Port Cai Lan, Vietnam.
29 Apr 2014
Hello everyone…Well its been a while since I have penned down something other than the log books, lol.Today I am before you as a completely different man, not a helpless fresher any longer you know what I mean.Today I am a full fledged seaman having overcome 30 degrees of rolling and temperatures upto -5 deg C.I have completed 200 days onboard including the same tenure of bridge watchkeeping.Once you get used to the trade, it’s a piece of cake.Believe me all freshers, its not as difficult as you think.I couldn’t restrain from stating the facts that my ship is brand new, gearless and fully automated. Must not well be the situation on board an old ship. Atleast for me, the case of the poor cadet run along the deck helter skelter while the ship is ballasting/deballasting remain a myth.All my controls are on the Ships office ballast panel.Love you dear Fleet Personnel Manager, I owe you one for this. Guess you all have had enough of my bullshitting, so lets better come back to the point.Today we are gonna discuss what all is actually needed onboard apart from what we all have been taught in the training academies.So here we go…
· For bridge watch keeping:-
1.Have a basic idea about the radars(X & S bands).The limitations, the display(PPI), the controls, the various parts, terms like CPA, TCPA, BCR, BCT, EBL, VRM, how to do radar fixing and parallel indexing,running fix, how to distinguish a steady paint from sea and rain clutters, how to monitor approaching vessels on the PPI and the effectiveness of an avoiding action.No clue folks? Better refer Shipborne radar and ARPA by H.subramaniam.There is an important point while talking about two bands.Subbu prefers X band for short range scan while practically mariners have the habit of following the S band for the same.Well it’s a controversial topic, so when you get onboard, follow your instincts.
2.Have a basic idea about the GPS.Modern vessels use GPS fixes as primary means to plot the position followed by land fixes.The differential GPS onboard extract data from some 12 odd satellites and provides the latitude, longitude, the waypoint details, the distance to go to the same, SMG etc for the specific UTC.If you can feed in the waypoint co-ordinates , well you are second mate already dude, cheers.
3.Some idea about the magnetic and Gyro compasses, variation,deviation and C.E, azimuth circles, heading monitor.You must be aware of the standard course at all times.On a simplified tone, there will be a master gyro compass ,some 2-3 analog and digital repeaters showing the gyro heading and a telescopic view of the magnetic compass displaying the standard heading.Compare the two and you will get the error(the same thumb rule- Best error West/Least error East).The variation will be given on the paper charts, if you have any or from whatever alternate arrangement you have onboard.Thus you could find the deviation for the heading as well.
(to be continued)