I’ve not been doing the blog this week because I’ve been taking a Marine Electric Certification course, given by ABYC. My goal between now and when we start our circumnavigation is to identify those areas where my skills are weak and work on them. Once we leave the U.S. I’ll have to do most repairs myself.
I knew going into this course that it was going to be tough going. The course was intended for people who have worked as a professional electrician for more than three years, and I have exactly zero training as a Marine electrician (or, any kind of electrician). The class consisted of 15 electricians – and me.
Unless the economy keeps spiraling downwards, I am unlikely to ever work as an electrician, but I do think the knowledge learned will be very handy, and I would encourage anyone who is serious about international cruising in a powerboat to take the time to learn the basic skills. I remember arriving at the marina in Marbella (Spain) and being handed a shore power adapter when I checked in. There was no cord attached, just the connector. It was assumed that I would know how to take apart my existing adapter, and rewire for this new adapter. I hadn’t the vaguest idea what to do, or if the power was even compatible with my boat, and the instructions, in Spanish, weren’t much help. This same confusion was repeated often as we moved from marina to marina. Usually, I gave up and just ran the boat off a combination of batteries and my generator. Even on this most recent trip to Mexico and Costa Rica, there were times when I had electrical problems, and had I known then what I know now, I might have been able to get some systems operational instead of just being frustrated.
The course finally finished today, with a 200 question exam! I won’t know how I did for another week, but am optimistic. It was a much tougher test than I was expecting. I’m usually good at tests, and told Roberta to expect that I’d be home in a couple of hours (from the testing). They allowed 3 hours for the test, and I wound up going down to the last minute.
Other skills that I want to develop over the next year include learning much more about the boat’s hydraulic system, and the diesel engine… I’ll be in Mexico for most of the next six months, so attending class won’t be possible, but I noticed that the ABYC has the study guides for the courses available to be ordered. I just ordered their courses on engines, systems and a/c systems. It won’t be the same without an instructor, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to learn, but necessity has a way of making things possible, so “maybe”.