A day in the life of a First Engineer

“Arise around 0500, shower and take breakfast in the mess room. It can be noisy in the mornings with upwards of a couple of hundred bodies getting ready to go to work.

“Down to the changing room on the main deck level to put on working clothes. Arrive in engine control room around 5.40 for handover of the watch over a coffee. 06.00, the day starts, if the night has been uneventful then I distribute the day’s work orders according to the plan made the previous afternoon. Once the crew are out on their rounds I will check over the systems and complete the DP checklists. How did ships run without email? It’s a relatively quiet time and a good opportunity to prepare any additional task risk assessments, permits and isolations required for the day’s tasks. The Chief Engineer generally calls in for a chat about the day’s plan and anything else on his mind.

“Around 08.30 to 0900 the Second Engineers will have completed their rounds and come in for their coffee break. I usually take the opportunity to escape the confines of the control room to get a look around the machinery spaces and upper deck areas. Tour completed, it’s back to the engine control room so the guys can go about the maintenance and other daily tasks.

“Watch-keeping is a major part of the Concordia 1st Engineer job description and the engine control room is my office. 

“Around 12.00 my lunch is usually cup a soup or boil in the bag, just for a change to the usual fair on offer in the mess room. The crew splits the lunch hour to cover the job and there is people coming and going for the next hour or so, before the afternoon work starts.

“Most days at 15.00 I attend the ship board management and work planning meeting which usually takes up an hour or so of my afternoon. Jobs planned for the following day are discussed along with any operational and safety issues from the previous days STOP cards. Back to the engine control room to let the Second Engineer back out to finish up the days tasks.

“Around 17.40, the nightshift, the 1st Engineer will arrive for handover of the watch. Most days I’ll stay back for twenty minutes or so to chew the cud with my colleague and then it’s up to the cabin for a clean up and change. Some days I will go to the gym and some days I’ll have a quite night in before showering and taking the evening meal down in the mess room.

“Meal over, I usually check my personal emails which is something of a luxury. I use an iPad mini, which is great for emails, music and books. Emails dealt with, I’ll usually watch TV and or read for a couple of hours before turning in around 22.00.

“Another day done!”

Andrew Little, First Engineer

Source: Programmed Marine