Watchkeeping under different conditions and in different areas – Clear weather , In costal waters,Restricted visiblity , During ocean passages

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Clear weather

  The officer in charge of the navigational watch shall take frequent and accurate compass bearings of approaching ships as a means of early detection of risk of collision and shall bear in mind that such risk may sometimes exist even when an appreciable bearing change is evident; particularly when approaching a very large ship or a tow or when approaching a ship at close

range. The officer in charge of the navigational watch shall also take early and positive action in compliance with the applicable International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, as amended and subsequently check that such action is having the desired effect.

   In clear weather, whenever possible, the officer in charge of the navigational watch shall carry out radar practice.

WATCHKEEPING IN COASTAL WATERS

□ Plan ahead before taking over the watch

□ Check the track, compass errors and courses

□ Check the compass error at least once a watch

□ Make keeping a lookout the priority

□ Assess risk of collision and take action if necesarys

□ Fix the ship at regular intervals, if practicable

□ Fix more frequently in confined waters

□ Call the Master before a potentially dangerous situation becomes critical

□ Observe changes in the weather

□ Study the chart and expect to find new landmarks before they are seen

□ Maintain situational awareness, particularly if the ship has to deviate

widely to avoid traffic

□ Be prepared to use the engines, if necessary, to ensure adequate sea room

□ Be prepared to call a lookout to the bridge if necessary

□ Be prepared to call a helmsman to the bridge if necessary

NAVIGATION IN RESTRICTED VISIBILITY

When restricted visibility is encountered or expected, the first responsibility of the O.O.W. is to comply with the relevant rules of the applicable regulations for preventing collisions at sea, with particular regard to the sounding of fog signals, proceeding at a safe speed and having the engines ready for immediate manoeuvres.  In addition, he should:

•          Inform the Master;

•          Place the engines on standby;

•          Post a proper lookout and helmsman and, in congested or coastal waters,   revert to hand steering immediately;

•          Ensure that navigation lights are exhibited;

•          Operate and use the radar;

•          Close water tight doors if applicable;

•          Obtain visual position if possible prior entering reduced visibility.

•          Checklist (for restricted visibility) shall be completed and a log entry

          made.

Watchkeeping inrestricted visibility

When restrictedvisibility is encountered or expected, the first responsibility of the officerin charge of the navigational watch is to comply with the relevant rules of theInternational Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, as amendedwith particular regard to the sounding of fog signals, proceeding at a safespeed and having the engines ready for immediate manoeuvre.

In addition, the officer in charge of the navigational watch shall:

1) inform the master;

2) post a proper lookout;

3) exhibit navigation lights; and

4) operate and use the radar.

Watchkeeping in hours of darkness

The master and the officer in charge of the navigational watch, when arranging lookout duty, shall have due regard to the bridge equipment and navigational aids available for use, their limitations, procedures and safeguards implemented.

Watchkeeping in coastal and congested waters

The largest scale chart on board, suitable for the area and corrected with the latest available information, shall be used. Fixes shall be taken at frequent intervals, and shall be carried out by more than one method whenever circumstances allow. When using ECDIS, appropriate usage code (scale) electronic navigational charts shall be used and the ship’s position shall be

checked by an independent means of position fixing at appropriate intervals.

The officer in charge of the navigational watch shall positively identify all relevant navigation marks.

WATCHKEEPING DURING OCEAN PASSAGES

“Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and the risk of collision”.

In clear weather a visual search of the sea area around the ship is the quickest and most certain way of keeping a look out. Having detected a ship it is useful to verify its distance on the radar.

In restricted visibility the reverse process is more effective where the target will be identified first on radar and then looked for by eye to check its heading and collision threat.