By Dorie Cox
Recent hands-on training at Wesmar added confidence to the skills of the diesel hydraulic department teams at Bradford Marine. Four employees from Bradford’s Fort Lauderdale yard and two from the Bahamas yard attended a Wesmar dealer mechanic seminar in mid-August in Woodinville, Washington near Seattle.
The team learned to tear down, rebuild and install Wesmar stabilizers, thrusters and sonar, according to Ben Denman, diesel hydraulic shop supervisor at Bradford Marine in Fort Lauderdale. With a focus on installation, operation and troubleshooting, a highlight for Denman was the chance to learn to integrate the DSP5000, a system that “overrides existing systems to modernize old systems.”
“We tore apart a whole bow thruster and stabilizer and we did the electrical – the whole system,” Denman said. “I thought the DSP5000 was coolest thing out of the class.”
The equipment works well for older yachts, he said.
“And lots of yachts have old crappy systems where you can’t replace the boards,” he said. “They are obsolete. You have to pull them out and start from zero. This allows you to not worry about old boards.”
Although the technicians were familiar with much of what they learned before the class, Denman, a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, is an advocate of advanced training and said it helped everyone on several levels.
“In the military, I was always training and I’m used to training,” he said. “A lot of these guys haven’t had that. This is a good experience. It helps with everything and increases loyalty.”
Denman said he runs, “a tight shop, and there was so much to learn” at the event. He is grateful the work enhanced the group’s teamwork skills. Now, the Bahamas and Fort Lauderdale teams will work together even better for future jobs, he said. Plus, the company is now a certified Wesmar representative.
“Now the Bahamas knows what we do,” Denman said. “We have the specialty tools and can work with the Bahamas, as they have the big lift,” he said of the 1,200-ton dry dock.
The Bradford team won several fun events, including cornhole toss, and had time to tour Seattle’s Space Needle and other tourist sites.
“We shaped up our skills and learned the real way,” Denman said. “It was a good team-building event.”
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.