David Voorden heads off close competition to show he’s the best of the best when it comes to fixing outboard engines

A NSW-based marine mechanic has won Mercury’s technician of the year title for Australia and New Zealand.

David Voorden, from Leisure Coast Marine in Fairy Meadow, outside Wollongong, won after he and five other finalists had to diagnose and repair faults in 45hp, 115hp and 135hp fuel-injected outboard engines within 45 minutes.

The technicians had to verify the fault at Mercury Marine’s Melbourne-based headquarters, isolate the failed system and component, repair or replace the faulty component and then test the repair. Competitors were awarded points for process and speed.

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Voorden held a narrow six-point lead over second-placed Joshua Kammann-Smith from Queensland’s Rifen Marine, and eight points over third-placed Garry Watson from WA-based Midway Marine to take the top spot in the annual competition.

Prized posession

He has won a 60hp Mercury outboard – ironic given that he doesn’t yet own a boat.

“When they announced third and second place-getters, I thought ‘bugger, I’ve missed out’,” Voorden said. “Then they announced I’d won and it was a real surprise, a shock.”

“I go out a lot in my father-in-law’s boat and my brother-in-law has a boat as well, so maybe one of them will get a nice Christmas present.”

The competition, in its second year, started with qualified technicians competing at a regional level in NSW, Vic, Qld, SA, WA and New Zealand before moving through to the final.

Regional winners included Cam Williams from Stihl Shop, NZ; Craig Bell from Hodge Marine in SA; and Andrew Chopping from Sealand Marine in Victoria.