Recently employed by a local marine construction company. I’m a deckhand with almost 7 years experience with most in marine construction, working push tug with just a captain and myself. For that time the monitoring of the engine room and regular maintenance was my responsibility.
With this new company I’ve become “Deckineer”. I recently asked the Cap, whose know how I’ve questioned multiple times in 3 weeks of new hire, if there is a packing puller and packing on the boat given i see signs of packing needing to be changed out. His response was that, “engineering protocol” does not reguire packing to be changed unless a shaft is pulled and that it “disintegrates” so you add as necessary.
This guy has told me things that have left me puzzled several times and 3 weeks.
Has anyone ever heard anything like this before?


Depends on the bearing arrangement on whether that is a good idea though.

Certainly replace packing when ovehauling. Otherwise you’d consider adjusting the gland or adding packing if there is excessive leakage. But you can only add/tighten so much. If you over compress you risk burning up the packing and damaging the pump/shaft.

If you do have excessive leakage and can’t tighten or add, see no reason why you wouldn’t replace the packing. Although timing would obviously be dependent on operations and what medium is leaking.

What “signs” are you seeing indicating the packing needs to be replaced?

Excessive flow, unable to achieve running drip and requires too much tighten to seize flow. It’s either no drip or wide open flow with not even a quater turn on the nuts.
Last I had this issue I had to replace all packing.

It sounds like you know what to look for and how to fix it.

I guess it’s a little tricky when you require approval or parts/tools from a Captain or non-engineer. Although to be fair if you’ve only been with the company/boat for a few weeks you may need to earn some trust first.

Short of finding some spare packing and a puller, and assuming it is manageable, you might try nagging again after a little while, something about how it’s getting worse, you have experience doing this, a little fix now can save money and possibly damage, etc

At the very least make sure you log appropriately (if there is a log). And keep trying to order some packing and a puller. And if you really get in a bind and have some small diameter Manila rope…sometimes an extra ring of “emergency packing” comes in different forms.

Some of these have a place too add grease
and who knows if existing packing was clocked
As it should be

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There is a grease point but no one can tell me when the packing was last changed or if they were installed properly.
It seems as if packing is just been stacked over bad packing time and time again. I notice a lot of neglect regarding engine room withthis boat.

Sounds like either the Captain has more than a few misconceptions about “engineering protocol” or there isn’t a lot of support from shoreside management for proper maintenance.

Once you figure out the answer to that question it might be worth considering another change of venue. I’ve seen first hand the difference between vessels where management supported pristine engine rooms and ones who didn’t know where the engine room was…the latter takes as much a toll on the engineer as it does in the longevity of the vessel.

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It’s both misconceptions on his part and poor management on shoreside personnel. This is temporary for me some matters are handled.
I’ve seen enough to know I’m working with folks who may put me in harms way.

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I would think that keeping it pumped full of grease
and maybe another round of packing or two clocked right would help especially if ring is
pulled in close to gland, shallow water work
in mud & sand make wear worse, vibration
from fouled wheel or bent wheel, worn out
cutlass bearing all contribute to these conditions
as well.

sounds like there is a fair chance the packing in there is the wrong stuff, wrong size etc. if you don’t have the right size use some string packing, cram it with thick grease. if you don’t have enough room pull some of the old krap out with ‘something’ but a packed bearing is infinetly better than the new ‘improved’ carbon face etc. , make sure you leave a drip going and you’ll be ok. sounds like you can quit asking the skipper much … you can deal with it. let us know ok?