Q = Question; A= Answer
When and with what means must a proper look-out be maintained ?
Rule 5 and Par. 5.1, General and 5.2, A proper look-out.
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What are the particular duties of the officer of the watch regarding the look-out ?
Par. 5.2, A proper look-out and Look-out during periods of darkness and restricted visibility.
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When should one ask for the assistance of a look-out man ?
Par. 5.2, Proper look-out, fourth paragraph and further.
What are the particular duties of the look-out man ?
Par. 5.2, Proper look-out, sixth paragraph and further.
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Summarize the main points to be observed regarding the keeping of a safe navigational watch.
Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (M), Keeping a safe navigational watch on merchant vessels and Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (M), Keeping a safe navigational watch on fishing vessels.
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What are the main points to be considered with regard to fitness of duty and fatigue ?
Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (M), Keeping a safe navigational watch on merchant vessels, Par. 3, Fitness for duty.
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How should the officer of the watch perform his navigational watch ? What shall he consider in particular ?
Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (M), Keeping a safe navigational watch on merchant vessels, Par. 4, Performing the navigational watch.
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Which factors should be taken into account when composing a bridge watch ?
Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (M), Keeping a safe navigational watch on merchant vessels, Par. 5, Watch arrangements.
How should the officer of the watch handed over the watch ?
Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (M), Keeping a safe navigational watch on merchant vessels, Par. 6, Handing over the watch.
Summarize the points the relieving officer should consider when taking over the watch.
Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (M), Keeping a safe navigational watch on merchant vessels, Par. 7, Taking over the watch.
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Summarize the main elements to be considered with regard to the maintaining of a proper look-out.
Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (M), Keeping a safe navigational watch on merchant vessels, Par. 8, Look-out. See also answers A 42 till A 45.
Which precautionary measurers should the officer of the watch take in Restricted visibility ?
Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (M), Keeping a safe navigational watch on merchant vessels, Par. 10, In restricted visibility.
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When should you consider to proceed at a safe speed ?
Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (M), Keeping a safe navigational watch on merchant vessels, Par. 11, Safe speed and stopping distance.
Which precautionary measures should you take when your vessel is at anchor ?
Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (M), Keeping a safe navigational watch on merchant vessels, Par. 12, Vessel at anchor.
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What are the duties of the watchkeeper when navigating with a pilot ?
Marine Guidance Note MGN 315 (F), Keeping a safe navigational watch on fishing vessels, Par. 9, Navigation with pilot embarked.
In connection with look-out, what do you understand by “all available means appropriate” ?
Par. 5.3, By all available means appropriate.
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Comment the use of radar in connection with a proper look-out.
Par. 5.3, By all available means appropriate, third paragraph and further.
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Comment the use of VHF as a collision avoidance aid ?
Marine Guidance Note, MGN 324 (M + F), Radio: Operational guidance on the use of VHF radio and automatic identification systems (AIS) at sea, paragraphs 1 till 13.
What do you know about the use of VHF automatic Identification system (AIS) ?
Marine Guidance Note, MGN 324 (M + F), Radio: Operational guidance on the use of VHF radio and automatic identification systems (AIS) at sea, paragraphs 13 till 21.
What do you understand by “full appraisal of the situation and of risk of collision” ?
As the officer of the watch (OOW) you must constantly be aware of what is happening on your own vessel AND what is going on outside your vessel, around you.
a. On your own ship:
You must, constantly know your exact position and be aware of all dangers to navigation you are going to encounter, such as: banks, shallows, rocks, wrecks, buoys, etc.
It is for instance a very bad practice when you sight a buoy to go and check on the chart which buoy this may well be. When you take over the watch, you check your position on the chart and according to your speed, you determine the way you will run during your watch. You also study all dangers you may encounter. You than make a photostats copy in your mind of that portion of the chart which will allow you to anticipate what and when you will see and/or meet obstacles. You need to check and put a new fix on the chart at regular intervals.
You also need to be well acquainted with the atmospheric and hydrographic elements during your watch.
You need to know the direction and force of the wind and the state of the sea at all times. Too often I have seen officers, at the end of their watch, when they have to fill in the log book, going outside on the bridge to see from where the wind was exactly blowing. This tends me to think that during the course of their watch they had no notion of these meteorological elements.
Furthermore, you need to know the direction and the force of the current at all times.
Current is the movement of the water which is not apparently visible. The force and direction of the current can be assessed from the chart and other sailing direction. A good way to asses the current visually is with floating object in the water which are connected with the bottom of the sea. A buoy or a vessel at anchor can give you some reliable indication.
At all times, check the depth of water available and check for shallows or banks. They can produce bank suction, squat or sheering which may influence the steering capacity of your vessel and force you to slow speed.
If there is any risk of collision, check if the engines are ready for use and at night, check if your navigation lights are burning. Also check if the radar is operational or at least on stand-by.
Also arrange for a sailor to be on the bridge so that you can immediately switch over from the automatic pilot to hand steering.
b. Outside your vessel, around you
When you see a vessel around you that represents a potential treat or a definite risk of collision, take the following precautionary measurers:
Plot the vessel on your radar to obtain as much information as you can such as: her course and speed. Also take compass bearing of the vessel at regular intervals.
Check regularly how the vessel is behaving. Is the vessel keeping a steady course or is she sheering.
In case the vessel is a give-way vessel, ascertain yourself that the vessel has seen you. Means to attract your attention are: AIS, sounding an appropriate signal on the whistle, make light signals with the aldis lamp.
Be aware of interaction if the vessel approaches you too much; especially if you are following parallel courses in similar directions.
If you don’t feel insecure that the give-way vessel will not take appropriate action to comply with the Rules (thus, that she will not keep out of the way), consider the following measures: call the master, application of Rule 17 (a) (ii), reduce speed, stop or apply astern propulsion.
All these elements should govern your judgement on how and when to manoeuvre to avoid a collision.
I am often happily surprised and pleased to see how well some officers know the Colregs. But I am also amazed to see how many officers, even masters, barely know that there is a Colregs.
As the officer of watch, you are responsible for the safe conduct of the ship and you must assume this responsibility to its fullest. A good watchkeeping officer is an officer who is constantly busy with what is happening on his vessel and around his vessel.
He must at all times be on his guard and take a defensive position whenever he sees another vessel. He will only be sure that that vessel is no longer a treat to him when that vessel is past him and behind him. Until that moment, that vessel can still behave irrationally and present a potential danger to him.
The above list is only a summary of the tasks that the OOW has to perform. The OOW must consider every factor very carefully that can intervene in avoiding risk of collision.