Practical Navigation

Last time I went through the Suez Canal (many years ago, it should be stated) we monitored progress by putting a cross on the chart as we passed various beacons on the canal banks. I just inspected a vessel where they had fixed the vessel by radar range and bearing from beacons at 6 minute intervals…apart from the waste of the OOW’s time and distraction from the main point of his presence on the bridge ie monitoring the pilot and helmsman, and making sure the vessel is in the middle(!)…what kind of madness is this? Is it done just for inspectors? Mind you, I did inspect a vessel that had been fixing by GPS in the Suez Canal!
I’d like to open a discussion on the reality of navigation and the impending ECDIS revolution… several navigators have told me confidentially that Masters are becoming cut off from their bridge teams while they navigate solely on ECDIS…even if the system is not yet approved for primary use, nevertheless the Master uses it exclusively, and the chartwork is done for the inspectors and to keep the OOW busy…there’s no way the latter is going to tell the old man he is “off the line”!

What is wrong with checking and checking again? Especially if you have the bridge team to do so. If you screw up, no one is going to forgive you for relying on a single fallible system. It annoys me to hear of an ECDIS revolution. Why wouldn’t a professional mariner want to keep his skills honed.

[QUOTE=Ian Smith;107306]I’d like to open a discussion on the reality of navigation and the impending ECDIS revolution…[/QUOTE]

What is the impending ECDIS revolution? This is not a term that I’ve heard before but I would be very interested to hear about it.

Agree, 6 minute fixes in the Suez Canal is madness. Been there, done that,(just so we could say I did)…

The 6 minute plot is without question a waste of time. I would maintain an hourly plot offshore as a matter of course (no pun intended) and more frequently in restricted visibility if necessary. But with a consistently reliable dgps/ais/arpa plotter displaying my track,cpa’s, hdg and cog, and all my devices trending the same information I don’t need someone buried in a chart when they could be looking out the f’n windows. The charterer wants proof that we are actively monitoring the progress of the vessel and even has a check box on the SIRE for it. It’s a PITA and the explanation I received was the charterer wants to mitigate “single man error” while underway. Although I think it’s a waste, I have to show proof it’s being done. And so, six minute plots while in pilot waters and 30-60 minute plots near and off-shore.