What is Duty of Officer on Navigational watch ?

The officer of the navigational watch shall:
  • keep the watch on the bridge
  • in no circumstances leave the bridge until properly relieved by an appropriate officer
  • continue to be responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel despite the presence of the Master on the bridge until informed specifically that the Master has assumed the con and this is mutually understood
  • notify the Master when in any doubt as to what action to take in the interests of safety
  • continue to be responsible for the safe navigation of the vessel despite the presence of a pilot on board
  • if in any doubt as to the pilot’s actions or intentions, seek clarification from the pilot; if doubt still exists, they should notify the Master immediately and take whatever action is necessary until the Master arrives
  • not undertake any other duties that would interfere or compromise the keeping of a safe navigational watch
  • ensure there are no distractions caused by the use of domestic radios, cassettes, CD players, personal computers, television sets, mobile phones, etc
  • have available at all times, the services of a qualified helmsman
  • in areas of high traffic density, in conditions of restricted visibility and in all hazardous navigational situations ensure the vessel is in hand steering
  • keep in mind that the perceptions of watchkeeping officers on different types and sizes of vessels may vary considerably when assessing a close quarter situation and the time in which avoiding action should be taken
  • keep a proper record during the watch on the movement and activities relating to the navigation of the vessel
  • station a person to steer the vessel and to put the steering into manual control in good time to allow any potentially hazardous situation to be dealt with in a safe manner. Officers are further reminded that when the vessel is in automatic steering it is highly dangerous to allow a situation to develop to the point where the OOW is without assistance and has to break the continuity of the look-out in order to take emergency action
  • use the radar at all times in areas of high traffic density and whenever restricted visibility is encountered or expected and shall have due regard to its limitations. Radar should be available for use at all times to enable the officers to use the equipment in clear weather so as to fully appreciate the limitations of the equipment
  • at sufficiently frequent intervals during the watch check the vessel’s position, course and speed using all appropriate navigational aids and means necessary to ensure that the vessel follows the planned track
  • take fixes at frequent intervals. These fixes shall be carried out by more than one method whenever circumstances allow. The largest scale chart on board, suitable for the area and corrected with the latest available information shall be used. This includes local navigation warnings, and temporary and preliminary notices to mariners
Note :

Mariners are also reminded of the requirement to use the latest editions of all supporting navigational publications such as charts, list of lights, list of radio signals, pilot books etc. Such publications should be fully corrected.


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