Starting ship engines and ship starting are two but similar terms that are usually confused by readers, the two have to totally different meanings and using the wrong keyword while searching could land an internet surfer with results that are contradicting to what he was expecting or was looking for. We will discuss the definition of both the terms and describe the difference to make the difference clear.
Starting ship engines is relatively the same as one would start his car engine with different engine types requiring different ignition systems like direct injection or heater plugs to worm the combustion cylinder before ignition for easy starting. Most ship engines have inbuilt heated water circulation at all times especially when the main or any other engine is switched off. This is a standard procedure to avoid the cooling fluid inside the engine from freezing and damaging the engine while in cold waters.
Since the engine is directly coupled to the ships propeller it means that the vessel must be constrained during the starting process to stop it from uncontrollably crashing in to the port or other vessels. The engine must be started at a very slow revolution known as “dead slow” to prevent it from overpowering the tug boats that are used to constrain the vessel and guide it out or in to a port. Starting ship engines at “dead slow” speed also serves another important purpose, it allows the engine to slowly worm up and circulate lubricating engine oil throughout the engines. Since marine vessel engines are huge they take considerable more time to circulate engine oil and build oil pressure within the engine and starting ship engines at high revolution could lead to permanent engine failure as the engines seize or knock due to lack of oil pressure during the initial engine starting stages.
Ship starting on the other hand would be
referred to as the process of moving the vessel from the docked position and moving the vessel out of the port, this process is usually done by tug boats which move ships that are on dead slow engine speed both in and out of the harbor. Since ships have very limited maneuverability capability, it very important for the tug boats to start the ships movement and align it to a safe exit or entry path while approaching congested harbors or shallow waters. This maneuver also call for the vessels engine to be turned to dead slow to give the tug boats dominance and capability to move the huge vessels. At this stage the engine is never switched off since it may be required for emergency and can be mover to reverse or forward to avert any kind of disaster that may overpower the tugs during the starting procedure.
Starting ship engines and starting are ships are therefore two very different terms that refer to different situations, these have been confused by many who would consider “ship starting” to mean the process of starting the actual ship engine but the term would mean beginning the movement of the vessel while starting ship engines it the actual term that should have been used to describe the situation one was intending to mean.