02 June 2009

Thoughts After a Year.......

Evan Denholm graduated in 2008 and has been working for McAllister Towing in New York- As our 2009 Grads sit for license exams and get ready to graduate, here is some insight into the world ahead......

So I’m sitting in my room on the tug I work on thinking back to this last year. This year has gone by very fast and there are a few things that really stick out in my mind. I think to my first day at work, training on the Rowan McAllister thinking that I have no idea what I’m doing. Although I have worked on much larger ships I had never been taught how to change a racor. This was a whole different part of the industry that you never get taught and rarely hear about. Next thing I know I had my first boat that was mine. At 55 years old with one 1,800 Hp engine I had my work cut out for me on the McAllister Brothers. I remember thinking this boat could make me look like a fool or a hero and I was determined to be a hero. I put my nose down and did the best job I know how. Everything from doing my planned maintenance to working on deck I just figured if I did the best I could I would be okay with anything that happened.
In January they transferred me to another boat. This boat was 42 years old but had been repowered a little over two years ago. 4,200 Hp with Z-drives the Ellen McAllister was a whole new monster. I once again decided to take the only approach I know, do the best job I could and no one can ask any more of me. Every day I learned new things about the boat, tracing systems poking my head into things and asking myself and my relief plenty of questions. By May I felt pretty good about the boat, I knew every system by heart any alarm that went off I knew what it was for and how to fix the problem. I was finally in my comfort zone when I was asked by the personnel manager if I wasted to start working on the Rosemary McAllister.
The Rosemary is big, although it only measures 94 feet there is a lot packed in a relatively small boat. This boat has two electronically controlled 12 cylinder EMDs that put out 6,000Hp, two 125 kW John Deere generators for ships power, one 175kW John Deere to run the ship assist winch on the bow, and two 400Hp Caterpillars to run giant fire pumps. When you add all of that machinery with an insane amount of automation and electronic control and monitoring systems this was a big task.
I have only been on this boat for four days and I am still working on learning the plant like I did on the Ellen but here is the kicker, I have an engine cadet. First off I am still getting used to the fact that I am not a cadet and second the cadet is interested and wants to learn. Now I’ll get to the point. Every question that the cadet has asked I have been able to answer. I honestly did not think that I would be able to pick up everything on the boat this quickly which is what spurred this little rant. As I said I did not learn how to be THE engineer on a tug at KP but I can honestly say, no matter how cliché it sounds, I learned how to learn. I finally feel like I can get on a boat with minimal training from another engineer and figure it out, I won’t know everything the first day but I can figure it out. If you asked me that set of skills, a little hard work and knowing how to just figure it out, is what moved me from being a new hire to the engineer on the 10 month old most powerful boat in the fleet in ten short months. Thank You Kings Point.
Evan Denholm
“Chief” Engineer – Rosemary McAllister

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