Training to be an ETO in the Merchant Navy by Jamie Loftus Burke

I undertook the ETO programme because I was already a qualified electrician and I wanted a new challenge.

I enjoyed being away at sea the most during my training

I studied at the South Tyneside College (STC) for three years. When I first started I don’t believe the facilities were up to standard, but in my final phase every part of the college changed and there was more available machinery to work with.

I enjoyed being away at sea the most during my training, using the skills I learnt in college and actually putting them into practice.

I have gained an FD in electrical and electronic engineering.

My first ship was a crude oil tanker which travelled mainly around Asia and the Middle East, and my second type of vessel was a cruise ship which mainly went around the Med.

My time at sea involved a lot of working and studying machinery

My time at sea involved a lot of working and studying machinery - how it works, why it does what it does and how to fix it when there was a problem.

A job at sea offers you a chance to experience life from a totally different aspect from what you would expect. It takes a lot to want to work away from home but if you get the right mix of personnel it makes it easier.

My best advice would be to learn how to read a circuit diagram and understand how systems work

I enjoy the responsibility and the challenge of being an ETO. The big difference between and ETO and a Mechanical Engineer is that an engineer takes two minutes to know what the problem is but two hours to fix it, whereas an ETO takes two hours to find the problem but two minutes to fix it!

I am currently working for Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited (PNTL) and I see myself still being here over the next 10 years.

My best advice would be to learn how to read a circuit diagram and understand how systems work. A lot of ships have a very different equipment that do the same thing but are built and designed in different ways, but if you learn how to read a diagram you will understand the system no matter what.

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