This is one in a series of blog posts in which Martide takes a closer look at just some of the countless jobs at sea and opportunities in the maritime industry. Basically if you're thinking about careers at sea and want to know more about a seafarer's duties and responsibilities, you've come to the right blog!
In this post we're looking at Junior Marine Electrician jobs, Assistant Marine Electrician jobs and Electrical Cadet jobs. These are the positions you'll need to learn more about if you're thinking of working your way up the ladder to be the head of the Electrical Department on a vessel some day.
So if you’re interested in researching different entry level cargo ship jobs, are considering becoming a Marine Electrician, and want to check out some different examples of maritime jobs, read on and hopefully this article will tell you everything you need to know!
However, there are other jobs that many people don’t consider when thinking about seafarer jobs. There are plenty of what are traditionally thought of as shore-based jobs on ships - excavator driver is one. Or you might want to think about being a cruise ship’s plumber or carpenter or even a garbage disposal operator. Of course, you can be guest-facing too and work as a passenger ship entertainer, Steward/Stewardess, waiter, bartender, Chief Steward or Stewardess or even as a gift shop salesperson.
Everything you need to know about Junior Marine Electrician jobs
Marine Electrician jobs are essentially regular electrician jobs - but onboard a vessel. Everything a shore based electrician would do will be part of a Marine Electrician’s job responsibilities.
Although due to the unique working environment - i.e. a ship at sea - there are a few added complications such as needing to get into small, cramped spaces to work, and of course the close proximity to water. Lots of it!
(And you don't need to have studied electrical engineering for years to know that water and electricity aren't the best bedfellows!)
There are also certain additional skills and personality traits that are required to work in the maritime industry and to withstand months spent away at sea and we'll take a look at those a little later on.
Junior Marine Electricians, Electrical Cadets and Assistant Marine Electricians are, of course, lower seafarer ranks than Chief Marine Electricians and Electro-Technical Officers but there is nothing stopping you from working your way up the career ladder as you gain more experience in jobs at sea.
And nonetheless your work will still involve tasks such as reading and understanding technical diagrams and blueprints, installing and replacing wiring and electrical components, and maintaining, repairing and upgrading faulty electrics.
There are a number of different pieces of equipment on a ship that run on electricity: navigation systems, radios, pumps and motors to name just a few - and they will all need maintaining, possibly repairing and sometimes replacing.
However it should be noted that while dealing with simpler electrical systems will usually be the responsibility of a Marine Electrician, technology that is more advanced normally falls under an Engineer’s remit.
In order to test systems and equipment a Marine Electrician will also need to be familiar with devices such as voltmeters, ohmmeters, and/or oscilloscopes.
Not only should you be able to find the causes of any issues but also be able to pinpoint a defect or potential hazard in advance of a problem occurring.
Junior Marine Electrician jobs: working environment
Clearly the main difference between an electrician based ashore and electrician jobs at sea is the working environment.
Whether you're working in a seafarer job on a cargo or container ship, an oil tanker, a bulk carrier, or a ro-ro vessel, jobs at sea bring with them their own unique set of challenges, not least the necessity of working in spaces that may be enclosed, hot, dirty and noisy.
On a ship many electrical systems and wiring can be located in difficult-to-reach places and a successful Cadet, Assistant or Junior Marine Electrician will need to be able to maneuver him or herself into some pretty cramped places!
Add the water factor into the mix and it becomes clear that electrician seafarer jobs in the maritime industry make very specific demands upon the crew members that perform them.
And it goes without saying that a dedication to safety is a must as certain precautions need to be taken to ensure the vessel is seaworthy and safe both before and during a voyage.
What skills do Junior Marine Electrician jobs need?
If you're thinking about becoming an Electrical Cadet, Assistant Marine Electrician or a Junior Marine Electrician, obviously a knowledge and understanding of electrical systems is crucial. But traits such as an attention to detail are also really important.
This comes in useful not only for performing diagnostics, reading blueprints and spotting defects, but also for adhering to maintenance schedules and keeping work logs. This means you must also have passed a test to say you are not color blind - you will need to identify different color warning lights and electrical wires, among other things.
As we mentioned earlier, a definite type of personality is needed to have a successful career working in seafarer jobs.
Whether you're a Marine Electrician, a Deck Cadet, an Engine Cadet, a Junior Engineer, a Chief Officer or the ship's Cook, as with all examples of maritime jobs, the ability to get along with people of different backgrounds and nationalities is a must.
You will also need to possess the mental strength to be able to spend months away from home and your family, loved ones and friends - as well as your creature comforts and guilty pleasures such as binge-watching Netflix series and eating too many McDonald's!
A good working knowledge of English will also come in very handy as this is the official language when working in seafarer jobs. In fact some employers will ask you to take an English test to assess your ability before they even consider hiring you.
How to become a Junior Marine Electrician
There are a couple of career paths into electrical jobs at sea. Firstly, the role may be of interest to qualified regular - i.e. land based - electricians who are looking for a change of career and who want to work in the maritime industry.
Gaining the relevant qualifications first, however, will be a must in order to secure an entry level cargo ship job. This could be done by applying for an apprenticeship with an electrician who specializes in marine electrics.
Alternatively you could apply to a maritime academy that offers a program training students in marine electrical careers.
Once you’ve got the right qualifications and are sure you have the skills and attributes required, you should be ready to start applying for Electrical Cadet or Assistant or Junior Marine Electrician jobs, either with shipping companies directly or through a maritime recruitment agency such as Martide.
More examples of maritime jobs
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in knowing how to become a Deck Cadet, an Oiler, a Wiper a Shipfitter or a Bosun, or if you want to know more about Able Bodied Seaman jobs, Ordinary Seaman jobs, Pumpman jobs, Messman jobs, Motorman jobs, or Chief Marine Engineer jobs, you could also explore some of the other posts in this series.
Or perhaps you’d like to put your culinary skills to good use and become a Chief Cook on a vessel.
Find jobs at sea with Martide
Finding your next crewing position with Martide is simple. We’re always looking for a wide range of different seafarer job positions, including Junior Marine Electricians, on behalf of our shipping company clients and if you are qualified and think this is the entry level cargo ship job for you, we want to hear from you.
Seafarers who have a Martide account can log in and start applying for our vacant jobs at sea right now.
And don’t forget you can also apply for any of our seafarer jobs, including Junior Marine Electrician jobs, with our free mobile app. Download the app now for Android from Google Play and from the Apple Store for iPhones and iPads.
Meanwhile if you're still wondering "what is a seafarer's job?" and exploring different examples of maritime jobs, keep on reading. Even if being a Junior Marine Electrician sounds like it might not be the right seafarer rank for you, you might find other jobs at sea that inspire you to take your next step towards a seafaring career.
Read the previous article in this series: Everything You Need to Know About Chief Marine Engineer Jobs
Read the next article in this series: Everything You Need to Know About Bosun Jobs
This blog post was originally published on October 17th 2019 and updated on July 29th 2021.