Watch/work hours

I’m a lowly cadet who has to write a feasibility analysis paper for a business writing class. I figured I’d write it on something i kinda give a shit about and happen to come across while on gcaptain. So enough of the blah blah bullshit, I want to know what the thoughts on the current 4 on 8 off work schedule are. I’ve come across some things saying over seas the hours have been changed or made so that it is possible to be able to get a full 8 hours sleep (which I’m sure is a joke considering it’s the maritime industry and there’s something always going on). But if you could change it what would you do, why, or why would you keep the current schedule. Any input would be great, thanks

12 on 12 off is pretty standard in the oil field

For a three watch system, there are plenty of variations. Google alternative watch, crew endurance management system, etcetera. Try :

4 on 8 off is ok, if working out in the weather, but I tend to sleep too much.

6-6 sucks after a few weeks.

12-12 is great. plenty of time off for reading, laundry, watching movies and still getting enough sleep.

I know watch’s are set by captain on some Tugs the work 6 and 6 a lot of other vessels work 12 and 12 so on this watch you can get some good sleep and on a very few vessels where you have extra bridge personnel you can get a 8 and 16 watch

when i was working on small tugs most boats were 6 on 6 off, but i have worked 7x5x5x7, meaning 7hrs on watch, 5 hrs off, 5 hrs on watch, 7 off. Took some getting used to, but was kinda nice, was able to get a little more sleep, and it felt like the days went by quicker. But it also sucked for the back watch standing watch 2200-0500, makes for a long night.

Worked on a ship where bridge watch was 6 on 2 off 2 on then 14 off. That was great.

We do a watch on some of our tugs where capt drives 0600-1200 c/m 12-1800 capt 1800-2200 2nd mate 2200-0200 c/m 0200-0600 its nice to get the extra 2hrs of sleep at night and the 2nd gets some drive time. If he’s a seasoned 2nd we will do 4/8’s

Your asking a question on a topic that is undergoing a huge revision and inspection now. First look up the actual laws regarding hours of work, and how long the mandated ‘hours off and on’ are, and how that is being violated even with some of these examples seen on this post.

I never really liked the standard 6/6 on in a two watch system. You rarely get more than 5 hrs sleep if your lucky and I know I was pretty much always tired. I tried to get my watch relief to try a 8/8/4/4 but he liked his routine too much. I thought a 06-14, 14-18, 18-22, 22-06 rotation would get both of us a chance for some real sack time and it was still pretty close to the normal hours. Being the engineer on an ATB I guess I’m technically on a watch but in truth I’m really a day worker which is definitely my preference.

If you’re talking a three watch system, then I say the 4x8 is fine. You get a pretty solid 7 hours almost every day. One guy is always going to get the short end of the stick no matter what system you follow. The 12-4 guy is the only who has a sucky watch on 4x8 but its not too much different than just being up really late and sleeping in like I’m sure many guys do when they are home … minus the copious consumption of alcohol of course. I always liked the 4-8 because I had no problem getting up at 3 if since I had the chance to go to bed so early, if we were in port I had the whole daytime off and working till 12 on OT was pretty painless.

My capt and I work the 8/4/4/8 watches im on watch from 1400-1800 then 2200-0600. We both get plenty of sleep, we have time to wash clothes or run out for a minute, and the days seem to go by much faster.

Just out:

A former Maersk chief officer was awarded substantial damages by a Florida court after suffering heart damage as a result of working excessive hours

A recent court ruling in Florida leaves shipowners facing the threat of legal action from seafarers who feel that their working conditions at sea have contributed to poor health, both in the US and other jurisdictions, lawyers have confirmed, reports ‘Intermanager’.

William Skye, a former chief officer with Maersk, was awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars after he claimed that he had suffered heart damage as a result of working 16 hours a day at sea, forcing him to take early retirement at the age of 54.

“This is an important case, because it paves the way for similar-situated crew members who are injured by working too many hours and too many duties,” said Jason Magulies of Lipcon Margulies Alsina & Winkleman, who acted for Mr Skye.

Mr Skye’s negligence case was brought in May under the US Jones Act, which protects seafarers’ rights even when they work on foreign-flagged ships. The case resulted in a substantial award to the plaintiff.

His lawyers argued that he typically snatched less than six hours sleep a day because he had to undertake two four-hour watches, followed by 28 additional duties associated with his role on board.

Wow, and there are so may of us who have held long term jobs where we would DREAM of standing 4 on 8 off. I don’t care how many fucking collateral duties you have, if you can’t hack it on 4/8 you need to find a different career. Without soaking your employer for a bigtime payout. Just the people on this forum could bankrupt every maritime company in the US under this precedent.

Did you miss the part about working 16 hour days. That is just a tad more than 4 n 8.

Most shipping companies require you to stand your watch and then ‘require’ you to perform 4 hours OT. Then, on top of that, upper level positions require even more managerial function. I know, with my situation, I routinely work 13 to 14 hours per day. We all break the law to some degree or another. But the companies in their quest to SLASH manning, and increase the workload is having the exact opposite consequences that all this ‘fancy’ CEMS, ISO/ISM, Safe Seas crap is trying to ‘ensure compliance’.

The last time I got vetted I spent 4 extra (off watch) hours finishing up the vetting. Do you think I got my full ‘rest time’ prior to going on watch again? What would have happened if I told the office I won’t move the boat until I had it… All to endure the vetting required to show compliance with the same regulations I had to violate during said vetting! What a bunch of BS.

"…His lawyers argued that he typically snatched less than six hours sleep a day because he had to undertake two four-hour watches, followed by 28 additional duties associated with his role on board…"
I have sailed as Master standing 4 on 8 off, I have sailed as Master standing 12 on 12 off, I have sailed as Master standing 6 on 6 off, I have sailed as Master standing all kinds of variations of 8/4/4/8. I am still sailing, with all of this ISM and IMO extra time/work. I never once on any vessel, worked nearly as hard or as long as a Chief Officer as I have as a Master.
Just saying. The guy was standing 4 on 8 off, and it “Hurt his heart” Waaa Fucking Waaaa. You want to correct all this extra hours “over and above” nonsense? This is absolutely not the way to do it. It’s a Jones act lawyer scam which will turn even more employers off of using American mariners. You think a Filipino Captain is going to sue somebody because he works too hard? Riiigghhhtttt.

Chief Mate Skye was also a bar certified lawyer. A real honest to goodness sea lawyer.
Found a link with some more concrete details so you guys can draw your own conclusions:
He sued for both physical (he had heart problems) and psychological damages.

Thanks for all the input so far, it’s great to get so many different points of view on this subject especially since it’s currently being review and inspected by the government. It"s pretty clear that no matter what kind of hours you work you’re going to be short on rest especially with under-manning. Taking all of that into consideration; the extra duties, paper work, and other shit that needs to be done what do you think would be the best schedule to work on or one that the government should implement?

The European watch schedule works pretty well for a 3 watch system. I have 10.5 hours off straight every day. I sleep more at work than I do at home.

[QUOTE=New3M;74425]The European watch schedule works pretty well for a 3 watch system. I have 10.5 hours off straight every day. I sleep more at work than I do at home.[/QUOTE]Yep, I miss my afternoon naps.

6/6 is a killer schedule. You never get enough sleep, especially if there is the least thing that needs OT. I thought it sucked, and am surprised it is even allowed nowadays because of the potential for fatigue related incidents. But you do learn how to go to sleep fast !

4/8 is fine, even with 4 or 5 hrs OT every day up to the STCW max limits … which are always fun to see in action when loading or discharging, with the arrival and departure associated therewith. Hah !.

Next to working a straight 12 hours, I really liked working the european / med. watch schedule