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Old 04-02-2011, 12:25   #31
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Originally Posted by Allan S View Post
Welcome aboard, my apologies for the, ahem, abrasive responses. This forum is usually much better that that. Don't give up on us.
Indeed!

A belated welcome from me, too.

To get back on topic:

My own experiences have convinced me that a good diesel mechanic is worth his weight in gold. I'm sure you'll find plenty to do out where people are cruising and where it's hard to find any service. A lot of people here do work on the side while cruising -- seems like a win-win situation to me. Only problem I can see is that it might be difficult to carry around all the tools and equipment you will need to do your work, but I bet you'll find some way to deal with that.
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Old 04-02-2011, 12:30   #32
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Not knowing where in the world the OP is from means a generic answer to the original question.
- - If you intend to remain in your home country while cruising then you have to deal with things like employment or self-employment taxes which comes in a variety of forms; then liability insurance especially if you are charging for your work; then local licensing requirements; and finally pressure from other local diesel techs who will not appreciate your "horning-in" on their turf.
- - If you intend to cruise the world - outside your home county or E.U. type thing; then you have some of the same considerations as above and added to that - work permits and local "payoffs" to politicians and other officials. Add to that the possible "direct remedies" from the locals whom you are taking money/business away from that they need to feed their families.
- - Those are the primary reasons, actual cruisers with "skills" - diesel or otherwise, do not charge for their work which is carefully labeled "assistance to the boat owner." Officially the boat owner is "doing the work" and you are advising and assisting without pay/compensation.
- - As is extensively discussed in other threads about working while cruising, you just cannot go anywhere and start collecting money/pay for work without dealing and satisfying the local regulations. Doing so can result in at best - being told to leave the country forthwith; and at worst being fined and/or jailed. Or worse yet - deported which will terminate your international travels for a very long time as few if any countries will allow you to enter when you have a "Deported" stamp in your passport.
True in theory, but cash for services with no forms filed and no taxes paid is widely practiced in every country in the world. It makes the world go round. No bureaucracy and no taxes is one of the advantages of this kind of gig, although not without certain calculated risks of course.
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Old 04-02-2011, 15:29   #33
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Originally Posted by Allan S View Post
Welcome aboard, my apologies for the, ahem, abrasive responses. This forum is usually much better that that. Don't give up on us.
The abrasive responses can be traced back to the abrasive experiences gained over their working life trying to make a living as a mechanic. Trying to help people and being abused and blamed for anything and everything that has gone wrong on their boats.
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Old 04-02-2011, 15:36   #34
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Welcome, Artif, I am also based on the Hamble -- although not for much longer if my number comes up at the much cheaper public marina in Southampton.

I think you might be being a little to hard on yachtsmen. Some of us, it is true, don't appreciate what it takes to keep our boats running and take out our frustration on the mechanics who attempt to do so. But most of us really do appreciate good mechanical work, I think, especially those of us who have done reasonably complex mechanical work ourselves, and who do at least some of our own work on our own engines.

You should also keep in mind that many of us have had legitimately bad experiences with diesel techs. I've had a few bad ones myself. The official Yanmar dealers were unable to find the cause of a smoking problem on my engine when I bought the boat a couple of years ago. At the vast expense of the seller, they took off and overhauled the injection pump, took off and overhauled the turbocharger, took off and ultrasonically cleaned the injectors, and all kinds of other things before I finally told them to stop and accepted the boat with the smoking uncured (to this day uncured by the way).

Then last fall I had power loss while crossing the Channel in a storm, and called in a tech in Weymouth where I ended up limping in. At considerable expense he pulled off this and that and pronounced a verdict that I had a cracked exhaust manifold, and proposed to pull that off and have it tested under pressure in a special pressurized oven, at vast expense, needless to say. I poked around myself and decided that perhaps the problem was actually caused by the engine being overfilled with oil (discussed and dismissed by the tech). I pumped some oil out and the engine has been as good as new ever since.

Of course no one is perfect.
Maybe I missed something but you started off with a smoking problem, then you lost power crossing the channel and all it turned out to be is an overfill of oil. So your saying that no one noticed this including you the owner and that at no time the engine used a little oil while in use and hey presto the smoking would have disappeared.
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Old 26-02-2011, 11:59   #35
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Re: Diesel Tech

There are only four types of engineers in the world:
1. Those who realize they know nothing & actually know nothing
2. Those who think they know everything but know nothing
3. Those who realize they know very little but actually know alot
4. Those who know they know alot & actually know alot

It's the No. 2 person who is dangerous & gives a bad name to techs everywhere. It does not matter what you call yourself or anyone else. You either have the knowledge coupled with good work ethics, or you don't. You can not know this about someone until you work with them.

In regards to the original post, I am looking into the same situation. I could have made this post myself as I have been researching it also. That why I'm here in the first place.

Thusfar it seems to me that trying to make an income while cruising is best accomplished by having multiple sources of modest income.
For example:
-Selling my skills as a marine engineer
-Selling jewelry & crafts my girlfriend & I produce using local items
-Internet marketing & Affliate programs
-Day sails/charters

I don't think any one of these alone will cover my financial needs (mortgage) but staying creative, open, and using all of them may work out.

Why do all this when cruising?
Remember that saying?

The worst day on my boat is still better then my best day working for someone else.

Cheers,
Phil
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Old 26-02-2011, 13:40   #36
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Re: Diesel Skills - Any Shared Skills Enrich Cruisers

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Originally Posted by JamuJoe View Post
Wow - the OP took quite a bit of bashing for his simple note. I agree with the comments regarding work permits and the challenges of trying to operate a business in foreign countries (I've worked in several). I hate to see the discouragement on helping other cruisers with whatever skills you have, though, and either bartering for compensation or just 'paying it forward'.

I was stuck in Honduras with a cracked cylinder on one of my Yanmar 4JH3E's. This is not a place where you simply call for a qualified technician or mechanic. At the dock was a Kiwi cruiser who had been a diesel mechanic, and he graciously offered to help me. Sweating together, we rebuilt that engine in situ, ordering parts from Mac Boring and arranging innovative deliveries. The rebuilt engine was a success, I learned a good bit about my engines, and we became best friends. I reciprocated with beverages and meals, and helped him sail his boat down to Panama and through the canal.

Cruisers in remote places (not weekend sailors out of marinas in the USA) can be of great help to each other, and will find reward in doing so.

You may not be able to earn a cruising living as a mechanic, but your adventure will be enriched by meeting and helping other cruisers as you are able to do so.


OP
G'Day all,

It is experiences such as this that have kept Ann and I cruising for 24 years. When approached with this sort of attitude, the long distance cruising community is wonderfully supportive of each other... a great place to live, wherever it may be.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Morning Cove, NSW, Oz
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Old 26-02-2011, 17:21   #37
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Re: Diesel Tech

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From your post I gather you are a jack of all trades master of none. So I take offence at you calling yourself a Diesel mechanic. Recently and I hope Sven is reading this post much has been written on the subject of poor quality Diesel mechanics.
I was indeed reading it.

My first reaction was that you could indeed make some money if you can put up with poor engine access and are skilled. My second thought was that if you are a wandering mechanic you'd have trouble establishing the reputation that would send those willing to pay in your direction. You mention that you have formal (?) training which could make up for lack of local references if you can somehow demonstrate the value of the training.

Maybe get a guest book or something like that and ask each customer to note the quality and timeliness of what you did so you can carry the references with you ?

Best of luck.


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Old 26-02-2011, 19:13   #38
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Re: Diesel Tech

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
True in theory, but cash for services with no forms filed and no taxes paid is widely practiced in every country in the world. It makes the world go round. No bureaucracy and no taxes is one of the advantages of this kind of gig, although not without certain calculated risks of course.

Theory is always or at least sometimes quite different than reality. In non-1st World countries, cash is the primary and sometimes the only method of payment for services rendered with and amongst locals. One of the reasons these countries have ridiculously high customs/import duties on things is that they have no way of taxing the locals who are all cash based.
- - So the concern in such countries is not filing forms and paying taxes, it is primarily that your "customers" cannot keep their mouths shut while ashore. If your work is good or bad, cruisers are always passing information to each other while eating or doing other things in local establishments. It is typical that on small island countries almost everybody knows everybody else and most are related to each other. The "grape vine" hears and passes on that you are collecting money for work that should be going to a local. If you are lucky the government will get involved and tell you to stop, leave, or pay a fine. However, in a lot of circumstances the affected locals will take independent action to stop your activities which is generally known to be less than polite or not harmless to you and your boat.
- - So as others have mentioned, helping fellow cruisers with your expertise is a hallmark of the cruiser life-style - but it is done either with some beer/wine or some food as recompense or the cruiser tradition that the recipient "pays it forward" by using whatever expertise they have to help another cruiser - down the line.
- - The point being is that if you travel outside your home country or economic zone don't expect to be able to earn money unless you follow the "officially prescribed" rules for working in that particular country. In actual experience you will find an awful lot of former cruisers running and supplying the support services for cruising boats, legally within these countries - and they employ and train locals which the authorities really like because unemployment in most of these countries is enormously high.
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Old 26-02-2011, 19:24   #39
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Re: Diesel Tech

If you know your stuff, it will get around quick, and if you don't it will also get around. Don't ever get over your head and you will find a barter system like no other in the cruising world. A diesel MEch on a sailboat without a Sailrite may find a SailRite on a boat that has 1600 hours since last valve adjustment...
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