Electrical Technicians are the members of a ship’s Engineering department responsible for the operation and distribution of electrical power throughout the ship. They assist in maintaining the electrical and electronic equipment associated with the ship’s power generation, engineering systems and propulsion systems.
Electrical Technicians are responsible for the navigational and domestic lighting as well as most electrical service equipment on board the ship. The role of the Electrical Technician is to:
- Operate, and monitor for correct operation, electrical power-generating and distribution equipment
- Provide electrical maintenance support for all engineering machinery auxiliary equipment throughout the ship
- Operate battery chargers, electrical switchboards and metering devices
- Conduct the paralleling and loading of generators
- Assist in testing, tuning, repairing, installing and inspecting electrical and electronic equipment systems
- Inspect, maintain and install cabling and wiring
- Compile data logs, maintenance reports
- Process documents for the acquisition and return of material/parts and equipments
- Read and interpret electrical sketches and drawings.
Electrical Technicians spend much of their career on board ships with “home ports” in either Halifax, Nova Scotia or Esquimalt, British Columbia. They experience the unique adventures and challenges that come with work at sea, such as working in limited light conditions and small spaces. There may be occasion when they work in open deck surfaces repairing or maintaining navigational masts and equipment. While at sea, all members of the ship's company stand watch in shifts.
When the ship is ashore, Electrical Technicians usually work a regular day-shift schedule. In addition to their primary duties, junior Electrical Technicians spend time working outside their occupation performing general duties such as cleaning, painting, working in the cafeteria or loading supplies.
The starting salary for fully-trained Electrical Technicians is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Electrical Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training. With advanced technical training, they are assigned higher-level technical maintenance responsibilities, including supervisory duties.
The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.
Naval recruits attend the Canadian Forces Fleet School either in Esquimalt, British Columbia or Halifax, Nova Scotia for approximately five weeks. Training includes the following topics:
- Naval history and organization
- Shipboard firefighting and damage control
- Shipboard Safety
- Watchkeeping duties
Electrical Technicians attend the Canadian Forces Fleet School in Esquimalt, British Columbia, for approximately nine weeks. This occupational training includes the following topics:
- Marine and Industrial/electrical safety conditions and practice
- Electrical theory
- Basic Drawing/Sketches interpretation
- AC and DC machines
- Power generation and distribution
- Use of hand tools, electrical meters and lab volt equipment
Electrical Technicians who demonstrate the potential and ability may be offered training as a specialist in the operation and maintenance of more complex equipment and major systems. This training is normally provided through formal courses and/or on-the-job training, in areas such as:
- Ship’s Team Diver
- Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel
- Submarine Ttraining Qualification
- Helicopter Haul Down Equipment
- Gas Turbine Maintenance
- Programmable Logic Controller
- Instructional Techniques
- Fibre Optics
As they progress in their career, Electrical Technicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:
- Electrical/Electronic Theory
- Fault Finding and Repair
- Fluid Power (Pneumatics and Hydraulics)
- Integrated Machinery Control System
- Equipment Health Monitoring, e.g. Vibration Analysis