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In all our passage maker range we provide a centrally located engine room. They are spacious areas with full headroom. Our experience in the design of many motor yachts, trawlers, ocean going and harbour tugs has taught us the importance of an uncluttered engine room with a logical and accessible arrangement of piping and machinery; this is what you will find in these vessels.

For essential services, reliability and redundancy is the aim in our choice of equipment. This applies in particular to the main propulsion, bilge pumping, fuel transfer, electrical operation, steering gear and cooling water supply.

We always contain the engine room between two water tight bulkheads; with “walk down” access via a gastight door, always from the deck above never through a bulkhead. This is to maintain the watertight integrity of the bulkhead at all times. Also it is an arrangement that offers superior advantages ergonomically.

Being mid-ship means the engine room is located in the beamiest and deepest part of the vessel. This allows room for all machinery, equipment and systems required for the operation of the vessel to be contained in one space. There are no important pieces secreted away in poor access locations amongst the accommodation spaces, inevitably to be deprived of maintenance until a problem arises.

engine room layout

The drawing above shows a plan view of the engine room of our W79Expedition Yacht. All main items of machinery have “walk around” access; we apply this same rule right down to our smallest vessel the W48.

Also, we would never have an engine room without providing head room; that is just too hard to work in and provides much less enjoyment in what is, or should be one of the more interesting spaces in the vessel. It becomes a joy to clean and maintain equipment if the ergonomics; specifically headroom, are not ignored.

engine room bulkhead

Aft E.R watertight bulkhead, where space is reserved for electrical; switch boards, cable trays and inverter/chargers. Electrical takes up a lot territory which should always be “grouped” for monitoring!

engine room bulkhead

Forward E.R watertight bulkhead is reserved for services; water maker, fresh water pressure sets, distribution and discharge pipe work and hydraulics.

Finally and of highest importance, we believe in simplicity in the propulsion system; a propeller shaft coupled to the engine at one end and a propeller at the other. “Zed” drives, hydraulic drives and diesel electric options are not new technology and aside from seriously increased cost, have shown, during our 60 years of observation and experience in power boat design, construction and operation, to be just too unreliable in the long term and should be confined to those applications where they were originally intended; harbour tugs and for Zed drives; sail boats where duty cycles are short. Cruising should not require forward planning to find a mechanic, hydraulic engineer or other such expert in the next port or marina.

The mid ship arranged engine room in all but our W48 model also provides a natural separation between the owner’s stateroom and guest cabins which is ideal for both privacy and comfort. In our W48 it provides for a huge storeroom which is a bonus for extended cruising.

engine room

The engine room of the W48; plenty of access space around each machine and full head room. The only operating items below the floor plates are the seacocks.

Watson 48 engine room

Watson 48 engine room

Always important in any vessel is the ability to remove major machinery items in one piece. Engines break down, wear out and become obsolete; not always, but usually all at the same time. It is ludicrous to attempt to rebuild an engine inside an engine room, something that is realized very quickly once an attempt is made to do so. It can be done, however the time lost and subsequent cost due to an inefficient working environment, along with the inconvenience of having tradesmen traipsing in and out of a private vessel makes for misery.

As a matter of course we always provide a path out of the vessel that is sized to fit the largest piece of machinery; usually the main engine. As our engine room has both steel bulkheads and deck head this is easily done by providing a “soft spot”, a bolted down plate that can be removed allowing access, usually up to the saloon above.

Watson 72 engine room

The procedure is not difficult. The engine can be unbolted from its mounts and maneuvered to a position under this hatch and lifted by a pair of chain blocks until it is sitting in the saloon. It can then be rolled out of the aft saloon door onto the deck for removal back to a mechanics shop where it can be rebuilt, run on a Dyno and tested. How long does this take? We replaced an engine that was found to have a manufacturers casting fault discovered after 400 hours which took two men less than two days to remove and replace with a new engine. This can of course be done while the vessel is in the water.

Last Updated (Saturday, 29 August 2020 03:14)