Survey responses for watch duty onboard

May 6, 2013 by Lucy Chabot Reed

A few more descriptions of what crew are to do while on watch:

Underway watch. Primary Watchkeeper: eyes out the windshields, eyes on the navigation and other pilothouse electronics, paper charts, gauges and equipment. Running log entries every hour on the hour and engine room checks and log entries every hour on the half hour.
Secondary Watchkeeper: eyes out the windshields the majority of time. Take over primary watchkeeper duties while primary is in engine room. On my boat, being on watch means you are there to watch, listen and act accordingly for someone who is in charge of the navigation and safety of the yacht and all of those on board. You are not there to read, play games, put headphones on and listen to music, etc. You are there to watch. You can’t watch and read at the same time.

Anchor watch. Awake, in pilothouse, monitoring position-indicating equipment, and eyes out the windows. Different anchoring locations and situations vary the intensity of the watch required from full stand by, ready to start engines at any time to being allowed to doze in pilothouse when alarms set to wake you if boat moves more than a pre-determined distance from a set location (that is, the anchor is dragging.

Continual lookout underway, regular position fixing (with greater frequency inside 5 miles from land or hazard), regular watchman rotations (at least hourly) underway, at anchor or alongside with associated log entries. Maintain radio watch. Log vessel progress, check weather and atmospheric conditions at least hourly. Cleaning and maintenance also performed on watch, provided it does not interfere with the above.

Underway watch. Wheelhouse safe navigation and vessel checks. Anchor watch. Hourly check of position and surroundings, tenders, etc. Daily watch. Each 24-hour period, one crew is responsible for safety, security, integrity and vessel cleanliness.

Look out for anything that needs the attention of the captain. For example, while under way, the deckhands will call me if another boat is within four miles, while at anchor if the boat moves more than 80 meters from the original anchor spot.

We have four crew and we have a set plan and settings for radars. Situations are rehearsed and followed to “there is no grey area”. This way, everyone is more confident and when night travel or weather is bad, then the system in place helps eliminate any issues on watch or, more important, while resting, sleeping.

Underway watch. Lookout duties, engine room and safety checks on decks and at beach door, plotting, assisting licensed watch keepers. Anchor watch. Plotting, radar and visual watch for dragging anchor, personnel watch while in water or for tender operations, ER checks. Logging nav and weather reports. Dockside/Fire watch. Greet personnel for work, safety and security ensuring doors are closed and un-needed electrical shut down. On the hard watch. Security and check work personnel aboard, ensure vessel is still plugged into grey and black lines for discharge, notify captain and engineer if issues arise.

Be aware. For the simple sake of our complimentary means, sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing, simply put. If the bilge were flooding, a taste of the water to see if it is salt or fresh would distinguish between internal or external flooding.

Standing watch means being alert and responsible. It requires different levels of involvement for different situations. In times of complicated navigation, it may require more than one watch stander with everyone busy and involved. During long passages in open water and while anchored, a single watchstander may even find time to read but still be alert and responsible.

Ensure the safety of the guests, crew, vessel and environment. Ensure all machinery and systems are operational. Ensure the vessel is secure and visitors are accounted for/dealt with. Raise/lower ensign, set up/clear meals, clear rubbish from vessel/mess, clean crew mess, check all compartments on board for security/dangers. Fill in daily logs and master log. Answer door bell/phones/radios, etc. Check lines/anchor security of tenders/toys and of visitors/swimmers/gangways. Check switchboards/running machinery, etc. Follow standing/captains orders and fulfill/continue/complete any outstanding work.

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About Lucy Chabot Reed

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher and founding editor of The Triton.

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