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Old 14-01-2011, 14:57   #1
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Diesel Tech

My wife and I are casting off in a couple of years. (We both can't wait) I'm a diesel technician and wondering if I could make somewhat of a living while crusing.
Cheers,
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Old 14-01-2011, 15:02   #2
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I am sure you would make alot of good friends
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Old 14-01-2011, 15:03   #3
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I doubt it as most cruisers are DIY and avoid paying for good technical help.
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Old 14-01-2011, 15:10   #4
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I am sure you would make alot of good friends
Loved that ye plenty of friends might even get a free beer or two if your lucky.
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Old 16-01-2011, 11:33   #5
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Me thinks you haven't been a diesel tech long enough if you still tell people you are a diesel tech. I tell people I'm a tax auditor.

My friends never ask me for favors nor I them.

The trouble with making friends because you're a diesel tech is that your trip will be like the job you are leaving.

Matthew
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Old 16-01-2011, 12:24   #6
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Take along lots of tools, although cruisers aren't likely to need your help marinas are full of weekend wanderers that have day jobs and can pay. I've funded this voyage via tinkering on trawlers and climbing masts. When shore based I worked in machine shops and moonlighted in theater (tech, not actor) and am also a diesel mech, there is not much on a sailboat that is not in a theater as well. It helps that I am small and light, I can fit in the hold and climb a mast.

My trick is to find a repair person working out of their truck on a Sunday, (If they are working on a Sunday they have plenty to do) and ask if they need a hand. I'm usualy asked about what my skills are and then the really great ones ask me if I need a beer
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Old 16-01-2011, 12:32   #7
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I had some diesel engine trouble recently and was surprised at how little help was available and how expensive it was. This was UK, South Coast, where you would think you could get every marine-related service your heart desires.

If you are really good with diesel engines, I would think that the world would beat a path to your door.
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Old 16-01-2011, 13:04   #8
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I say just bring all your tools and manuals and see how it goes but don't be financially dependent on the idea working before you go. Any money you do make adds nicely to the bank account.
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Old 16-01-2011, 13:33   #9
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, funcpl.
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Old 16-01-2011, 15:26   #10
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Originally Posted by Hillbillyfunk View Post
Take along lots of tools, although cruisers aren't likely to need your help marinas are full of weekend wanderers that have day jobs and can pay. I've funded this voyage via tinkering on trawlers and climbing masts. When shore based I worked in machine shops and moonlighted in theater (tech, not actor) and am also a diesel mech, there is not much on a sailboat that is not in a theater as well. It helps that I am small and light, I can fit in the hold and climb a mast.

My trick is to find a repair person working out of their truck on a Sunday, (If they are working on a Sunday they have plenty to do) and ask if they need a hand. I'm usualy asked about what my skills are and then the really great ones ask me if I need a beer
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. As I suspected at the time many of these so called mechanics were untrained self taught people who then went around selling themselves as Mechanics. This happens all the time in OZ one of the lines you get is "I am a mechanic but don't have the time to do the job". What this really means is once upon a time in their youth they played around with cars so they know how to check the oil and water.
This should be a warning to other cruisers tread carefully before allowing someone to work on your engine.
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Old 16-01-2011, 16:55   #11
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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.
Yeah I get that a lot, but my skill is offset by the amount of schooling I attended to to get my certification in machining, welding and then 2 years later diesel tech. I did my apprenticeship in a heavy duty diesel shop who's main client was a little company called JB Hunt. They are in the states so I doubt you have heard of them, the other big client owned a company called Wal~Mart, you may have heard of them.

I've been tinkering with diesels for only 20 years so I can see why some might think me a hack, but I am still pretty good at making old machines purr. Of course I am a not certified in rigging, electrics, fiberglass, knots or most needed nautical trades, but a jack I am not, a master of only metal smithing. Certified only in tool and die machine, welding, diesel mechanics, black smithing, forge and foundry works. It's amazing what one can learn when their hobby is trades education.

No need to take offence, there is a whole half of a planet between me and OZ, too bad you only find hacks, the hillbilly has been around diesel tractors for only 35 years and developed a system to run MBZ 617/618 on waste grease from "off the the shelf" hardware store bits while in college, but I spent most of my time toying with chemistry learning to make soap and hooch as by products in making better diesel fuel from trash. ( I went to college after trade school)
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Old 16-01-2011, 17:19   #12
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Never known anyone who thought they were a bad tradesman but I have met plenty.
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Old 16-01-2011, 17:36   #13
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Beware! Most countries will NOT let you work in them. If you try to get a work permit then consider the time it takes to do that. Also; countries don't want people coming in that will take from their own, which any ex pat would. So even with tools you'll be at a loss. Further, any good mechanic will know all the local places to get things done. Yeah, you know them where you live but finding them in foreign lands takes a bit of work and some guts. Even in the states some shops might be thought to be in some down and out places.

You may be able to turn a few dollars here and there but if you try to support your cruise on what you make; IMHO, you'll trim down in no time.

Go Slow
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Old 17-01-2011, 11:12   #14
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I had some diesel engine trouble recently and was surprised at how little help was available and how expensive it was. This was UK, South Coast, where you would think you could get every marine-related service your heart desires.
Really? I'm shocked. I once had a bad experience with IOW fuel (and I mean really bad) and the summoned diesel tech was a ex RN artificer, really knew his stuff in a way that I have never seen on the west coast of the USA or the BVI's.

Granted my sample is small but that apprenticeship route rather than a short spell at trade school equals "now I know it all" approach doesn't exist too many places.

Sorry to hear its no longer that way, methinks all the qualified folks are slipping quietly out of the UK like departing a bad party.

To the OP, nothing beats references, coupled with a manufacturers training and experience with an authorised engine retailer/service centre. Most will pay top dollar but only for the top guy (or gal). Having said that one day I will meet a 100lb 4ft tall tech with really long arms and long thin fingers...they will get the work immediately.
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Old 17-01-2011, 15:17   #15
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"Granted my sample is small but that apprenticeship route rather than a short spell at trade school equals "now I know it all" approach doesn't exist too many places"

Yes yes yes - I wish I could put in to words at the time of writing what others manage to do as above. Maybe that is because I am not a writer of any ability or experience
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