Portcities Southampton
UK * Bristol * Hartlepool * Liverpool * London * Southampton
You are here: PortCities Southampton > Sea People > Jobs at sea > The engine room > Down in the engine room
* Text only * About this site * Site Map * Feedback
Explore this site
Start Here
About Us
Partners And Collections
Get Interactive!
Image galleries
The Docks
River Itchen
Southampton at war
Flying Boats
Finding Out More
Southampton speaks
Street Directories
Historic Buildings Survey
Registers and Records
Lloyd's Register
Official Sources
Other Records
Finding Out More
Wrecks and Accidents
Why accidents happen
Improving Safety at Sea
Finding Out More
Wreck Reports
Life of a Port
How a port comes to life
At work in a port
Ports at play
Trade - lifeblood of a port
Finding Out More
On the Line
Company growth and development
Shipping lines
Transatlantic travel
Preparing a liner
Finding Out More
Sea People
Life at sea
Jobs at sea
Travelling by sea
Starting a new life by sea
Women and the sea
Finding Out More
Diversity of Ships
The variety of ships
What drives the ship?
Ships of ancient times
Ships in the age of sail
Ships of the steam age
Ships of today

The engine room

Down in the engine room

Once it took hundreds of men to keep the furnaces lit and the turbines turning to provide the power for a large liner. From chief engineer to the trimmers they worked in the grime and heat of the bowels of the ship shifting tonnes of coal or oil. Today with diesel fuel and advanced technology the engine rooms have fewer crew and some are even unmanned.

`Queen Mary` aft engine room

Magnifying glass`Queen Mary` aft engine room

Control of the engines

Just as there is a hierarchy on deck, so it is below in the engine room. The top man is the chief engineer. The chief`s status is usually recognised by pay which is somewhere between that of the master and the first officer. Then, depending on the size of the ship, there are second, third engineers and so on. Their primary responsibility is the main engines and the auxiliaries such as the generators, which provide electrical power to the ship.

Before the days of unmanned engine rooms, one of the engineers would be on watch at any one time. They would ensure that everything was running properly, by regularly checking instruments and also by feeling bearings to ensure they were not overheating. The engineer on watch would also be ready to alter the speed or direction of the engine if the order came from the bridge. The engineers would also carry out a programme of planned maintenance of the main engine, auxiliaries and other mechanical equipment such as winches.


Advanced Search
Southampton City Council New Opportunities Fund Lloyd's Register London Metropolitan Archives National Maritime Museum World Ship Society  
Legal & Copyright * Partner sites: Bristol * Hartlepool * Liverpool * London * Southampton * Text only * About this site * Feedback