Triton Networking continues on the second Wednesday in December with long-time advertiser Maritime Marine, shore power and switchboard specialists.
All Triton readers are welcome to join us for an island-themed event, complete with tropical food and island dancers as we take a tour of Maritime Marine’s relatively new location on Dec. 11 from 6-8 p.m.
Until then, learn more about Maritime Marine from founder Malcolm Parton.
Q. Tell us about Maritime Marine. What do you do?
We are a full service marine electrical company specializing in switchboard installations, automation, shore power converters, designing and repair of other types of electrical systems. We are one of the largest authorized Atlas dealers in the world for shore power converters and switchboards.
We have dockside shore power converter rentals up to 250 KVA. We also specialize in electrical and corrosion surveys.
Q. With several high-profile fires this year, I would think those electrical surveys have become more important.
We have been doing a lot more electrical surveys in this past year. It may be because more boats are selling or because of the notable fires we’ve had. Buyers and captains are seeking this added level of safety.
Skipping an electrical survey on the purchase of a used yacht is not a good idea, since most fires are electrical in nature. We have been the consulting surveyors for new builds this past year, particularly in Italy. I expect that side of the business to continue growing.
Q. Wait, a survey on a new build? If the wiring is ever correct, it’s on a new build, isn’t it?
You would think so, but there can be many errors with the installation. Once the wiring is covered with cabinetry or paneling, it is an unseen threat.
Q. So how does a new build electrical survey work?
Initially, we review the schematics and equipment being installed and offer recommendations. Over the course of the build, we make three visits to the yard. The first stage is to visit the vessel during the wiring “rough in” and critique the installation. The next visit will occur when most of the equipment is installed and connected. This is critical because once the walls go up, further examination becomes difficult and costly. The final visit is for a comprehensive inspection of all aspects of the build including testing operation of the equipment and sea trials.
Q. What’s your background?
I formed Maritime Marine in 1982 as a general marine service company and worked as a one-man band from a small warehouse off Miami Road in Fort Lauderdale. At that time, I was the fixer and installer of everything on a vessel, including engines, generators, air conditioners and fabricating built-in refrigerator/freezers for sailboats.
Many of these trades were self-taught after having lived in the Bahamas for 14 years at Pipe Cay and Staniel Cay. In the 1960s and 70s living in the islands, there was no one to call, so I had to figure it out and fix it myself.
Q. How has the industry changed since those early days, power-wise?
Since the 1980s, the entire marine industry has changed. A 100-foot Broward was considered a big yacht back then and had simple electrical systems. Now, the larger yachts have much more complex electrical systems. Many larger yachts travel to the Mediterranean for the summer and then the Caribbean for the winter. Because they are at the mercy of different power sources, they require shore power converters.
Then, so as not to interrupt the guest’s favorite TV show nor to disrupt the ship’s electronics, there became a demand for “seamless” transfer between power sources. Thus, the automated switchboard evolved with Atlas Marine becoming a leader in this field, along with their converters.
As this industry grew, I was able to narrow my business model to mostly switchboards, converters and other electrical systems. I was fortunate to hire a brilliant technician, Frank Hernandez 19 years ago. He has transformed the company into a high-tech power management systems company. He loves the challenge of problem solving and designing management systems from the ground up.
Q. You have a lot of long-term employees, don’t you?
Most of our technicians are long-term employees, which is unusual in the marine industry. We operate as an employee-friendly business. I was down in the trenches in the early part of my career and admired the bosses that treated me with respect. I want my employees to be part of a happy, challenging environment and not dread coming to work every day.
I do not hesitate to fund any type of continuing education and encourage my employees to invest in themselves and learn as much as possible about the industry. Above all, we want the job done right or not at all. Most are ABYC-certified electricians and/or Atlas certified.
Q. What are the biggest issues or problems you see when you are called onboard for service?
Since we service a great deal of class vessels, it is important to maintain the class wire schedule installed. Invariably, we will find that boat cable has been used instead of class cable by sub-contractors unaware of the difference. It should be the responsibility of the engineer to monitor that these rules are being followed.
Harmonics on the AC electrical systems has now become a bigger issue and must meet new requirements for class. Very few engineers understand the problems generated by harmonics, but we try to educate them and come up with solutions.
Join us on the second Wednesday in December to network with industry veterans at Maritime Marine, 3120 S. Andrews Ave. (33316), from 6-8 p.m. No RSVP necessary; just bring a smile and some business cards. You never know who you might meet at Triton Networking.