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Ships navigational equipment check - guideline for bridge watchkeepers




Bridge equipment familiarization

All Deck Officers must be thoroughly familiar with the operation and utilisation of all Bridge and navigation equipment. It is particularly important that officers are aware of the limitations of the equipment and of the importance of not relying solely on one piece of equipment.

All Bridge team Members must be aware that equipment breakdown can occur at any time and whenever possible information from one source must be checked against data from another piece of equipment. The Shipboard Contingency Plan contains checklists for the failure of key items of equipment.

In the event of failure of any piece of Bridge equipment, the Master is to be immediately advised. The master is then to issue clear instructions in the Masterís Bridge Order Book on procedures to be followed until the equipment can be restored to operation. Procedures to be followed could involve the following:
  • Increased bridge manning;
  • Hand steering;
  • Manual plotting of all targets in the event of an ARPA failure;
  • Use of magnetic compass and the need for additional compass errors being taken, in the event of main gyro failure;
  • Use of alternative electronic position fixing by use of Sun and Stellar observation in the event of GPS failure.
Equipment that cannot be rectified by shipís staff must be reported to the Management Office without delay.Close attention should be given to all navigational equipments onboard cargo ships . Summarized below are some basic check items that need to be complied by watch officers. The procedures discussed here are only indicative, not exhaustive in nature and one must always be guided by practices of good seamanship.
  1. Trial of hand steering and comparison of ordered and actual rudder angles
  2. Confirmation of recording conditions of course recorder:
  3. Synchronisation of time (shall be set to UTC) & ship's heading
  4. Course keeping and steering conditions
  5. Remainder of recording paper and print quality
  6. Marking of date, ship's time every noon and upon arr/dep port
  7. Confirmation of appropriate navigation lights being lit
  8. Confirmation of appropriate VHF channel and optimum volume /squelch setting
  9. Confirmation of operation and recording conditions of GMDSS equipment
  10. Confirmation of operation for GPS, Chart plotter and ECDIS (correct position indicated and datum allowance made if any)
  11. Confirmation of operation and input data for AIS (navigation, draught, destination, time, power setting, etc)
  12. Confirmation of operation of fire detection equipment (zone isolation- check)
  13. Number of steering gear power units in use
  14. Measurement and recording of compass error (if unable to check, record reason in deck log book)
  15. Confirmation of synchronization of repeater compasses and master gyrocompass
  16. Comparison of gyro and magnetic compasses (upon alteration & hourly)
  17. Confirmation of operation of Speed Log
  18. Confirmation of "M0" operation, start/finish (Reported to OOW)
  19. Execution of alarm and lamp tests of main engine control console
  20. Cargo & bilge monitoring related equipment on bridge
  21. Confirmation of error of ship's clocks
  22. Testing of non-follow-up steering every noon
  23. Check of steering gear at least once a day
  24. Testing General alarm & Blowing of whistle at noon
  25. Confirmation of set conditions of auto-pilot (course keeping mode etc)
  26. Comparison of both GPS positions & their feed to other equipment

Confirmation of Radar:
  • Adjusted conditions of Tune, Clutter (Sea/Rain) & Gain
  • Proper range in use
  • Heading and bearing comparison with gyro

Confirmation of ARPA:
  • Speed input set "through water"
  • Set values of CPA/TCPA
  • Vector (true/relative indication)
  • Set alarm volume level

Operation of echo-sounder (in sounding depths):
  1. Adjusted conditions, such as range in use, zero adjustment, gain adjustment and display output (UKC)
  2. Remainder of record paper
  3. If recording fuction set on, enter at starting/stopping: date, time & position and if applicable, range in use



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