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Technical issues aboard (and how to deal with them)

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

How to get fast resolution on technical issues and shorten down time.

A yacht is a marvelous piece of engineering and with so many sophisticated technology and marine electronics aboard, technical issues are practically inevitable.

Delivery time of new build, custom yachts is under pressure: less time is spend on sea trials. Systems aren't fully tested in their final working environment.

In this article a few simple measures to pinpoint those inevitable failures early and prevent long down times (and spoiled holidays and disappointed customers).

Causes of a technical failure

Of course there are many reasons a technical system could potential fail, we put them in three categories:

  • Engineering failure

  • Installation failure

  • Wear and tear

  1. Engineering failure Hours and hours are spend on engineering the perfect yacht: it's all about finding the optimal balance between functionality, looks, costs, weight and size on each individual system. If calculation are off or margins are tight, a breakdown is just around the corner.

  2. Installation failure Checklists are the most commonly used instrument of shipyards to prevent installation failures but never cover all mistakes. It's a matter of time and possibly takes dozens of operational hours before a forgotten hose clamp or loose electrical wiring results in failure.

  3. Wear and tear Impossible to prevent, with normal use, components damage as a result of wear and aging. With proper yacht service, maintenance and care by the yacht crew, failures from wear and tear can be controlled.

Consequences of technical issues

They never come at the right time, technical issues tend to have a "special sense" for worst moments to occur. We distinguish 2 types of consequences of technical issues and give you some real life examples:

Safety hazards

  • Engine or rudder failure leave you steerless in the middle of the sea, canal or harbour, immediately causing possible collisions with ships or shore.

  • Untight seacocks are the number one reason for ships taking in water. When drainage is poor, a small water basin quickly goes into a sinking ship.

  • Poor electrical wiring together with flammable gases in the engine room is just the right cocktail for starting a fire.

  • Under-dimensioned components tend to generate heat, e.g. an electric bow thruster that is not apt for the job resulting in excessive wear or even fire.

Disappointment & distress

  • While island-hopping was on the agenda, a battery-charger that doesn't charge the service battery forces the family to stay ashore.

  • Bad energy management causes electrical driven amenities to stop working on the worst possible moments: shower (the electrical water pump) stops working with shampoo in your hair, the oven stops working just when you put in the lasagna or the laundry machine stops in the middle of the programm.

  • Bad internet connection: when the kids are tired, tug them in on the couch and start netflix. Don't let a poor internet connection throw a spanner in the works.

  • Not having enough water or fuel aboard forces the captain to re-route to a marina with filling station. Causing alterations in the well-planned itinerary.

Fast resolution: how to deal with technical issues aboard

Of course you want to keep your family and friends away from hazards at all times. Also, you want to keep disappointment to a minimal. Luckily there are measures to take:

  1. Monitoring As a yacht owner you monitor the state of your yacht and it's vital components. Once you know the state of the ship you are likely to react better, find the source faster and think of the proper solution when problems occur.

  2. Know what to do How would you react on above mentioned situations? With experience and system knowledge comes quick and adequate problem solving.

  3. Know the right individual specialists Key to fast resolution is having access to thrustful technical personnel with the right tools and spare parts: make sure have the contact details of individual service suppliers from your yachting area.

Problem solving without hassle: these are the steps to take

  1. Install online monitoring on your yacht If you don't have the technical knowledge or experience: let someone else monitor the state of your yacht and systems. Make sure a small issue doesn't grow into a big problem: smart online monitoring of your yacht let's a yacht manager warn you on time and give proper advice on the spot. With smart usage of the current sensors and connectivity aboard, a yacht manager is able to help instantly and remotely.

  2. Hire a yacht manager With digital advancements yacht management isn't reserved for superyachts anymore! Unburden yourself from the hassle of owning a yacht and hire a yacht manager: combined with online monitoring the yacht manager resolves issues without you even noticing.

  3. Get a team of technical professionals on the spot Make sure you get access to professionals in your planned yachting area. Your yacht manager will be able to source expert advice and emergency response on the spot and keep oversight and support maintenance, inspections and testing. He'll also deal with service contractor arrangements.

Your yacht WILL break down!

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