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Old 17-03-2003, 23:59   #1
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How About A/C & Refrigeration

I'm hoping to begin crusing in about a year, will try A/C and refridgeration repair for other cruisers, Have heard many stories about the high need for such work. Maybe some of you can fill me in from your perspectives.

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Old 19-03-2003, 08:00   #2
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I think it is a kewl way to make a living! Get it? cool
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Old 19-03-2003, 10:28   #3
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Working while cruising.

From my undrstanding there is ALWAYS work to be found in the field of A/C , Refrig. repair. I have also been told that just about any skilled craftsmen(electrician, pipefitter, welder, etc.) can find work relatively easy. Along with boat cleaning, teaching English, hair cutting, and resort work. Also don't forget diesel mechanics!
These are just a few of the possibilities as I understand them. Any comments or help? Dave
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Old 19-03-2003, 19:16   #4
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My wife (Maggie) & I spent 9 years living off our skills (Florida & Bahamas).
AC-Refr IS an EXCELLENT saleable skill, as are all marine trades.
I started out a master electrician, but gradually expanded my expertise to include plumbing, hydraulics, rig & structure, and outboards, etc.
The learning curve is very steep! I started out thinking I was an expert; but after 13 years intensive experience & learning; know I've still much to learn about marine trades, especially including my base skill (electrical).
We lived-aboard a C&C29, which made tools & parts storage (at sea) a major problem.
Notwithstanding space/weight limitations, take as much inventory as you possibly can.
My AC/R experience is limited to power & control (the elect. side); but suspect most problems involve gas. You'll want a good guage set, vacuum pump, and a supply of Freon (was still avail. in Bahamas 1999), soldering, multi-meter, & etc. I'm sure you'll know, better than I.
Not to forget your "rolladex". Being able to put your hands on parts (often shipped from "Staeside"), and being able to pay for them, can be (in itself) a saleable skill. I maintained accounts, and relationships with the best resource-persons, at several Marine & Industrial supply houses - had I more contacts, I could have kept busy as a parts-acquisition broker.
Hope this has offered some (small) help & encouragement.
Good luck & regards,
Gord
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Old 19-03-2003, 19:26   #5
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Cruising and working

Gord,

Thanks for the encpuragement. I'm sure the learning curve is very steep. I have been an instr. tech./electrician at a large chemical plant for 15 yrs. But the marine environment is a totally different deal. I have been looking for classes on marine diesels and /or outboard engines but none in this area. So far I have books, videos, and people to ask. Any comments?

Dave
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Old 19-03-2003, 22:00   #6
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Dave:
You're on the right track!
Read ALL you can - books, manuals, ABYC Standards, etc.
Could list (later) suggested reading, if you like.
You cannot have access to too much info'.
Gord
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Old 11-04-2010, 19:30   #7
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It's worked for me

I'm a Canadian Master Electrician first trade & refrigeration mechanic second trade. My darling is a teacher.

I have been, cruise working, in the Caribbean for the last 7 years. My darling joined me from the great white north 6 years ago.

You won't get rich but you can survive. The biggest issue is work permits if you plan to spend time in a location, but that generally works itself out.

Just a reference point. I was talking to a builder in Honduras 2 years ago, and he was paying his top electricians $260 lim a month. At that time it was 18 lim to 1USD you can do the math.

Just remember rule #2 Your Not at Home

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Old 11-04-2010, 21:13   #8
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There are many places in the Carribbean that are woefully lacking in skilled technicians of any kind. I'll pick on the island of Grenada only because I spent a lot of time there and tried to get a few things fixed. I've always said that if I took a 3 week course in refrigeration, I'd be the best refrigeration specialist in all of Grenada. Likewise if I took a 3 week course in: (fill in the blank) mechanic, electrition, veterinarian, etc, I'd be a Grenadian expert in those fields too.
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Old 14-04-2010, 07:23   #9
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Having marketable skills is wonderful, if for no other reason you can keep your own boat in shape without spending big bucks on "local" talent. As mentioned by Caribsailors, if you try to do work for other cruisers and charge money, you need a local work permit. That can be difficult or easy depending upon the country. Some countries could care less and especially if you are in an anchorage with no locals living there. But in an anchorage - or worse a marina - you can get into serious trouble "taking jobs away from locals" even if there are not qualified locals. At best, you will be told to leave the country immediately and never return and at worst fined or put in jail.
- - That doesn't stop many, many cruisers from "helping" other cruisers with problems on their boats. If done gratis (maybe some beer or a dinner ashore) rarely is there a problem, but to actually exchange money for services rendered without a work permit is treading on dangerous waters. Biggest problem is if you're good at your work and then the "customer" starts telling other boaters about you and it gets back to a "local" technician who will definitely get the local authorities to visit you.
- - Bottom line, don't expect to be able to "work" your way around the world unless you are willing to do it legally.
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