sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Photo Gallery Cruising Australia Cruising USA Cruising Canada Boats for Sale Sail-World Racing FishingBoating
Video Gallery Newsletters

 

Sail-World.com : The Ten Golden Watchkeeping Rules

The Ten Golden Watchkeeping Rules

'Watch keeping skills - alertness is the key'    .

How good are you at keeping watch? What makes a valuable underway watchstander? Are you wondering why you weren't invited back after that last passage? Here Captain John Jamieson gives ten golden rules about how to be the best watch keeper and a good friend to your crew mates (even if there is only one). Check them out to see whether your watch keeping skills need upgrading:

The mandatory skills for a watch-keeper are to be able to scan the horizon with binoculars, track sighted vessels and adjust sails and rigging.

Here are the ten top rules to get yourself prepared to stand watch aboard any vessel, anywhere in the world:

Rule 1: Get Rest:
For day watches, take a short twenty minute nap within an hour of your watch. This will keep you alert for several hours. If you have a late night watch that extends into the early morning hours, hit the bunk early to be well rested for watch.

Rule 2: Wear the Right Gear:
Layer for warmth on a cold watch. Bring foul weather gear with you no matter the current weather. Squalls can come out of nowhere and you want to be ready.

Rule 3: Hydrate and Snack:
Dehydration causes seasickness and fatigue. Drink water and increase your intake of minerals and vitamin C (buy packets, such as 'Emergen-C'). To keep alert, eat light snacks on watch instead of heavy meals.

Rule 4: Follow the Skipper's Standard Operating Procedures (SOP):
Most skippers have standard operating procedures that tell you when to keep the log (once an hour or once per watch), when to wake him or her, and safety procedures on watch. Alert the skipper if you are in doubt or have a question that affects the safety of the crew.

Rule 5: Scan the Horizon:
Use binoculars to scan 360 degrees around the horizon. On a black night, the horizon can be tough to find. Look just beneath the lowest layer of stars. Scan just above the line of the horizon. Studies have shown that this technique helps you pick out hard-to-see objects in low light conditions.

Rule 6: Check the Course:
It's easy to forget about the course if you're on autopilot. Those silent crewmembers do tend to wander sometimes like a sailor with one-too-many rum punches! Check the compass course every 30 minutes to make sure you stay on the sailing course.

Rule 7: Use Electronic Tools:
International law makes it quite clear that all lookouts must use electronics--if installed--to help avoid collisions. This includes AIS and radar. Many vessels have stand-alone radars or integrated chart plotter-radar systems aboard. Switch to the radar mode to scan for vessels you may have missed with binoculars. Use both distant and close range scales.

Rule 8: Keep the Log:
Log navigation, weather, and engineering data into the ships log at least once per watch. Write down Latitude and Longitude, course, speed over ground, sails hoisted, and weather data. Keep a separate engineering log section for water temp, oil pressures, amperage, fuel tank level, and fresh water tank level.

Rule 9: Put on the Kettle:
Keep on good terms with any oncoming watchstander with a hot pot of water, ready to pour into a mug for coffee, tea or soup. He or she will appreciate this kindness more than you can imagine.

Rule 10: The all-important Briefing:
Before you go below, give your relief an easy-to-remember summary. Has the wind shifted? What speed are you making good? Have you sighted any vessels and where are they now? What weather can he or she expect on watch? Keep it simple and clear.

Practice these secrets of collision avoidance and watchstanding from the moment you cast off that last line. They will keep you, your crew and the yacht safe and sound on the waters of the world to enjoy safe, worry-free sailboat cruising.

These tips are from Captain John Jamieson's highly popular eight-part 'Offshore Sailing' series, which you will find at www.skippertips.com In this series Captain John, with 25+ years as a master mariner, shows you the skills you need for safer sailing anywhere in the world.
......................
Letter from reader:


Sender: Alex Blackwell

Message: Hi there

This is an article that is very close to every long distance cruiser's heart. I heartily agree with all the points raised - even with putting on the kettle towards the end of each watch.

However, I am surprised that John did omit what on our boat is the most important rule of all:

The number one rule of sailing (and watch keeping) is: Stay on the boat.

It may appear self evident, but when sailing short handed, or in any schedule when only one person is on watch, the others have no way of knowing if there is a MOB situation.

We therefore have a sub-rule that nobody goes out on deck without being tethered while at sea. We have the first pad eye positioned just below the companionway and have a tether attached for an emerging person to clip in to without fail. Jack lines and pad eyes are then strategically positioned from bow to stern. A correlary to this sub-rule is that nobody leaves the cockpit without another person being on deck.




by Captain John Jamieson

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=83922

10:30 AM Wed 25 May 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

19 Mar 2014  How to anchor and 'never utter a word'
10 Jan 2014  Cruising seminars from Fremantle around the coast to Cairns
10 Dec 2013  Cruising seminars from Fremantle around the coast to Cairns
04 Dec 2013  Remove the mast, check the rigging - at home!
24 Nov 2013  Young Endeavour seeks sailors between 16-23 years for 2014 voyages
06 Nov 2013  Use This Simple 'Speed and Power' Sail Trim Secret!
29 Oct 2013  How to anchor and 'never utter a word'
22 Oct 2013  Ocean cruising classes from Maryland - a great way to start
21 Oct 2013  How to stay put in a blow - the good oil.
15 Oct 2013  Cruising seminars from Fremantle around the coast to Cairns
MORE STORIES ...

Sail-World Cruising News - local and the World









Irish student turns a mobile phone into a VHF radio by Niall Murray, Irish Examiner/Sail-World,








'Sailing Adventures in Paradise' by Vincent Bossley by Noonsite Reviewer/Sail-World,












Springtime Greening: Boaters Tips for Earth Day by BoatUS Foundation/Sail-World Cruising,










British rescuers go for their own circumnavigation challenge by Derby Telegraph/Sail-World Cruising,


How sailors really do have a voice in the future of our oceans by Sandra Whitehouse, Sailors for the Sea,


Message-in-a-bottle record - 102 years by AFP/Sail-World Cruising,














Canadian solo sailor rescued north of Auckland by Sail-World Cruising round-up,










Dramatic MOB Pacific cold-water rescue - the personal account
Merchant Shipping Chalks Up Another Rescue - Tanker Saves Yacht Crew
RYA Competent Crew Skills – Second edition now available
Why ethanol and boats don’t mix + Video
Check this sailing gear more often during the season
Bluewater open boat weekend - if you are 'starboard' of the Atlantic
Laura Dekker honoured by OCC Award of Merit in New Zealand
Free online fuel spill course - how much do you know?
Smaller but plenty of space: The Nautitech Open 40
Product of the Week: Chafe guards save lines from friction
Government sneaks through the 'Affordable Boat Act'
Japan's Antarctic whaling program harpooned
Yacht of the Week: Kokomo III - and she could be yours
Life-shattering event sends 'rookie' couple sailing the world
Mysteries of the seas, happening right now - missing, sunk, foul play
Sail Norway and Russia this summer - your own boat, or charter
Sunshine4kids' 'Fleet of Hope' sets off again
3,200-year-old boat found in Croatian waters
Product of the Week: the LineGrabber
Mediterranean Mooring - How to moor stern-to to a dock or quay
Canadian storm bomb threat - sailors advised: get off the water!   
Carbon monoxide poisoning - is it possible on YOUR boat?   
Sailing family condemmed for taking 3-year-old on circumnavigation   
New contract-free plan for satellite communicator on your smart phone   
Yacht of the Week: The Dashew creation: no sails, but eco-friendly   
No laughing! Sailing mistakes I don't want to make   
Multihull Solutions Phuket 2014 Regatta - new sponsorship   
Destination: From Moscow Sea to the White Sea   
Land sailors of India on adventure across the Rann   
Jet stream gets fish in hot water   
Still no plans for e-Borders   
A Paint App to (almost) replace your marine store assistant   
Air warms but water slower - be careful, sailors, of hypothermia   
Volunteer Canadian rescue team homeless - any offers?   
Hilary Lister and Nashwa Al Kindi set a new trans-ocean record   
How to anchor and 'never utter a word'   
Non-pyrotechnic flares for my boat - Can I or can't I?   
Health benefits of sailing   
Cruising in the Maldives - some nuts and bolts   
ISAF Guide to Offshore Personal Safety for Racing and Cruising   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  



















 
Our Advertisers are committed to our sport, please support them!
This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia Pty. Ltd and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.

Photographs are copyright by law. If you wish to use or buy a photograph you must contact the photographer directly (there is a hyperlink in most cases to their website, or do a Google search.) with your request.

Please do not contact Sail-World.com as we cannot give permission for use of other photographer’s images.

Only if the photographer named on the image is Sail-world.com, Powerboat-world.com, Marinebusiness-world.com or NZBoating-World.com.
Contact us .
Ph: +61 2 8006 1873 or complete our feedback form    Contact us .
   View our Privacy Policy.    [Go Home]     [  Banner Advertising Specification]    [Bot Archive ]

Customised news feeds -Marine Industry companies, Clubs and Associations have their own customised version of our news feed on their website.
Look_here_to_see_examples

X6XL NEW CRU NH