The barging industry depends heavily on the boats
having reliable navigation equipment day and night.

"Who fixes all that stuff?"

This page is dedicated to an elite group of people who have chosen for their livelihood, a specialized field that is quite diversified.  If that sounds like an oxymoron, allow me to explain.

The "specialty" qualifier of their trade is that all of the equipment they work on is floating!  It may be up or down the river, in a harbor, across a sound, or even offshore, the common thread is "If it's electronic and it's floating, they can fix it."  The diversity element of this field is the fact that these individuals are expected to be experts on all manner of things electronic:
communications equipment such as radios that operate from below the broadcast band well into the UHF segment of the spectrum, Radar, usually the "plan position indicator" type, ranging from 10,000 watts peak power to 60,000 watts.  These systems operate in the "x" and "s" bands of the microwave spectrum.  Other navigational aids include "GPS" (global positioning system) and echo sounders for precision depth finding.  Inter-vessel communications systems such as multi-station intercoms and telephone PBX systems are critical to safe vessel operations and are also on the vessel tech's list of things to be good at.  Since the late 1980's Computers have found their way into the pilot house.  Some boats use them only for mundane book keeping chores while others integrate most of their navigational aids and even extract engine room operational
parameters to calculate fuel economy and over all vessel performance.   You guessed it.  Mr. Vessel  Tech is the computer fix-it dude too.   Wait!  There's more.  Not all the modern conveniences are confined to the pilot house.  The deck crew are no longer limited to a deck of cards and a cribbage board to while away their off-watch hours.  Satellite TV has found it's way into the wonderful world of marine electronics.   Yes, and if you think things get critical when the radar breaks down, you should hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth when the satellite TV system goes on the blink.  

Such is the life of the marine electronics technician.   Did I mention he's a "24/7" kind of guy too. I've probably made it sound a bit stressful, but, on the other hand,  there is a lot of gratification in accomplishing critical repairs  sometimes under adverse conditions, and being part of such a  fascinating industry.

Tom Morgan



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