Being an electrician is inherently a dangerous job. Electricity is, in itself a dangerous and powerful force, and a job that involves harnessing such power is naturally dangerous. Great caution and care are thus required of all electricians, particularly of marine electricians who work in the unique setting onboard a ship.
If you are interested in becoming a marine electrician, knowing the working conditions and the inherent dangers of the job is important. There are common injuries that electricians, in general, are prone to, which include electrical shocks, burns, and other minor physical injuries, but of course, large and potentially fatal accidents are possible, too. But quite apart from the intrinsic danger that might be expected from working with electricity, below are some of the unique dangers that marine electricians face in the regular course of their duties:
Working in small or confined spaces and limited light conditions
Part of being a marine electrician involves occasionally getting down on your hands and knees to navigate the bowels of a ship. A ship’s construction, in general terms, has never been generous with space. Cabins, passageways corridors are often made to fit in the unique shape and size of a ship. Can you imagine just how much more confined the spaces allotted to electrical wiring and equipment are?
And because these are usually found below decks, electricians may not have easy access to direct sunlight. This means that they would have to navigate confined spaces using limited light, sometimes even in complete darkness. Darkness and confined or small spaces per se are not necessarily dangerous, but for a person who suffers from a phobia of confined spaces, this can be potentially dangerous indeed.
Of course, small or confined spaces and limited light do pose additional limitations on the range of movement and precision that an electrician can give to his work – particularly if he is navigating his way through colored wiring, for instance. But these kinds of working conditions should be expected, and are par for the course if you are working as a marine electrician.
Hostile Weather Conditions
Marine electricians may sometimes work below decks, but they can also sometimes work above deck, and be exposed to all manner of hostile weather conditions. A ship in full sail is vulnerable to all the changing weather conditions of the open sea, and even under hostile natural weather conditions such as storms, typhoons, and other similar natural phenomenon provides a unique danger to marine electricians.
Marine electricians may need to provide emergency repairs to electrical equipment, or to maintain and repair compromised wiring, all while the weather rages all around them. And because they are isolated in the middle of a ship, there is no refuge for the marine electrician, nor for any of the crew or the passengers except within close quarters.
All the hostile weather conditions that may bring down rain, thunderstorms, makes the job of a marine electrician all the more dangerous. Proper caution, preventative measures, and efficient service are expected of marine electricians to minimize potential harm or injury, whether to themselves or other people. It goes without saying that they are expected to ensure the smooth running of all electrical systems and equipment onboard even in the midst of hostile weather conditions.
Isolated Working Conditions
Ships are designed to be self-supporting and self-sustaining while sailing. This means that even while the ship can be away from land for long stretches of time each time, everything that the people need to survive should be present on board. And this includes electricity.
Being so isolated presents its unique challenges, too, for anybody working onboard ship, including marine electricians. Because most of the work that a marine electrician does is potentially life-threatening, he would need to develop some kind of trust with the people he works with. He has no choice otherwise, and neither is this a job that you can simply decide to quit while in the middle of a crisis. A marine electrician is expected to keep his head through emergencies, and still be able to deliver good work in the midst of a crisis. In fact, because the marine electrician will essentially be living on board for the duration of the ship’s traveling period, there is no real “working time” for electricians, and if an electrical emergency arises in the middle of the night, he is expected to handle the matter immediately.
Also working onboard ships while the ship is at sail means being away from home for long stretches of time. This may not be ideal for everybody. There is a lot of excitement and even adventure to traveling across state lines, even countries and territories in conjunction with your work, but it can also be lonely. These are working conditions unique to those who render service on board ships, not just for marine electricians, but also for the ship’s crew, down to the house maintenance and food service crew. And marine electricians are certainly counted among them. That said, being a marine electrician may be like any other job, with its high points and low points.