Take 10: Issue 3

01 Jun 2013 The Navigator

This issue of The Navigator has looked at passage planning at sea. Here are ten points to take away from this issue to help ensure this important subject stays top of everyone’s list of priorities.

1 Safety first

Passage planning is a fundamental safety-critical function; without it ships could not do what they were designed to do.

2 Controlling risks

Planning ahead identifies risks and allows the navigator to better control the safety of navigation.

3 Stay alert

Many risks can be anticipated; however many cannot. Keeping an alert lookout is always essential.

4 Feel factor

When passage planning or when using a passage plan, it is worth trying to ‘get a feel’ for the part of the voyage

5 Cover all bases

Local knowledge gained through pilots, sailing directions and marine safety information (MSI), should always be sought at the planning stage.

6 Adapting to change

A plan is the basis for change. A good passage plan is essential, but sometimes the plan will need to be adapted, based upon new information e.g. from pilots, Vessel Traffic Services (VTS), weather or commercial changes. Be adaptable and stay safe.

7 Plan your research

There are many good sources of good practice for passage planning, including commercial publications, training courses and company procedures.

8 Mentoring matters

Onboard mentoring is essential for developing good passage planning and monitoring skills; take just ten minutes and give it a go.

9 Shipshape

Passage plans should take into account the special characteristics of the vessel itself, including draft, manoeuvrability, squat, mechanical risks and manning levels.

10 Trust your data?

Always question the integrity of information used in passage planning and navigation, particularly with regards to calculating position and under keel clearance (UKC). Apply the concepts of validity, plausibility, comparison and latency to help ensure risks are minimised.