What is steam boiler? [Video Lesson]

A boiler is a closed-pressure vessel in which water is heated to generate steam. A marine auxiliary boiler is designed to suit the marine environment for uninterrupted steam supply which is critical for running the main engine, generators, and other auxiliary machinery.


Steam supplied by the auxiliary boiler is used for heating fuel systems of the main engine and auxiliary engine, fuel tanks, and purification systems. It also supplies steam for domestic hot water systems and air conditioning for accommodation areas.


As a watchkeeping engineer, you should be able to operate the boiler, monitor the parameters, and rectify faults. From the examination point of view classification of boilers, their construction, feedwater system, combustion system, maintenance carried out in boiler burners, and waste heat recovery system requires more attention.


Watch this Video Lesson on how marine boiler works


Use of Steam on Ships

The steam generated from the auxiliary boilers on the motor ships is utilized:

  • For ME Fuel oil heater, Purifier heater, Oil tank heating, Air conditioning & heating plant, Purifier/Calorifier, Galley supply; sea-chests, tracer lines for pipeline heating, etc.
  • To run Turbine Generators
  • To run Cargo pump turbines in Tankers
  • To drive steam-driven deck machinery like winches etc.
  • To operate bilge, stripping, and other steam-driven pumps
  • To drive boiler feed pump turbines
  • To evaporator/Freshwater generator heating media
  • For tank washing in tanker ships and general cleaning
  • For boiler Soot blowing and for the steam atomized burners
  • For firefighting as used in steam smothering system
  • To be used as preheater in J.C.W and heating Lube oil tanks
  • to use in an incinerator, slop tank, and cargo tank heating.

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