How many times have you joined a new yacht program, and discovered that there are no maintenance records on board? I have been there myself and the scenario can be quite daunting, let alone frustrating. The way in which an engineer organises their engine room, their tools and their maintenance records changes from boat to boat, but what is becoming more apparent is the greater need for digital solutions.
Digital solutions and their advances are continuing to bring substantial benefits to the superyacht industry, especially maintenance software and powerful vessel monitoring systems. Industrial internet solutions can use data and analytics to deliver better insights on asset conditions and performance, enabling predictive maintenance and reducing non-productive time, a major source of inefficiency and financial losses.
As an active superyacht engineer, I have experienced the pain points of unplanned downtime first hand. The complexities surrounding modern equipment and their maintenance schedules create a highly volatile environment inside an engine room where the condition of one piece of machinery may affect another.
Vessel monitoring systems greatly improve visibility over asset conditions and performance, not to mention, increase the safety of every vessel. Companies such as RH Marine (formally Imtech Marine) and Maretron have helped shape the revolution of digital monitoring over the years. The user interfaces now available by engines manufacturers, such as MTU, CAT and MAN and becoming more intuitive, giving the engineer immediate situational awareness of what is going on around them. Data becomes knowledge in the blink of an eye.
A yacht is made up of multiple departments all operating in conjunction with each other to maintain operational reliability and readiness. But how do departments collaborate information? The sharing of information, whether it be a document or a crew record has greatly enhanced over the years through digital solutions such as vessel management software platforms and even Dropbox and Share Point. These advancements have allowed a greater scope of collaboration with management companies, boat builders and even owners to some extent.
As far as what the engineer is concerned with, integrating a preventative maintenance plan is the first step in managing the dynamics of a modern day engine room. Using internet based digital platforms allows an entire team of engineers to be working together in maintaining critical maintenance records that should be required on every yacht. ISM management, inventory management and document control are amongst the most critical organisational processes we must follow.
There is no doubt that digital technology will continue to drive and dynamically change the superyacht industry. Technology brings people together, makes us safer and provides us with the necessary tools to overcome the pressures and pain points in maintaining operational reliability.