Tales from the Galleys
Marine installation is truly a specialist’s specialty. It means working in squeaky-tight spaces while trying to fit square-peg products never meant for ocean use into round holes—sometimes, quite literally. Add the unrelenting factors of time, temperature and the other
violent variables, and the complexity grows exponentially.
It’s not for the faint of heart. Three marine integrators shared their unique perspectives on the challenges of installation in the galleys.
Electronic Integrations • Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. • www.eifla.com
Owner and President Jeff Wheeler says that besides possessing the skills and experience required for success on land, it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of sea background. “I was a boat captain and a boat engineer for several years,” he says, “and kind of evolved into the A/V business. I grew up with it. My father was head of a custom electronics business. So the two things just came together.”
Three of every four installs he does are yacht-related but the fourth is in the home; he knows enough about residential to make a comparison. “One of the biggest differences between residential and marine is the amount of labor it takes to do one single system. In a house, you just put everything on a shelf and walk away. If we did that on a boat, it’d all end up in the middle of the floor,” he says. Besides setting up gear with an eye toward fending off the vibrations from a constantly variable “quake” situation, there are the matters of sea air, sea water and sea salt—none of which are very forgiving of delicate audio, video and control equipment that wasn’t built to be damp.
One of Wheeler’s projects involved a 32-inch Sharp LCD TV mounted in a pop-up configuration on a boat’s bridge. “You can’t just take any lift that’s manufactured and put it on a boat,” he says. “It will just turn to a piece of rust. What you need to do is use lifts made of materials that are compatible with the environment—aluminum or stainless steel, primarily.” Trickier still was protecting the components and display panels. “A lot of what we do as a CI is come up with ways to adapt these products to the environment by making special covers. We’ve done some innovative things to keep the stuff alive. You also have to educate the customer that it’s probably not going to last forever, that it will need to be changed out and that they should carry spare parts because it’s a harsh environment.”