Who is this mysterious Kevin character anyway?

Kevin White

From chief engineer to business development manager.

Kevin White has a whole plethora of letters after his name, building a maritime engineering career spanning some 20 years. Kevin joined OceanWeb back in July 2020 after deciding to hang up the overalls and return to terra firma. Having spent most of his working life on board superyachts, Kevin is no stranger to the industry. He comes with a wealth of knowledge only a seasoned mariner would have. Kevin’s experience, qualifications, and personable character make him the ideal candidate to speak with our yachting clients as he can personally relate to many of the issues they face.

We took advantage of the recent reopening of borders between the Isle of Man and UK, and invited Kevin over to our little gem in the Irish Sea to finally meet the rest of the team in person. During Kevin’s visit, we sat him down to find out more about his experience at sea. And asked what advice he’d offer a budding seafarer.

What it means to be “busy busy”.

Kevin leads by explaining to me what it really means to be busy when you’re out at sea. Not busy like you’re still working at your desk past 7pm, he means “busy busy” like your head’s just hit the pillow after a long day on shift and all of a sudden, you’ve got the second engineer on the phone telling you the sh*t has really hit the proverbial fan; you’ve got engine failure, and the captain’s asking if it’s necessary to turn back. This particular night he’s telling me about, they had a burst pipe leaking coolant all over the engine room and had to shut one of the engines down in order to fix it.

“We solved the leak with a jimmy rig, and then had to wait to open the engine up to fill it with coolant – you have to wait for the thing to cool down. You can’t just take the radiator cap off; you know what I mean?”

They’re halfway to Sardinia and the captain needs to know if it’s possible to keep going. It’s at times like these that all eyes are on you, as chief engineer, to make the judgement call. This, Kevin assures me, is what busy really means.

At other times things can be more relaxed, and you get to see a completely different side to the industry. In another story, Kevin fondly recalls a trip down to Mykonos, when his daughter was invited to join them after completing her O-levels.

“It was just for the ride really, but they gave her a few jobs to do, and a t-shirt and she just loved it.”

It sounds like a dream – it’s not every job that affords you the opportunity to sail through the Straits of Messina with your daughter!

Kevin on tender

A unique life.

The key takeaway of Kevin’s tales is that unless you’ve lived it yourself, you can’t possibly imagine the trials and tribulations of life on board a superyacht. Whether its guests complaining about their cabin temperature, last-minute route changes from the owner, or being sent onshore to measure up a potential new tender, there’s seemingly no limit to what might be expected from the chief engineer. During the charter seasons engineers work a shift system, with two 4-hour watches daily and an 8-hour break in between. A break, which, Kevin explains, could – and often does – face numerous interruptions for a myriad of reasons.

The value of experience.

Despite over 20 years supporting the yachting industry there’s always so much more to learn. It’s clear to see that the advantage Kevin’s experience has brought to the OceanWeb team is immeasurable. His in-depth knowledge has helped us to refine our products and services to better suit the needs of our clients; providing a unique perspective to ensure we’re delivering exactly what’s required. As someone who has walked in the shoes of our clients, he can make suggestions, provide advice, and offer solutions that he knows to be effective through his own experience. Kevin’s insider knowledge means he truly understands where the pain points are and what can be done to fix them.

Lunch with OceanWeb

Kevin’s experience goes beyond the engine room. He’s managed onshore businesses for himself and others; worked in the construction industry for almost 6 years; and even operated a dive school in the Red Sea. But it’s the life of a mariner that appealed the most, regardless of the long periods away from home. When asked what advice he’d give to anyone looking to get into yachting, Kevin is quick to respond:

“You need to remember it’s a profession, not just a job. There are lots of qualifications you need to get, you need to have a plan and you
need to recognise that it’s a career, not just a holiday.”

Sound advice to anyone looking to start their journey towards a career at sea!

For more guidance on how to get the most out of your yachting experience, Kevin is available to answer questions and offer suggestions either by calling the main office number here at OceanWeb HQ, via email at kevin.white@oceanweb.com, or by connecting through LinkedIn. Get in touch today to find out more about what OceanWeb can do for you.