3rd Class EK General exam help from Martin's Marine Engineering Page

Certification Assistance for Marine Engineers

Canadian Third Class ME 
Engineering Knowledge - General

In Canada, Transport Canada administers the Marine Engineering examination process; visit the Training Page for details on the process. The actual exam consist of nine (9) questions randomly drawn from a question bank of the various subject. Six (only) must be answered in a 3.5hrs time frame. The exam questions are similar to these, presented below, and are drawn heavily from similar question in the Reed's Marine Engineering series of books. 
Brought to you by www.dieselduck.net comments to webmaster@dieselduck.net
Transport Canada has ask us to advise users of this webpage to keep in mind that these questions are not the exact questions found in their exams. Martin's Marine Engineering Page - www.dieselduck.net is not affiliated with Transport Canada and these questions have been gathered from various sources.
Encountered in April 2015- Thanks AT
  1. What is meant by vacuum in a condenser? How is vacuum falling ? Explain the condenser in detail.
  2.  Explain Co2 flooding system on a ship, procedure of operation, sketch and describe.
  3. Importance of maintaining boiler water density and how it is measured, treatment.
  4. Propeller removal procedure during dry-dock, explain in detail.
  5. Sketch and describe, rudder and rudder carrier bearing, explain how the weight of the rudder is supported? How is the movement of rudder restricted?
  6. Describe a thermometer? How will you know if it is Fahrenheit or Celsius if there is no specific marking of any unit?
  7. Name the all the type of boilers you are aware of used in motor ships and steam ships? What is normal water level, low water level, heating surface? Explain.
  8. Explain bilge injection system, which pump is used for this purpose? Procedure of operation.
  9. Explain DC generator switch board fittings, and safeties provided.
Encountered in January 2014 - Thanks ML
  1. safe procedure for blowing down a boiler and type of valves used
  2. explain all fittings on a dc generator
  3. describe all firefighting equipment found in a machinery space with a boiler
  4. how to blow down boiler gauge glass and how to replace it if it were plugged
  5. how to safely enter a boiler if connected to another boiler while it was in use
  6. how water and moisture effects electrical equipment and what precautions are made to prevent it
  7. how lube oils and fuels are stored, what hazard the vapors cause and how they are prevented
  8. what instrument is used to measure vacuum, describe it and explain where it is fitted on pump system
  9. explain procedure for entering confined space such as fuel tanks or cofferdams
Questions encountered in April 2012 - Thanks GJ
  1. when testing the boiler gauge glass you discover the column is plugged. What would you do? If the gauge glass was plugged what would you do?
  2. state the methods and precautions for blowing down and opening up a boiler for entry the following day. The boiler is connected to another boiler that is on line
  3. describe the provisions for keeping seawater from entering the stern of a ship. How would you replace packing if the ship is afloat. What special arrangements are in place to do this.
  4. How is vacuum measured? Describe a suitable gauge. Why are combination vacuum and pressure gauges fitted on the suction side of some pumps?
  5. Describe the installation for blowing down a boiler. What stops one from backing up into another boiler in line?
  6. what are the dangers of gas or vapours accumulating in the engine room and other confined spaces? How do they accumulate and how are they dispersed?
  7. list and state the purpose of all instruments and fittings on a DC generator. What meters are used to determine output and how is it calculated?
  8. how are electrical appliances and equipment effected by moisture and water? What care and attention What care must be taken with ventilation trunking in the vicinity of generators and motors?
  9. list all fire extinguishing equipment in the engine room state the type of fire each would be used on and maintenance.

Other questions encountered…

  • Rudder stock
  • Steering quadrant
  • Soda acid extinguisher
  • Describe a smoke alarm
Encountered in March 2012 - thanks LK
  1. Describe a steering gear that you are familiar with, what type of tests would you do prior to departure from port?
  2. Sketch and describe a magnetic oil filter, where would this be located in the system and why, list some advantages of this type of filter, and what would you look for when servicing and why?
  3. Sketch and describe a water lubricated stern tube. How is the lignum vitae attached? Describe design features… etc.
  4. How are start air system explosions prevented, and how are they caused. Describe ways to eliminate the hazard.
  5. Why would a boiler flame go out? Describe the steps you would take to relight the flame.
  6. Sketch and describe a centrifugal pump suitable for FW supply. Describe the various parts and give material types of the components and their features.
  7. Sketch and describe a complete start/control air system giving the pressures.
  8. Sketch and describe a start air valve, why is their maintenance critical. What are these typically fitted with?
  9. Describe the difference between a fire tube and water boiler, list the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Matt sent us these question he had in an examination, Dec 2011. Thanks.
  1. What are the steering test before sailing
  2. How to put steam into pipe? what is water hammer and its effects

  3. Surface condenser

  4. How to measure air pressure

  5. Scum and bottom blow down valves on boiler

  6. Explosion in air start line.


JS shares these questions on a EK exam he encountered in Aug 2009. He writes "I cant remember the exact detail of the questions, but this is the essence of each question."

1 sketch and describe a easing gear, purpose and how it works

2 How are boiler stays fitted to a boiler

3 You are handed over a watch of a boiler online, what would you do to ensure that the boiler is working safety

4 Why are fuses fitted to electrical circuits, what will happen if the fuse was replaced with one of a higher rating

5 Sketch and describe a stern tube for a single screw vessel

6 sketch and describe a gear wheel pump, what is it used for and how it works

7 Procedure for entering a boiler for inspection when another boiler online

8 sketch and describe a screw down globe valve

9 sketch and describe the feed system between the condenser ot hot well to the boiler.


1. Define volt, ampere, ohm, watt, electrical horsepower. Define Ohm's Law.

2. Define combustion. What part does air play in combustion, and what are the requirements for good combustion?

3. Describe in detail how to test a water gauge of the hollow column type.

4. Sketch and describe a bilge pumping arrangement. What is a bilge injection? Where is it placed and how is it used?

5. Define IHP and RHP, giving a brief description of the methods employed to find them.

6. What is meant by the pitch of a propeller? If a ship were in drydock, how would you check the propeller pitch?

7. Describe a rudder as fitted on a steamship or motorship. Show in detail how the rudder is supported. How is wear down measured and remedied? How are the quadrant and tiller fitted?

8. Name all the cocks and valves on a donkey boiler, suitable for operating auxiliary machinery. State their uses and where located. How is the boiler blown down in preparation for entering and cleaning?

9. How is a fuel tank prepared for cleaning. Describe precautions and tests necessary before workmen are allowed to enter the tank.

10. The brushes are staggered on a DC Generator. What is meant by this? How is it done and what advantage is gained by doing it? What are earths and grounds. Make a sketch showing how the earth lamps are fitted. What information do they give?

11. A fire breaks out on the tank tops and bilges in the engine room of an oil fired vessel. What type of extinguisher would you use, and what is its principle of action? What other steps would you take to control the fire? What precautions are taken to prevent such fires?

12. Sketch and describe a centrifugal pump. State the materials from which the various parts are made, and the purpose for which this pump is used on board ship.

13. Describe in detail an electrical generator as used on board ship. What is the usual method of fitting it on board ship, and why should this be so?

14. Describe in detail a foam type fire extinguisher as fitted in the boiler room of a coal burning steamer. Explain how it operates and how it is charged.

15. Describe a pressure gauge. Where is it fitted and what care and maintenance is required?

16. Define viscosity, specific gravity, and flash point. How are they obtained? Give the flash points of fuel oil, diesel oil, kerosene, gasoline.

17. Describe a fuel oil storage tank with all its fittings. (Double bottom type)

18. Describe a fuel oil settling tank with all its fittings.

19. Describe a Davey Lamp, and state how it is used in a fuel oil tank and in a ballast tank.

20. What is a short in an electrical circuit, and how is it traced?

21. Describe the construction and operation of a dynamo. Explain series, shunt and compound windings.

22. The bearings of a crankshaft have been re-installed. Describe in the proper sequence how you would proceed to re-fit-the crankshaft so that it would be in true alignment vertically and longitudinally.

23. Describe a safety valve in detail with all its fittings.

24. Describe the construction and operation of a telemotor.

25. Describe the construction and operation of a barometer and a thermometer.

26. Of what material are the following parts of a marine engine made, and why is this material used? Crankshaft; thrust shaft; cylinder; cylinder liner; piston; piston rod; connecting rod; main bearing; bedplate.

27. Describe the purpose of a voltmeter and an ammeter in the electrical circuit. How are they fitted in the circuit?

28. Describe all the fire fighting equipment carried on an oil burning vessel on deck and in the engine room,

29. Describe how a fuel oil tank is fitted in a wooden vessel, giving details of the construction of the tank, and the fittings on the tank. What is the purpose of wire gauge diaphragms?

30. Describe a thrust shaft and thrust block. What would be the effect on the engine if the thrust block became loose on its seating? How is the thrust block secured in the vessel?

31. Describe a hydraulic or a steam steering gear.

32. How are the following fuels prepared for combustion: Gasoline; Kerosene; Diesel Oil?

33. Sketch the connections of an electrical switchboard, showing switch, fuses, instruments, and ground lamps.

34. Describe how you would line up the shafting from engine to propeller, when the vessel was afloat. Describe how you would fit a propeller when the vessel was in drydock. What are the duties of an engineer when the vessel is in drydock?

35. Describe the construction and action of a reducing valve. State where this valve is used and how it is adjusted.

36. Describe how to start up a dynamo and put it on the switchboard; also take the dynamo off the board.

37. Describe a power steering gear that you are familiar with. How is the rudder returned to the midship position?

38. Describe a four pole compound wound motor. How would you restore the motors polarity if it were lost?

39. Describe a freon compressor. How would you detect a leak?

40. List the materials and the reason for these materials in boilers, connecting rods, water column, propellers, and shaft, and steam pipes.

41. How is the rotary motion of the crankshaft transmitted to the propeller? What is the function of the thrust block?

42. What is the cause of wear down of a tail shaft? How is it measured? What would you do if wear down was excessive?

43. Name all the fittings on a donkey boiler and where they are placed. How would you blow down the boiler?

44. Describe the telemotor as used in hydraulic steering gear. How is the telemotor charged?

I found these exams and digitized them in April 2002. The format and the questions suggest they are not current. Nonetheless, you may find them handy in jogging loose a few ideas to study. 


Test 1

1. Describe any type of steam steering gear you are familiar with.
2. Describe a “bourdon” steam pressure gauge, and also a barometer.
3. Describe a dynamo as used on board ship. What is meant by shunt., series, and compound windings.
4. Explain how you would test the water gauge.(hollow colum type).
5. Describe an air compressor suitable for supplying starting air for a diesel engine.

Test 2

1. Explain how you would test the water gauge (hollow column type).
2. What fire precautions are necessary in the engine room of an oil-fired vessel? Describe a fire extinguisher you are familiar with.
3. What is meant by the flash point of oil? How is it found? Give the flash point of diesel oil and gasoline.
4. Describe a bilge injection. What is its purpose and how is it connected? What type of valve is fitted in a bilge manifold and why?
5. Describe any type of power steering gear you are familiar with.

Test 3

1. Explain how you would test the water gauge (hollow column type).
2. How is a fuel tank prepared for inspection, and what precautions are taken before entering the tank?
3. Describe the construction and operation of a four pole D.C. generator, What could cause the generator to reverse it’s polarity?
4. How much wear down is allowed on a 10 inch tail shaft? What would be the danger of excessive wear down? How is it measured and how rectified?
5. How is a fuel talnk fitted and secured in a wooden vessel? Name all the fittings on the tank.

Test 4

1. Explain how you would test the water gauge (hollow column type).
2. Enumerate all the valves and fittings on a donkey boiler used for auxiliary power in a motor ship, giving their function and position.
3. Define flash point, fire point, viscosity, and state how they are determined.
4. Give definitions for volt, ampere, ohm, watt, kilowatt and Electrical Horsepowers
5. Describe a ship's rudder. Describe the various pintles. How is the weight supported? What Provisions are made to absorb the shock of heavy seas striking the rudder?

Test 5

1. Explain how you would test the water gauge (hollow column type).
2. Describe a stern tube for a single screw steel vessels, and explain how it is fitted and secured. How is the stern bearing secured?
3. Define volts ampere, and ohm. Explain Ohm's Law.
4. Describe a governor for a dynamo engine. Why is it used and what could happen if it became defective?
5. What materials are used in the following and why are they used?
6. Cylinders, liners, piston rings, piston rods and connecting rods, main bearings, crankshafts propeller shafts.

Test 6

1. Explain how you would test the water guage (hollow column type).
2. In connection with fuel oil, define flash point, fire point, and viscosity, and state how each is determined.
3. Describe a C02 smothering system. How is it installed? What safety precautions are taken in it’s use.
4. How is a propeller fitted to a shaft and secured, so that it will not work loose at sea?
5. What are the various causes of fire and explosion in internal combustion engines? What precautions are taken to prevent them?

Test 7

1. Explain how you would to.test the water guage (hollow column type).
2. What inspection of propeller, shaft, and rudder should be carried out when a vessel is in drydock. What defects might be found and how could they be corrected?
3. Describe a DC compound wound generator and state what care and maintenance this machine requires. What happens when in increase in load is put on this machine?
4. Describe the bed-plate for a diesel engine, and explain how it is secured in the ships
5. Describe a thrust block and explain how it is fastened in the ship.

Test 8

1. Exlain how you would test the water guage (hollow column type).
2. Describe a main injection valve as fitted to the ships side. Describe in detail how it is fitted, it’s position, and the materials used 
3. What would cause the white metal to crack in a bottom end bearing? Describe in detail how you would fit a bottom end bearing on a steam or Diesel engine; giving clearances.
4. Describe how you wovld test fuel oil and lubricating oil to detect the presence of water. How would you separate the water from the oil? What could happen if this were not done?
5. What is an electrical conductor? An insulator? What materials are used as conductors and insulators?

Test 9 

1. Name all the fire appliances found on a motor ship. Describe the construction of a foam type fire extinguisher. How is this extinguisher re-charged?
2. Describe the function and construction of a voltmeter and ammeter. Show by means of a sketch how they are connected to a switchboard.
3. Describe a stern tube, fitted with a “cerdevall” stern gland. What must be done with this gland at sea and in port?
4. Describe the construction of a welded steel fuel tank. Name all the fittings and state their purpose. How is gauze wire fitted and what is it’s purpose?
5. Explain how you would test the water gauge (hollow column type).

Brought to you by www.dieselduck.net comments to webmaster@dieselduck.net
Transport Canada has ask us to advise users of this webpage to keep in mind that these questions are not the exact questions found in their exams. Martin's Marine Engineering Page - www.dieselduck.net is not affiliated with Transport Canada and these questions have been gathered from various sources.