A day in the life of a...Chief Engineer

Louisa Gallimore talks to Steven Clarsen, a superyacht chief engineer and one of our 4Scholarship judges.

How did you get started in yachting?

I was backpacking in the Caribbean, had spent a couple of months in the lower Dutch Caribbean islands and was looking for an interesting way out. 
By chance, I was offered a ride to Jamaica on a small yacht that I had made friends with, on the condition that I sign on as crew and give the job a decent shot. 
I loved it and I’m still doing it more than a decade later.

What does a typical day look like for you?

It changes a lot with different programs, boats and time of the year but I wake up generally pretty early and get a coffee.
Then I look over the state of the equipment and get ready for the day, with whatever may be required at the time. 

I generally know what I will need to be focusing on each day, as there is always a rough plan to follow. 
When organizing junior crew, I find it a lot easier to communicate to them in advance what I’ll need them to do, so they can get straight in to their tasks, and I can enjoy my coffee.

What’s your favourite part of being an engineer?

The variety! Some days you are fixing some highly complicated one-off designed piece of equipment that needs information from a small, select, group of people on the other side of the world (who, of course, are asleep)… and a few hours later you are trying to breathe life back into the crew toaster that has miraculously had a knife "fall" into it. 
It keeps you on your toes and honest about what you are capable of, as well as showing you some of the most beautiful locations along the way.

What’s the toughest part of your job?

Always trying to remain ‘big picture’ focused. 
Half-way through working on an important piece of critical equipment, the guests’ iPad may have an issue, or a charger may not function, and the radio squawks for the engineer "now!". 
The radio off button often looks rather inviting at these times…but unless there is any real and immediate danger, then you will be spending the next half hour with a happy / cheesy grin on your face fixing iPads.

What do you enjoy doing outside of yachting?

I love traveling and complicated projects, so combining both I have just bought a beautiful old BMW motorbike, close to the same as the first bike I ever rode.
I’ll be giving it a big overhaul and restoration in Poland before riding it to my home in Mallorca someday. 
Not sure what part of it I like the most, but it is one of those nice slow projects that keep the mind busy while swinging around on anchor awaiting an iPad charger to fail.

 

Thanks Steve! We know who to call when the Bluewater toaster fails #wink just kidding! 
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us, and good luck with your next adventure.

 

To find out more about working on yachts, or to receive details of the engineering career pathway, drop us an email, or pop by one of our offices in Antibes, Palma or Fort Lauderdale.