Privates Fredricks (left) and Thomas (right)
A section of engineers trained and certified during Phase I of Exercise Tradewinds 2018
Privates Fredricks (left) and Thomas (right)

Coast Guard Unit engineers certified to repair Mercury outboard engines

From SKNIS

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Three engineers from the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force (SKNDF) Coast Guard Unit are now fully certified and equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to diagnose issues and repair Mercury outboard engines.

The trio of privates – Shaquille Fredricks, Tristan Thomas and Romain Stanley – received their official certifications from representatives of the Mercury Headquarters in Florida, U.S.A., during Phase I of Exercise Tradewinds 2018, which was held in St. Kitts and Nevis June 4-12.

Midshipman and Engineering Officer Lenn Daniel of the SKNDF Coast Guard Unit explained the practical need for the institution to have officers certified as Mercury repair men. “The main purpose of having Mercury-certified engineers is to overcome the issues that surround warranty due to the fact that we do not have a Mercury dealer on the island,” he said. “Our fast response vessels are fitted with Mercury engines, which are very sensitive and expensive equipment that require specially trained personnel to work on. We do have qualified outboard motor engineers; however, Mercury requires all engineers working on equipment under warranty to be certified by their organizations’ standards. Therefore, these certifications will eliminate the need for having a dealer fly into the country to deal with minor issues that can easily be resolved by one of our own qualified engineers.”

Private Fredricks noted that the training was important and extremely useful given that it broadened his knowledge and skills. “The training became useful because I had little knowledge of the Mercury engines, but after the week and three days of doing the training, I got a lot more knowledge,” he said. “I learnt about how to use the computer that diagnoses the engines when they have mechanical and sensor problems,” he said. He added that the facilitator was quite clear and ensured that participants fully understood what was taught.

Private Thomas said that the training was a good reminder for him as he undertook the basic course in Barbados prior to participating in Exercise Tradewinds 2018. He shared his views on having certified engineers living and working in St. Kitts and Nevis. “It is really useful to me to say that we have Mercury engines and now qualified [people] to work on them,” he said. “First thing the facilitators did was to make sure that we knew the engine parts as it was the most important thing, so that if we are called upon to assist, we will know what to do.” He note that he had an exceptional time during the exercise: “The experience and the friendships were rewarding and they do impart some great training that affords us the opportunity to return to our place of work and teach others.”

Based on feedback from members of the SKNDF Coast Guard Unit directly involved in all maritime tracks, the events appeared to be very well organized and exercises executed exceptionally well. To date, the United States government through its embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, has donated a total of 14 Mercury outboard engines to SKNDF’s Coast Guard Unit for use on the Coast Guard interceptors.