The style and presentation of engine operation & maintenance manuals should be subject to review and a set of minimum standards agreed and imposed by the relevant classification societies.
Too often engine manufacturers adhere to their own ways, which are not always clear and unambiguous. This could lead to confusion, error and ultimately could compromise the safety of the vessel and crew.
In view of the very high capital cost of marine engines, it is reasonable to expect a set of manuals that cover the “as fitted” installation. This is rather than some generic publication that attempts to include many engine variants and applications, marine and non-marine. It has to be said that the North American manufacturers seem to be guiltier in this respect.
In some cases, the manuals provided are not originals, i.e. they are photocopies sometimes of dubious quality. As a lot of photographs are provided in place of engineering drawings it is often difficult to make out sufficient detail.
In these days of inexpensive desk-top publishing, manufacturers could easily arrange for a bespoke publication to be printed and presented from its database.
CHIRP would like to hear more on this subject before pursuing it further. It is believed that this problem may be more widespread. There are ISM Code issues related to the requirements for “valid” documents (s.11) and maintenance systems (s.10).
The International Association of Classification Societies has produced guidance on manuals. Are owners specifying compliant manuals when ordering equipment?
In the aviation industry manuals are part of the approval process leading to certification and are produced to a standard.