How to be a third engineer

I know what you are thinking, you’d like to be an engineer, but it’s too complicated; that you have to be able to run or fix anything. Well, guess again! It’s simple. No technical experience is needed. Some acting background would be helpful.

If your sick of your present job, above deck or ashore; if your tired of working in well- lit, air conditioned areas with mild mannered people come on down to the engine room.

You’ll love the heat. You begin to sweat in places you never thought possible.

You’ll learn swearing is an art form. (Remember, people will judge how hard you’re working by how much you swear)

Crawl around the bilge and rub that grime all over. Burn yourself on a steam line. Don’t wear gloves, they are for sissies. You’ll get used to the dim lighting. Throw some wrenches around. Make some noise. Don’t worry about disturbing other. (It’s so noisy down there; no one will notice – and you’ll soon be deaf anyway.)

Take a deep, soot-filled breath. Light a cigarette and scream out, “This is living!”

Now you’re more than a man. Now you’re an engineer.

Yes, I got a little excited there, but this is an exciting career.

Now I’ll explain just how to do the job: when you first come aboard, go and find the Chief Engineer. Shake his hand and say in a deep manly voice, “How are things going?” (This shows interest and he’ll like you right away.)
Go down and stand watch. Have someone show you how to get water into the boiler drum in an emergency. This is the only important thing you need to know. If you don’t, you’ll melt down the boiler and the Chief will be very angry.

Aside from that, just do whatever your Oiler says. If he starts getting excited about anything, ask him one question: “Are we going to lose the plant?”

If he says, “No”, then call the First by telephone. The first will come down and fix it.

If your Oiler says, “Yes”, then hit the panic button. Then all of the engineers will run down and fix it. The Chief may yell a bit, but what do you care? You’re making great money!! So what’s a little screaming?

Don’t bother reading the log book – just sign it. (Your Oiler will fill it out and he’s not putting down the actual temperatures and pressures. He’s just putting down what the Chief wants to see… and the office never reads it anyway)

Don’t confuse things by trying to measure liquids in quarts or gallons. Around here the unit of measure is the coffee can. If the First asks you how much oil you added to the feed pump, it’s quite acceptable to say, “Oh, about half a coffee can.”

Be tough on the Deck Department. Show them who’s boss.

If they want more air on deck, give them less. Water on Deck? – give them just a trickle. (After all you’ve got an Engine room to run.)

On overtime, don’t be afraid to work on anything. (If it’s important, the First wont let you work on it alone in any case.)Follow these steps: Take it apart. Replace as many parts as you have spares for. Then put it back together the way it came apart. It’ll work. (If it doesn’t, and the First and the Chief cant figure it out either, they’ll write it up for the shipyard.)

Don’t use many tools. You can fix almost anything with a pair of Channel locks. Bring an extra pair in case the Chief gets mad at you and takes your away.

Carry a small brown notebook to jot down important items – like your paid leave schedule or the phone number of that waitress in Singapore.
Dress as dirty as possible in the Salon. (This makes the Mates feel bad about having laid in the sun all day.)

Try to develop a “Boston Accent.” You’ll fit in much better because the other engineers will be able to understand you then.

Hold your head high. You’re now an Engineer and you have two dirty hands and a foul mouth to prove it!!!


Funniest thing that I have read in ages.

That’s pretty accurate! Nice job.

OMG that was soooo seriously funny and true

Wow. Reminds me of my last trip at work. Good times on that grain run.

So true, so true… even thirty years ago, when I was a third. The only problem, eventually I would become the First or the Chief … Then I started thinking.

Kidding aside, they still were the good old days.:smiley: