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Old 04-09-2014, 10:32   #31
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Re: Demand for diesel mechanics?

Plenty of work for diesel mechanics, but your friend needs a shop, grind valves, dip blocks etc.... as well as a legal way to do it.
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:34   #32
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Re: Demand for diesel mechanics?

There is a demand for good DEPENDABLE diesel Mechanics on islands I visited. It would be wise to seek employment with a local employer to get a work permit. If you can get one there is plenty of work.

Another possibility is starting your own business, hire locals.

This worked for a friend in Antigua.
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:50   #33
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Re: Demand for diesel mechanics?

You know there is a lot of work that Diesels need that aren't complete overhauls, Valve adjustments, water pumps, injectors and injection pumps R&R, filters, oil changes, Heat exchanger cleaning, exhaust elbows, etc.
All of the above can be done with simple hand tools and a little knowledge / experience.

There seems to be a sense of negativity on this forum, or am I imagining that? Sure some of that I'm sure stems from all the posts of I'm gonna buy a boat, never been in one before, but it's OK to take it to Hawaii on my first trip isn't it kind of posts, but why all the negativity?
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:01   #34
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Re: Demand for diesel mechanics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
You know there is a lot of work that Diesels need that aren't complete overhauls, Valve adjustments, water pumps, injectors and injection pumps R&R, filters, oil changes, Heat exchanger cleaning, exhaust elbows, etc.
All of the above can be done with simple hand tools and a little knowledge / experience.

There seems to be a sense of negativity on this forum, or am I imagining that? Sure some of that I'm sure stems from all the posts of I'm gonna buy a boat, never been in one before, but it's OK to take it to Hawaii on my first trip isn't it kind of posts, but why all the negativity?
Unfortunately, I think the "easy work" is the work the average cruiser is willing to do himself.

I think people just try to be realistic when replying to this type of question. And should be. The odds that I'm going to hire a mechanic that lives on a run down rattle trap boat, and is living hand to mouth scraping by is not high.
Sure, he can head down island and try to do it, but my guess is he will be scraping by, so I'm not going to encourage it. OTOH, if he goes down, is good at what he does, sets up shop somewhere and gets a lot of word of mouth recommendations.. it'll be fine.
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:47   #35
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Re: Demand for diesel mechanics?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
............. There seems to be a sense of negativity on this forum, or am I imagining that? Sure some of that I'm sure stems from all the posts of I'm gonna buy a boat, never been in one before, but it's OK to take it to Hawaii on my first trip isn't it kind of posts, but why all the negativity?
You are mistaking reality for negativity. What good would it do for people to encourage someone to do something and then have it all fall to pieces?
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:55   #36
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Re: Demand for diesel mechanics?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
There seems to be a sense of negativity on this forum, or am I imagining that? Sure some of that I'm sure stems from all the posts of I'm gonna buy a boat, never been in one before, but it's OK to take it to Hawaii on my first trip isn't it kind of posts, but why all the negativity?
I don't see it so much as "negativity" but realism. If you are one who can't change an impeller (I've seen them,) you get the local guy to come out and take care of it for you. These types are few and the local guy can fix them up no problem. They don't need you coming in and stealing bread from their table. If you are in a remote anchorage and fix someones engine for them, great but to station yourself in a remote anchorage waiting for a broken down boat would be weird.
If the master can't afford the local guy he probably can't afford to give you a case of beer either, a beer cozy maybe. It's easy to make friends without getting greasy on their boat.
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:05   #37
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Re: Demand for diesel mechanics?

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
You are mistaking reality for negativity. What good would it do for people to encourage someone to do something and then have it all fall to pieces?
Or blow up in their face.

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Old 04-09-2014, 16:25   #38
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Re: Demand for diesel mechanics?

For me it is partly a reality check about illegal labor and a calibration to host countries.

Many of us bemoan illegal labor in the US but maybe because we are white and western it's OK to visit a less developed country where the living wage might be $10 a day and take work away from locals. It really doesn't add up.

Diesel mechanic, charter boat operator, bottom diver. Why not open a marina? Why not start practicing law? Why not start practicing medicine?

I've met people all over working in the margins. There are legal ways to do it and there are illegal ways to do it. If one knows what side of the margin they are on and can accept the consequences I have no reason to stop them and couldn't anyway.

Helping fellow cruisers and getting a case of beer or something in trade is probably always going to be OK. hanging a shingle out without papers is probably always not going to be OK.
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Old 04-09-2014, 19:24   #39
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Re: Demand for diesel mechanics?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
You know there is a lot of work that Diesels need that aren't complete overhauls, Valve adjustments, water pumps, injectors and injection pumps R&R, filters, oil changes, Heat exchanger cleaning, exhaust elbows, etc.
All of the above can be done with simple hand tools and a little knowledge / experience.

There seems to be a sense of negativity on this forum, or am I imagining that? Sure some of that I'm sure stems from all the posts of I'm gonna buy a boat, never been in one before, but it's OK to take it to Hawaii on my first trip isn't it kind of posts, but why all the negativity?

I noticed it too, over in the "making a living" thread. Some people had helpful suggestions of how they setup a website that brings in monthly income, others simply insisted that cruisers weren't willing to pay for help.

Here's how I see it. As a technician, based on past experience, I'm pretty confident I'll be able to diagnose/repair pretty much anything on my boat. If a cruiser has reached the point where he throws up his hands in despair and cannot go on, he wouldn't be willing to pay $25/hr for expert SSB repairs, or diesel repairs, or a pump rebuild or getting his fridge fixed or antenna or ground plane troubleshooting?

If these people can't afford to spend $50 or $75 to get something critical repaired, how were they planning to continue cruising? I'm not talking about help getting the hull scraped, I'm talking about a problem the factory tech rep. couldn't solve over the phone. Their other choice would be to call in someone who might charge them $500 or $800 before the smoke clears. Who can't afford $75, but they can afford to spend $800? Doesn't make sense.

I might give a little advice here or there, but I'm not going to expend my full resources for a couple of beers. As I explained to my next door neighbor's wife...

she claimed he loved his job. I asked him, in front of her, if he would go to work and do that job for free. "Hell, no!" was his reply. So the answer is, he loves getting PAID to do that job, not the job itself. There's a big difference.
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Old 04-09-2014, 19:34   #40
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Re: Demand for diesel mechanics?

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
For me it is partly a reality check about illegal labor and a calibration to host countries.

Many of us bemoan illegal labor in the US but maybe because we are white and western it's OK to visit a less developed country where the living wage might be $10 a day and take work away from locals. It really doesn't add up.

Diesel mechanic, charter boat operator, bottom diver. Why not open a marina? Why not start practicing law? Why not start practicing medicine?

I've met people all over working in the margins. There are legal ways to do it and there are illegal ways to do it. If one knows what side of the margin they are on and can accept the consequences I have no reason to stop them and couldn't anyway.

Helping fellow cruisers and getting a case of beer or something in trade is probably always going to be OK. hanging a shingle out without papers is probably always not going to be OK.
I don't have any problem with illegal laborers, in fact I welcome them.

I cruise down to the local Home Depot, pick up a couple, pay them $10/hr ea (more than min. wage!) and have them do whatever yard work I don't feel like doing. Believe me, they're not taking any doctor's or lawyer's jobs away.

The only ones complaining are unskilled laborers who are getting paid too much and getting undercut by illegals. I hung drywall for a couple of years at $3.35/hr, min. wage at that time. Back breaking work, this was before lifts and nail guns, when you lifted it all by hand. You couldn't get me to do that now for less than $120/hr, with a lift.

Some young guy wants to do it for $10/hr plus lunch, I'll pay that.

What I don't like is the $113 Billion spent by local, state and federal gov'ts to support and feed illegals on welfare, or getting deported.

That's in addition to the $46.4 Billion in fraudulent tax refunds the IRS hands out annually, but won't do anything to stop it. Those are real drains on the economy, with real consequences.
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Old 20-09-2014, 22:51   #41
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Re: Demand for diesel mechanics?

My older and hopefully wiser 2 cents on working abroad-

Back in the early 80's I had a pretty good business that I sold and went to Europe for a while. I had planned on trying to work my way around the continent as a mechanic. I had gone over there with a fair amount of money but figured since I didn't need an income, it could just supplement my travel.

What I found when I went over was if you did not have a work permit, the only black/grey market jobs you could get were just for grunt work where you busted your butt for enough money to survive. I had bought a car, so I just spent a half year driving around and doing tourist things until the money got low enough then I sold my car and came home. I was never able to find a garage willing to hire me for any limited amount of time either.

One problem with mechanical work is if you fix something and then something else breaks, even if it is unrelated often you will be blamed and not only expected to fix the problem but a lot of the owners will want you to pay for the parts as well. I'm not even talking about breaking a corroded bolt on an engine head here, but things like fixing an alternator and for whatever crazy reason the masthead light fails the next day or something. If you are illegal and the person who paid you is a jerk, it could cause some serious issues where maybe you aren't jailed but at least your tools will get confiscated (as legally they were used to commit a crime) and your mode of transportation risks getting impounded as well.

I help people out all the time, but that is for free. If I were a liveaboard just about the only thing I would consider would be as suggested by others here and find a local business to work for/with. Even then, the best approach might be to just work a few more years in the States doing something that actually pays some good money instead of trying to inject yourself into a 3rd world economy somewhere and thinking that somehow it will provide anything other than a living that can be meagre and in the middle of a meagre community.

I was talking to some people from Alaska once and the subject got onto the people that move there to make money in oil or prospecting and wind up broke and with no money to get back anywhere else. The locals called them sourdoughs- "Sour on Alaska, and no dough to leave!" (The same group also talked about women who moved up there to find a husband since there are relatively few women and the saying for that is "The odds are good, and the goods are odd!"
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