipment and running the power wires and data cables was about half the work. The rest of the installation work was spent on the phone and and changing system settings after it was powered up to get everything working correctly.

Marine electronics are not getting any simpler and it really is getting close to the point where it requires a professional to install the more sophisticated integrated systems.

I know of people who have such businesses in the SF Bay Area, therefore it is a viable profession.

As long as their is enuf of a market in your area then I would say you sound like this would be a good proposition for you.

Given that few installations will be exactly the same, I would focus on simply being aware of what products are in the market, what they do and how they hook up onboard.........that's a lot of manuals to read

Qualifications? As long as no legal requirement I would trade on reputation for simply being able to do the job (IMO an underated "qualification" ).

Training? Offer to work for free . Get you an idea of what is involved in the real world.....BTW I have an autopilot in my lounge


Being able to translate gobbledy gook into real world capabilities for the non-technical would IMO allso be useful
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Old 21-05-2009, 12:48   #13
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I owned a marine electronics sales and service business in two different towns here in Alaska for over 25 years. I got out of the business 15 years ago so my experiences are dated. A few thoughts:

Certification is only somewhat useful and of very little help in learning the business. It might be of some help in gettin a job though. Knowledge of the standards is more important and doesn't require certification. The best way to learn is OJT. You will be up against the chicken and egg routine with potential employers. As others here have said, there is still a need for good marine electronics technicians. The consumer grade electronics are pretty much p n p. Not so the commercial grade units and systems. Gone are the days of component-level repair. Board replacement repair is the game in commercial equipment and integration of components in a system is beyond most users' abilities. Potential employers include equipment manufacturers and importers as well as servicing marine dealers in major ports.

Best of luck.
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Old 21-05-2009, 13:06   #14
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The reality I suspect is the same as everything else electronic, pull the card and plug another one in. That and corrosion at the termination points along with physical damage. Then there is programing which will continue to be a problem as long as the manufactures want it to be. The technology is here to run a fiber circuit to each piece of equipment, upon light off they all handshake and say hi and start working as designed. I do not think the manufactures want that. Fiber all but elimates corrosion.

We will get the foolproof stuff when "they" want us to.
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Old 21-05-2009, 16:10   #15
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If you can get affiliated with the manufacterers to do warranty work, that would be a good gig. Thinking of the technician sent out by furuno when our navpilot died near key west. He simply diagnosed which component was at error, removed abd sent to furuno and installed refurbished unit. After installing this system I was surprised how much of the job was fabrication and tedium. 200 zip ties hundreds of feet of cables all hidden. Pump and sensor platforms,hydraulic hoses and system flush and bleeding etc...
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