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Old 18-06-2012, 16:07   #1
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Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

I'm an electrician who dreams to cruise fulltime in the future (3-5yrs.) Is there a high demand for skilled electricians in the cruising areas of the world? I remember reading in There Be No Monsters that the author knew of few boats that didn't have some kind of electrical problem. That book is dated but it seems to me that electrical systems are only becoming more prevalent.

What is your experience? Could I reasonably expect to make a living at sea this way? Should I hone my DC skills? (will actually do this anyway to maintain my own systems)
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Old 19-06-2012, 11:28   #2
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

I would say that yes there would be a demand but household and conventional dc systems vary from marine systems......welcome to the forum.
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Old 19-06-2012, 17:24   #3
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Yeah I'm sure thats so...marine systems are likely a specialty, like generators. Thats good though because the will be a selection of professional literature to guide me. I don't expect to pick it up overnight, I just wanted to get opinions on how realistic the prospects are. I'll buy my boat next year and rebuild the elec. sys. then help others on their boats gratis till I feel competent too charge ppl...elec. is like any trade, one can read all he likes but u only learn by doing.
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Old 19-06-2012, 17:50   #4
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

Cruisers are a pretty independent bunch. You have to be a survivalist to some degree to survive out on the water. I think it is mostly the really wealthy who do not have the time to fix things themselves that are more likely to call an electrician. I would start by reading a number of books on marine electronics and then get experience wherever you can on boat electrical systems. They are quite different, a properly wired one will not have Romex or wire nuts.
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Old 19-06-2012, 17:59   #5
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

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Cruisers are a pretty independent bunch.
Agreed. I'd be shocked to run into a cruiser who wasn't carrying a multimeter, a crimper, a wire stripper and a full kit of butt connectors. Even the non-do-it-yourselfers among us are going to do the bulk of their own electrical work.

On the other hand, if you can varnish....
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Old 19-06-2012, 21:05   #6
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

Like stated above, most cruisers do it yourself... Their boats are usually already set up with their electrical needs before they leave, so an electrician would only be need in extreme circumstances...

Where you might want to concentrate your expertise is on marine electronics...

Get your Raymarine, Furuno and ICOM tech certificates...

Will you make a living at it? I guess that depends on how much money you need to live... My guess is that trying to fulltime cruise and be an Marine Electrician is not going to get you rich.
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Old 19-06-2012, 21:09   #7
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

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Cruisers are a pretty independent bunch. You have to be a survivalist to some degree to survive out on the water. I think it is mostly the really wealthy who do not have the time to fix things themselves that are more likely to call an electrician. I would start by reading a number of books on marine electronics and then get experience wherever you can on boat electrical systems. They are quite different, a properly wired one will not have Romex or wire nuts
I have a long history of helping people deal with the electrical problems on their boats and the above statement is true to some extent, but is often the exact reason they have problems. Many people who cruise or live on their boats think that because they are intelligent, well read, and knowledgeable, then how hard can it be? I mean no insult to these people, they are independent and resourceful, and yes they usually do have all the tools and test equipment. ( I do too) If it is simple DC or even DC with a AC shore tie for some things, then perhaps that is true, but when the DC system gets complex and you start adding inverters, converters, isolation transformers, galvanic isolators, and onboard generators (fuel, solar, wind etc.), then it is not that easy and can go south really fast.

That is when they need a qualified, ABYC certified marine electrician. You have a head start because you are already a qualified electrician. But you need to take a course in marine electrical, because there are significant differences, and get ABYC certified, which means taking exams. I would think that a certified marine electrician, who charged reasonable prices would be very welcome. What the author said is true, there are few large boats that don't have some electrical problem that needs sorting out.
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Old 19-06-2012, 21:27   #8
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

^^^^ +1 I know a lot about computers. More than most people. I can get myself into way more trouble than most people too Can't tell you how many devices I have bricked cuz I knew what I was doing, right up until I didn't.
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Old 19-06-2012, 21:39   #9
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

Here in St Marteen a well reputed Electrician spend the season fixing problems in all kind of boats, charter boats, mega rich yachts, cruisers without knowledge , i mean not everybody know how to deal with a short in a AirX windmill regulator , or how to fix a alternator , or a electric winch, im sure if you made the jump you sucess , Electricians and good ones are in demand . Good luck.
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Old 19-06-2012, 21:57   #10
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I'm definitely not rich, I'm a lot more handy than the average schmoe on land, but I just don't have the natural aptitude for electrical work, home ac or boat dc. If you're ever in south Dakota let me know, I have a long list of annoying problems and tasks I can't figure out, starting with why I can't get power to the upper helm searchlight joystick.
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Old 20-06-2012, 08:30   #11
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

Keep in mind that a lot of countries have absolutely no sense of humor about foreigners earning money without a work permit.
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Old 20-06-2012, 10:48   #12
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

You're probably better of taking a HVAC course at your local college. Marine refrigeration seems to be a black art.
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Old 20-06-2012, 11:14   #13
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

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Keep in mind that a lot of countries have absolutely no sense of humor about foreigners earning money without a work permit.
Having been thrown out of one country for doing electrical work. I can say amen to that.

It seems that welding was in high demand when I was in the Caribbean. I met a guy in St Thomas, who lived on a boat and did engine repair.

Work permits were available if you had a friend in government.

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Old 20-06-2012, 12:21   #14
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

Any and ALL saleable skills are in demend all over the world. With so much electronics there is no end to people needing repairmen. For all wannabe cruisers, if you are halfway useable, you will find work, be it in carpentry, electrical, mechanical, or just plain "young and dumb" muscle for sanding/grinding/gorilla work. Forget work permits, where there is a will there is a way.
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Old 20-06-2012, 13:31   #15
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Re: Are electricians in demand among cruisers?

Yep. If you can quickly solve issues with: charging systems, gensets, alternators, without replacing parts ;-)

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