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Old 07-03-2021, 09:43 AM   #1
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Engine room monitoring

A recent thread got me to wondering how and how often do folks monitor the ER. My experience is as crew on power. Then was asked to get temps at spots demarcated by a dab of paint at key spots, record temps and look at various spots for leaks or heat discoloration . This was kept on a separate sheet independent of the logbook. What do you do? What spots for temps? What spots do you look at? What remote monitoring do you have?
So far on passage it’s been sailboats. Still, there have been occasions (crossing the saragasso sea) where the engine is on for 2-3 days. We keep a logbook that gets a new line at the end of each watch. Part of it is fuel readings for each tank (even if engine has been off) but just a visual of the oil pads under the engine(s) the belt(s), general condition looking for leaks and coolant overflow bottle. Otherwise mostly depending upon the sound. Once a day shut it off and more formally look with a check of fluids. Does your checks change depending upon what you’re doing.
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Old 07-03-2021, 09:52 AM   #2
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It depends on vessel and what monitors it has and what crew....in addition to length of voyage, location and condition of vessel.

In other words, as captain I take in the big picture, as crew, whatever the captain wants. Usually I am the cautious one and I am 10X as lax as many posters here have mentioned in the past.

Experience has shown me some form of visuals (actual visits rarely as good as a good camera setup due to the amount of time of visits) along with a good sense of hearing sounds from the engine/drive train, and training to scan instruments regularly help the most.
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Old 07-03-2021, 10:10 AM   #3
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P can you offer guidance on what you actually do on your own boat and travels?
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Old 07-03-2021, 10:16 AM   #4
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I have two engines because I need one. I go through the engine room for inspection before and after a voyage. I saw the circulating water pump pulley fall off one of my engines underway through the engine room camera. I also have heat sensitive fire detection in the engine room. Last I have an extensive alarm system for oil pressure, coolant temp, raw water flow, exhaust temperature limit and high water in the bilge.
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Old 07-03-2021, 10:33 AM   #5
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When we are on the move, I go downstairs every 1-2 hours. I check the bilge, vacuum guages on the fuel filters, front and back of the engines, and the shafts seals to make sure they are cool to the touch. I use a light to look around the engines for leaks. Takes a couple minutes. I also have an indicator light mounted prominently under the MFD that turns on when primary bilge pump is running. I scan the dash guages frequently. A camera or two would be a nice touch, but I don't have any at present.
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Old 07-03-2021, 10:44 AM   #6
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Prior to start...check fluids, bleed air from Lehman manifold.

Start and go....last 10,000 miles had engine room camera so engine checks were maybe every couple hours (lift salon hatches).

Almost exclusively ran boat from lower helm so unusual noises easily heard. Only ran from flying bridge for short periods, say 30 minutes. If up there longer, only in the Keys due to clear water.

On commercial runs, mostly solo so no engine room checks or if trips longer than 6 hours, checks maybe every 4 hours....unless noise or smell alerted me.

But as I said, really depended on many factors.

Actually had fewer failures in many thousands of commercial hours than in the 3700 I have put on my so called bulletproof Lehman. So experience has taught me to be careful during and before the voyage, not paranoid. Of course.... that said... I am becoming paranoid after so long without major underway issues.
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Old 07-03-2021, 10:55 AM   #7
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I do pre start checks every day. On a run longer then a couple of hours, if seas are calm enough, I'll go down periodically to look around (including slowing down if we're on plane as I won't go down there on plane, too risky). If it's rough out, I'll generally just trust my gauges and senses and put some trust in the equipment to keep working. Checking stuffing box temps is easy as those are outside of the engine room with their own hatches right above them.
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Old 07-03-2021, 11:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
In other words, as captain I take in the big picture, as crew, whatever the captain wants. Usually I am the cautious one and I am 10X as lax as many posters here have mentioned in the past.

Experience has shown me some form of visuals (actual visits rarely as good as a good camera setup due to the amount of time of visits) along with a good sense of hearing sounds from the engine/drive train, and training to scan instruments regularly help the most.

I agree with the above and have found that a good sense of SA (situational awareness) is key to safe boating. A habit of scanning the entire panel every minute or less is imperative to running a boat. This habit was formed when I was flying and is deeply ingrained in almost everything I do.
Since I am now driving an all electric boat, the routine never changes.
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Old 07-03-2021, 11:27 AM   #9
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On our old 1983 Hatt, there's few tell-tale monitors besides the gauges (both helms), alarms, and the ol' fashioned engine room crouch-through (as it's too cramped to really walk!). We consist standard pre-checks the night before and the day of the trip as a lot can't change overnight... But hopefully not! Underway, myself or my partner will pull the hatch and hop down for a quick inspection every 2-3 hours, visually inspecting for leaks, listening for any odd sounds, and checking bilge levels- luckily she's a very 'dry' boat overall. When the water is too rough to safely do our crouch-through, we'll double check gauges (I do this compulsively anyway) and pop open the hatch for a 'lean over' inspection of all the visible areas... Which isn't nearly as good as an actual meaner through, but gives peace of mind.

Depending on length of trip, we'll also take temperature readings from a few different areas to make sure the gauges are reading what the handheld reads.
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