Radio, RADAR and Navigation Equipment At-Sea Maintainers

I’m curious about where radio, RADAR and navigation equipment (GPS, etc…) maintenance has landed in the shipboard organization. Given the disappearance of the Radio Officer position from many ships, where has that sort of repair landed? Does it fall to Deck or Engineering? Is it done by licensed officers or unlicensed ratings? Is it not done, because it’s easy enough to own duplicated systems? The reason I ask is I was an Electronics Technician in the Navy. I worked on radios, radar and navigation equipment. I’m well qualified in that role, along with computers and networking now. Where do those sorts of people land in shipboard organization? What kind of qualifications do they typically have? Is it a case where there is enough duplication of equipment to allow for shore side maintenance?

Thanks in advance,


Smaller companies just hire a business to repair or replace their equipment. Other larger companies hire someone with electronics training and FCC license to make repairs or replace electronics for their fleet of vessels.

They do all the repairs shoreside, unless someone happens to be able to do it aboard.

Some vessels, rarely, might have someone specialised in ET but in those cases it’s usually a specialised type of vessel. In terms of qualifications look into getting your FAA GMDSS Maintainer’s license. Then maybe google search who hires them. It’s mostly gonna be shoreside jobs though not at sea.

Thanks for the answers. It makes sense that things have moved ashore. It sounds kind of like the common at-sea route for technology is in engineering, although the focus there seems to be propulsion and support systems. I work in San Francisco and stopped in at the Marine Firemen’s Union one day. They told me that electricians are in demand. Does that sync up with what is seen out on the ships?



I hadn’t kept up with things in the last 5 years but an ETO rating was being discussed then. The GMDSS equipped vessels have to either carry a MAINTAINER or have duplicate equipment. Most have duplicate equipment if required in the zones that they are sailing. It’s common practice to have a service contract with one of the big outfits.
Unless things have changed since I tested, no classroom is required for GROL, GMDSS MAINTAINER and RADAR. A 70 hour course is required for GMDSS OPERATOR.

Another place to look are the tank radar gauging system outfits. They were looking for techs back when I was in the business.

Check out the ARA. I don’t know how many ships they have left. I know Matson Lines still use them.

Yes as of 2014 there is a stcw 95 electrcians ticket at long last.
You have your gmdss lig book and yoh need to follow your flag state requirements to fill that in.
That at least means testing it and checking the batteries.

PS worried about gmdss gear falling through the cracks, how about the DP gear?