Bridge Team work Weather Routeing      


Maintain a Safe Navigational Watch


Bridge Team Work


Bridge Teamwork Procedures

Bridge Team work brings about proper bridge procedures, and promotes the use of checklists appropriate to each ship taking into account national and international guidance.

As the name suggests it is teamwork and barring open sea passage with negligible traffic, the sole responsibility of watch keeping from the Bridge is avoided. The resources available by way of equipment should be capable of being used by the human resources available. Be it lookout, fixing positions, conning or communication.

Masters and officers in charge of the navigational watch on each ship should be guided concerning the need for continuously reassessing how bridge-watch resources are being allocated and used, based on bridge resource management principles such as the following:

.1 a sufficient number of qualified individuals should be on watch to ensure all duties can be performed effectively;

.2 all members of the navigational watch should be appropriately qualified and fit to perform their duties efficiently and effectively or the officer in charge of the navigational watch should take into account any limitation in qualifications or fitness of the individuals available when making navigational and operational decisions;

.3 duties should be clearly and unambiguously assigned to specific individuals, who should confirm that they understand their responsibilities;

.4 tasks should be performed according to a clear order of priority;

.5 no member of the navigational watch should be assigned more duties or more difficult tasks than can be performed effectively;

.6 individuals should be assigned at all times to locations at which they can most efficiently and effectively perform their duties, and individuals should be reassigned to other locations as circumstances may require;

.7 members of the navigational watch should not be assigned to different duties, tasks or locations until the officer in charge of the navigational watch is certain that the adjustment can be accomplished efficiently and effectively;

.8 instruments and equipment considered necessary for effective performance of duties should be readily available to appropriate members of the navigational watch;

.9 communications among members of the navigational watch should be clear, immediate, reliable, and relevant to the business at hand;

.10 non-essential activity and distractions should be avoided, suppressed or removed;

.11 all bridge equipment should be operating properly and if not, the officer in charge of the navigational watch should take into account any malfunction which may exist in making operational decisions;

.12 all essential information should be collected, processed and interpreted, and made conveniently available to those who require it for the performance of their duties;

.13 non-essential materials should not be placed on the bridge or any work surface; and

.14 members of the navigational watch should at all times be prepared to respond efficiently and effectively to changes in circumstances.

The above are the guidelines, however the actual performance of the Bridge team is dependent on the officers and men working as a team.

Look out should be by sight and hearing as well as by operational Radar (incl. ARPA). The persons utilized for keeping the look out should be well competent to carry out the duties assigned to them. The Radar should be used for long range scanning and a case of poor visibility should not be a set back to experienced observers.

Often it has been found that during poor visibility due to rain/ snow or in cases of extreme cold the look out (visual) keeps the same from inside the wheelhouse, how far this is effective is debatable, but a proper look out is essential.

Additionally the look out should be able to determine lights of ships and or lighthouses as they are raised. For this the OOW should have briefed the look out well in time.

Similarly the officer plotting fixes as well as monitoring the course of the vessel should have all the coastline studied well in advance, these plans should be written down and a sudden incapacity of an officer should not bring the vessel to uncharted territories. The equipment to be used should be checked in advance and for the same procedures should be laid down in writing.

Communication should be left to the Master or to a officer who is versed with the position and movement of the ship in congested waters. Communication should not be used as an excuse to stop navigating the ship.

In situations where the Master is not present on the Bridge, the senior most officer would take the con, it maybe the pilot if embarked. The helm orders flowing between the pilot and the helmsman should be checked with the plan as detailed and approved by the Master. Any order which would contravene the planned track of the vessel should be confirmed with the pilot and if necessary the Master should be called.

All actions/ commands regarding speed alterations and or course alterations should be logged down in the movement book, so that a relieving officer may be able to get a fair idea of the ships progress.

Parallel Indexing should be carried out by the navigating officer and for this the passage plan should have indicated reference points, this would help in picking conspicuous landmarks for use. At all stages the ship should be navigated with the an assumption that in case of a breakdown in any service, the ship would not come to any peril.

All officers should be competent in the interpretation of the COLREGs and the sighting of any light should be however confirmed by the team members.

Similarly any sound signals to be made should be confirmed by the team before it is finally sounded. Also if any sound signal is heard the team has to come to a uniform conclusion before any drastic action is taken.

Lastly the command and the confirmation should be in clear and precise language such that no ambiguity arises after the action has been completed, if there is any such doubt then it should be clarified.