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  • Adam Morris

Learning Marine Diesel Engines with "Marine Diesel Engine Essentials - A Learning and Coloring Book"

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Angie's always on the team solving problems, and not understanding the inner workings of diesel engines meant they were just black boxes — black boxes that I was always often crammed in an engine compartment struggling with by myself.

Angie, not knowing where to start and not having much of a passion for diesel mechanics, was left out.


I had stumbled upon a pretty neat concept from a fellow cruiser, Amanda Swan Neal — a well thought out and innovative adult coloring book called "Marine Diesel Engine Essentials - A Learning and Coloring Book." The "coloring book" part is really just a mask for an artistic way to teach the basics of diesel mechanics. And what a job it does!


Cover of "Marine Diesel Engine Essentials - A Learning and Coloring Book"
Cover of "Marine Diesel Engine Essentials - A Learning and Coloring Book"

Battling the Sea Monsters Inside Our Boat


You might not believe it, but for a long while, we had two sea monsters lurking within the hulls of our dear Connie. It was a creature that we needed to keep tamed for smooth sailing, but monster taming wasn't a required part of her upbringing or schooling.


Angie found herself - trying to face this complex beast at my side with no clue about what made it tick.


Learning Diesel Engines Can be More Interesting than the User Manual


Enter the "Marine Diesel Engine Essentials – A Learning and Coloring Book." Now, before you write off the idea of a coloring book, let me just say that it's not your typical childhood pastime. This is an artistic representation of the main functions of seemingly complex systems and breaks them down into digestible bits — and, yes, it's colorable.

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The book uses an imaginative approach to learning, depicting the engine as a sea monster that needs to breathe, be fed, and cared for. In its portrayal, the air filter becomes the monster's nostrils, the fuel system its digestion, and so on. This creative and accessible method cuts through the jargon and gives learners a comprehensive understanding of these beasts.


Brains of the Sea Monster - The Electrical System
Brains of the Sea Monster - The Electrical System

A Proud Member of the Diesel Troubleshooting Team


From a total novice, Angie became an indispensable part of our boat maintenance and troubleshooting team. She could diagnose problems, suggest solutions, and even argue points with the most experienced of us.


She stopped the crew and I from tearing the fuel system apart when she realized that the engine stop cable was slightly stuck in the closed position (no need to talk about that further...).


Even Sea Monsters Need Lubrication
Even Sea Monsters Need Lubrication

She even once corrected a career diesel mechanic that we happened to sit next to on an airplane – talk about a proud partner moment!


Would I Recommend This Book? Absolutely!


If you or a crew mate are intimidated by your boat's engine, I can definitely recommend the "Marine Diesel Engine Essentials - A Learning and Coloring Book." It's an unconventional, yet effective approach that is both informative and fun. Plus, there's something incredibly soothing about coloring in the lines, even if those lines form a sea monster!


If you've got any other out of the box learning techniques for the boat's systems, drop us a comment. Until next time, may your sea monsters be tame and your journeys be smooth!

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