Having chosen a marine career (good choice!) as your field of work, here is some information to help make your search wider. You are determined to find a job at sea then we offer you a suitable option for that- an ELECTRO TECHNICAL OFFICER [ETO].
An electro technical officer is one of the most important people on a vessel, especially when it comes to his/her expertise of handling electrical equipment of the vessel.
For those who are interested in maritime jobs, a ship officer handling the electrical supervision of the vessel can be a suitable career choice. As an electro-technical officer, your main duty would be to ensure the functioning and maintenance of electrical equipments on vessel.

Electro-Technical Officer

As an Electro-Technical Officer (often abbreviated to ETO) you'll maintain a wide range of complex onboard electronic and electrical equipment. Look forward to regularly dealing with technical challenges and equipment as diverse as the main electric generation plant and electronic communication systems.

As well as making good use of your maintenance skills, you’ll monitor all electrical equipment on board to maximize the operational safety and efficiency of the vessel.
Right now the Electro-Technical Officer role is fairly new. So depending on the company and the type of ship, it might play a significant part at Junior and Senior Officer levels. While on other vessels it’s not such a big requirement and may be part of Engineering Officers' jobs. 

What does an electro technical officer do?

An electro technical officer handles several responsibilities on vessels mainly related to electrical systems. Like most jobs at sea, as a ship officer handling electronics on a vessel, you are most likely to work under a chief engineer who supervises everything on a ship. And while under a chief engineer, your ship jobs would include the following things.
  • Maintenance and working of electrical equipments on board
  • Working on electrical parts like engine rooms, radio communications, electronic navigation needs like echo sounders, Gyro compass, Weather Fax, auto pilot, Radar system, Broadcast, and internal aerial system, Telephone and talk back system and Satelite communications.
  • Look into basic electric needs like Refrigeration, Bridge system and control rooms.
  • Maintenance of emergency systems including emergency switches, Fire alarms, and Detectors.
  • Vessel's Electrical components like Navigational Lights, Battery backups and Electrically operated propelling machinery.
  • Assist the chief officer in handling routine works especially related to electrical handling
  • Coordinate work with on shore technicians
  • During emergencies, an electrical officer plays an important role like every other ship officer. You would be required to handle emergency situations and ensure all the equipment needed for safety is always ready.
  • An Electro technical officer looks into electrical and technical aspects on a vessel. Hence working on computer-controlled machinery would be supervised by an ETO.
  • An Electro technical officer is immensely important on cruise ships and passenger vessels which have huge electrical requirements and unmanned technology handling them. Everything from refrigeration to air conditioning on such vessels would com under your supervision as an Electro Technical Officer.

What are the knowledge and skills needed to be an ETO?

An ETO can be seen as a higher version of an electrical officer. The qualifications and qualities needed to become an ETO are
  • As Per New STCW-2010 Manila amendments, Elector technical officer has to obtain a certificate of competency from Maritime Authorities by applying for exams conducted by them.

Besides a simple Bachelor’s degree in engineering, as an aspirant of an ETO post, you can also take up additional short term diploma courses of full Bachelor’s courses dealing with electro technical handling and maintenance. Besides these qualifications, for a person seeking careers at sea, you must possess the following qualities too.
  • Physical strength to handle heavy-duty on board work
  • Mental fitness
  • Ability to stay away from family for long intervals
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to handle practical situations
  • Independent decision-making capacity
  • Task prioritization and organization
  • Ability to keep calm and not panic under emergency situations
  • To be able to work under a senior while maintaining a team of your own
  • Flair for circuits and wires ( a must) 

What is the tentative remuneration?

Like most jobs at sea, the salary of an ETO greatly varies with the experience you own, the kind of responsibilities you handle and the rank that you work on. However, even with so many variables, ETO remains a highly paying job among all careers at sea. As an ETO, you can expect a salary of $3000 to $5400 per month. Those working on bigger cruise ships can expect even up to $10000 per month depending on the size of the cruise ship and the duties handled.

The biggest advantage of this particular option among all maritime jobs is that it is a new field. Since the electrical aspect and IT on vessels has combined recently, not many people have been duly trained to handle them both together. With the increasing need for such people, there are immense opportunities for people to make use of their knowledge and skills. Work handled by an electrical officer now needs the expertise of an ETO now. Considering that, it seems viable that this option among all marine careers should be seen as a highly lucrative choice by most mariners

What qualities and skills do I need?

The Electro-Technical Officer (ETO) monitors all onboard electronic and electrical equipment – maximizing the operational safety and efficiency of the vessel. As this particular role is still evolving, you may find it plays a significant part in Junior and Senior Officer levels. While on other ships, it’s part of the Engineer Officers' jobs.
If your sights are set on this role, you should be interested in electrical and electronic control and power systems. There will be many times where your practical troubleshooting skills are called upon, along with your good team working abilities.

All Navigation (Deck) and Engineering Officer ranks require a seafarer Certificate of Competency (CoC) – issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. You receive the Officer of the Watch certificate (OOW), on completing your Merchant Navy Training Board course through one of the maritime colleges/universities. Then – as your experience at sea grows and you pass the required examinations – you’ll get further certificates for promotion into the next job role.
Electrical Officers are responsible for monitoring all electronic and electrical equipment on board to maximize the operational safety and efficiency of the vessel. As an electrical officer, you'll work in close association with deck and engineering officers for all electrical and hydraulic technology and machinery related challenges. You'll be responsible for power generation and distribution systems and for other equipment such as lifts, reefers and electrical bus systems.

Course Pattern:

4 months
On ship training – 12 months (stipend 300-600 USD) (TRAINEE ETO)

Eligibility Criteria:

Age – Not more than 35 years at course commencement

Qualification – 10+2 with PCM from a recognized Education Board & minimum 50% marks in English in 10th/12th and Diploma in (EE/ ECE/ EEE/EIE) with 60% or B-Tech in (EE/ ECE/ EEE/EIE) with 55%.

Medical – medically fit including eye sight and hearing as prescribed in the Merchant Shipping (Medical Examination) Rules, 2000; as amended.

Career Growth

You would have to sail for about 12-18 months as a TREO. In order to learn the job of an Electro Technical Officer. There is only one Electro technical officer on-board and he is expected to know ALL the electrical stuff on-board. Many types of equipment are based on an "electrical" background so that becomes your responsibility. I am not saying that it's impossible, but its a tough one that's all.

After you finish your TREO, you have to appear in the ETO-COC exam. After the examination, you would be promoted to the post of ETO. That is the final position you would ever reach. After that, if you decide to continue sailing you would be getting seniority allowance, that's all. That can be huge if you have sailed for say, 10 plus years.

The life of an Electrical officer and future is great in terms of professional life as your pay is good you are the only person on the ship who is qualified and specialize in the job and even if you don't know how and what of a job you will have to learn it. So willingly or unwillingly you become skilled in your area. Your income is good of course not the best these days as shore companies are also offering great packages. Your work includes a day shift where you will get lots of maintenance work to do and apart from that any other emergency that may occur even after your working hours.

References: marineinsight, careeratsea.

"If you want to achieve Greatness stop asking for permission."

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