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Mechanics of marine diesels

A 2 days training course for all levels, no previous knowledge is required. 

Adapted for the needs of skippers of sailing boats as motorboats, from coastal sailing to offshore sailing.

What will you learn during this course?

  • That the motor of your boat is a technical item at your reach, no matter your technical background.


  • That you will now do the «running maintenance», rather than wait for a breakdown.


  • That your training for the practical emergency procedures at sea will bring you essential security and serenity.


  • Practical exercises will be done on an engine bench (Volvo, Yanmar) and highlight the technical reality that the skipper will face at sea.

The running of a diesel engine is very similar from a brand to another. As we can’t have all brands in our workshop, don’t hesitate to bring the technical manual and pictures of your engine, so we can answer accurately to your questions.

What I must bring:

  • A camera, my technical handbook if I have it, pictures of my mechanical installation and a notebook.


  • The workshop is not dirty, but it is preferable to wear fit clothes that are not fragile (to avoid being hooked by spinning mechanical items).


  • You can also think of sailing anecdotes to share at lunch. (Which will take place at the local «guinguette»)

Condensed schedule for the 2 days training course

DAY 1 – 9 AM to 12.30 AM

  • Welcoming and presentation of sailors.


  • General theory of diesel engine running operation


  • Review of the different motor circuits (seawater, coolant, oil, diesel, air) and their components.

DAY 1 – 2 PM to 5.30 PM

  • Choice of oil, draining and changing cartridge, pollution control onboard and simplified oil analyses.


  • Change of pump impeller, operation of an anti-syphon elbow, cleaning of an exchanger.


  • Study of the injection circuit, maintenance of the filtration circuit, change of pre-filters and fine filters.


  • Cleaning the diesel pump screen and checking its membrane, re-priming the fuel circuit
  • Checking the solenoid stop valve.

DAY 2 – 9 AM – 12.30 AM

  • Driving the engine and starting it in degraded conditions (Empty battery, loss of keys or destroyed wiring harnesses?)


  • Control of operating parameters (smoke color, pressure, temperature, etc.)


  • Detection, control and replacement of a defective injector.


  • Fault detection logic and emergency intervention.

DAY 2 – 2 PM – 5 PM

  • Motor shaft alignment, maintenance of stuffing box and sail drive or Z drive transmissions, throttle and shuttle adjustments.


  • Adjustment of the rocker arms.


  • Real-life situation exercises: fault-finding on motor benches.


  • Design of an optimal toolbox and individual questions.

Warning, the marine electricity course is often contiguous to the marine diesel mechanic course, so it allows you to attend both courses in a same journey.
Those two courses are very complementary, specifically for the part on marine motor electricity.

Think about it when you make your training program!