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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Tips on Watch Standing
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-28-2013 11:40 PM
Peter06420
Re: Tips on Watch Standing

Lots of good stuff in this thread!

Caveat, I have lots of time on submarines and plenty of time looking at sailboats from the deck of a sail boat and one delivery Florida to VA vial Gulf stream then to Connecticut.

20 minutes between checking the RADAR and scanning the horizon is way too long. Do some math, how long does it take a 600-foot ship and your boat to close from his horizon-distance to a collision? Bow-on, there could be over 30 knots closure, if you turn 30 degrees, you still have 90% of your original closure rate!

Horizon scans ought to be every 5 minutes. the RADAR ought to be on continuously at night - it probably draws less amps than refrigeration or the autopilot.

Speaking of which - don't use the ap except for brief periods. Hand steer! How else are you going to know how the boat is really performing. Staring at the kingpost will just put you to sleep or hypnotize you.

As for Radio, I found that channel 13 is at least as useful as 16. Norfolk Shipping channel proves This. those guys were _very_ happy to work it out with you to keep everybody clear. but it was on 13, not 16! Another time, I was hailing a boat I'd had visually for an hour and didn't get him on 16 ever - then switched to 13 and there he was!

Don't become overly reliant on any single method for contact detection. I've had very large merchants on visual (daytime) that I just couldn't get on RADAR (no matter how I tweaked gain, interference rejection & PRF/range scales and vice-versa!

Tethered at night _has_ to be a rule, you never know where that next rogue breaker is coming from. Rule - stay with the boat.

Have full foul-weather gear at-hand for the watch - Murphy says that when you decide to go find it, the bad things will happen and it will all go sideways before you can get back to the cockpit.

Carry a knife that you can operate with one hand in every layer of clothing that you have on! Just in case you have to deviate from the previous rule.

Cary a waterproof light of somekind in every layer or on a lanyard around your neck.

Have the crew practice sleeping with background noise - I sleep with NPR on all the time - not a problem.

Make sure that your relief is up to it! I once got relieved while the sub was on the surface & my relief lasted 5 minutes - got seasick. On the delivery, the skipper went to take a nap after dinner, came up 5 minutes later, thought he'd been asleep for an hour, looking very groggy. I declined the relief & he _then_ got 8 hours of sleep! No complaints! An alert watchstander is a happy boat.

They should visit the entire boat and review all logs since their last watch _and_ spend 15 minutes in the cockpit eating, re-hydrating - remember, they've been asleep for hours without a drink - probably - then a head-break before finally suiting up to take the watch - even in the daylight.

Someone else already said it, but it bears repeating. Keep the extraneous sounds down. You need to hear the boat and the environment. I really can't sail well with the stereo blasting or ear-buds in my ears. Conversation or VFH radio is not a problem, but music just covers up too much.

We also had a rule that the off-going watch were the first-responders. They knew the conditions the best and though tired are the best equipped to step in. whether it be head breaks it trouble with equipment. OK, some things are all-hands, but if it's a sheet caught up on something or something else that someone has to work that out the watchstander should ask for help before getting caught up in it too much.

Make sure their head is in the game. I can go to sleep after 15 minutes of reading, listening to news, etc. on a good evening at home. If I have to actually think about something, make calculations, etc. I tend to stay awake long after I should have gone to bed. How long to the next tack? how long till cross-track error is too high? If I change course 30 degrees, how will that change CPA? If I slow down 5 knots? How long till I have to wake the skipper & give them that answer? Keep asking the watch those things till they tell you before you ask.
05-29-2013 07:38 AM
SimonV
Re: Tips on Watch Standing

On our boat you are woken for your watch by a gentle shake and a hot cup of coffee, then a short chat to advise any change during the off watch. It is the job of the on watch person to wake their replacement, and if they did it with a horn or whistle god help them when its my turn.
05-28-2013 11:29 PM
billyruffn
Re: Tips on Watch Standing

Quote:
Originally Posted by flandria View Post
I am impressed with the attention that BillyRuffn has given to the diagrams of his safety related items... I will review my procedures and equipment (as I do at the start of each season) and see how I can implement some or all of his ideas. One thought I had this winter is to obtain an extra fire extinguisher to be easily available in the cockpit. With fires most likely at/near the engine or galley - both of which are very close to the companion way - we may not have ready access to the equipment mounted at/inside the companion way.
Thanks....I bought another fire extinguisher what's going at the top of the companion way steps.....
04-03-2013 02:54 PM
jackdale
Re: Tips on Watch Standing

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
I won't go sailing off the shelf with some folks due to fear I won't be able to follow the rule "Come back with everyone you left with in good health and spirits".
I dropped off a crew during a medevac 1040 mile north of Hawaii. Learned a lot in the process.
04-03-2013 01:14 PM
outbound
Re: Tips on Watch Standing

problem is sailors sometimes are testosterone crazy. For instance, in above post he got injuried first day out and was "toughing it out". Agree knowing detaled med Hx. BEFORE you start is very worthwhile. I won't go sailing off the shelf with some folks due to fear I won't be able to follow the rule "Come back with everyone you left with in good health and spirits".
04-03-2013 12:36 PM
jackdale
Re: Tips on Watch Standing

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post



Skipper should have an honest discussion with every member of crew about physical and other medical issues. The skipper should be equally forthcoming. .
After last summer, I whole heartedly support that approach.

I use medical forms which are stored in the ship's log. With some companies, the forms are sealed until needed. I have had one bout of neurally mediated syncope; I tell them how I prevent another episode and what to do if I do lose consciousness.
04-03-2013 12:24 PM
SVAuspicious
Re: Tips on Watch Standing

Quote:
Originally Posted by wingNwing View Post
(But then, I'm the one who tried to hail the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant on VHF once, because no matter which way I altered course, this big, confusingly-lit vessel was right on my bow...)
Which reminded me of this famous story: snopes.com: Lighthouse and Aircraft Carrier . Although it isn't true it is a GREAT story. There is a version on YouTube with a German shore station that always makes me roll with laughter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by allio View Post
Does anybody in sailing use a panic button/alarm for crew/skipper waking. A simple button in the cockpit to call for emergency assistance?
No one has ever slept through my call (three times I think over 35 years sailing) for all hands on deck. Sleeping in the aft cabin I was awakened by a shackle pin hitting the cabin top and deck and made it on deck in time to lash down the outhaul.

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Had similar experience on coastal cruise with multiple overnight hops. Took person aside and asked "whatsup?". Found out had bad knee and would take motrin then go back to sleep for 1/2h until NSAID hit. Took him off rotation and made him the cook. Everyone happy and cooking/cleaning off my list. Sometimes it pays to ask before thinking some one's a jerk.
Skipper should have an honest discussion with every member of crew about physical and other medical issues. The skipper should be equally forthcoming. Everyone that has sailed with me knows I have back trouble for example and what my limits are (which recede with adrenalin (*grin*)).
04-03-2013 09:05 AM
outbound
Re: Tips on Watch Standing

Had similar experience on coastal cruise with multiple overnight hops. Took person aside and asked "whatsup?". Found out had bad knee and would take motrin then go back to sleep for 1/2h until NSAID hit. Took him off rotation and made him the cook. Everyone happy and cooking/cleaning off my list. Sometimes it pays to ask before thinking some one's a jerk.
04-02-2013 01:11 PM
SVAuspicious
Re: Tips on Watch Standing

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcarlson View Post
True enough, but in my defense, I was not the captain and it was a long way from shore. He did get squared away after that and a little talk from the crew. We were young, all of us. Pages from my misspent youth.
True enough. The floor brush we used on a classmate in college who decided that he didn't need to shower regularly was effective also. That doesn't mean it was a good idea, or that it contributed to our ability to manage teams.

They're funny stories, but they are not good advice.
04-02-2013 12:56 PM
pcarlson
Re: Tips on Watch Standing

True enough, but in my defense, I was not the captain and it was a long way from shore. He did get squared away after that and a little talk from the crew. We were young, all of us. Pages from my misspent youth.
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