Who's navigating? Passage planning and positive thinking

30 Jan 2023 The Navigator

Second officer Rudolph Clark Garaygay discusses the value of embracing the positive and the importance of active communication

Name: Rudolph Clark Garaygay
Current position: Second Officer, M/V Cape Fawley
Studies: BSc. Marine Transportation at John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University, Philippines

What do you like best about working at sea?

Aside from the beautiful sunsets, seeing the world for free and good compensation onboard, I would say it is the life-long lessons that I have learned and the wonderful camaraderie from the people I have worked with throughout my entire career.

Where do you see yourself five years? Ten?

Whenever I need to achieve something, I always say to myself, “What you think, you become.” I always believe in myself and embrace positivity in life. So, I can see myself five years from now working as a Chief Officer and then, in ten years becoming a Master.

What do you think are the most important things to include in a navigation risk assessment?

There are three important things that I consider important to include in a risk assessment:

Equipment failure – all navigational equipment is prone to malfunction, and the ability to respond rapidly to any mishaps must be the priority of the bridge team; there must always be a back-up plan ready and all navigation officers must be familiar with the actions and decisions that need to happen to avoid critical damage.

Active communication – in order to develop situational awareness among the bridge team, there must be a proactive approach to communications, especially when navigating under pilotage in congested or shallow waters. Lack of communication can lead to dangers like grounding and collision.


Passage plan appraisal – one of the most critical stages in preparing a passage plan is appraisal. All information about the entire navigation, from port to port, must be collected and used to plan accordingly.

Which risk management resources do you find most helpful in your work?

As the Navigation Officer in charge onboard, I always use passage plan appraisal and navigation with restricted under-keel clearance (UKC). We all have different safety management systems and, specifically, we also have different risk management resources that our company requires us to observe.

Despite this, there is only one goal we all need to meet – ensuring our own safety and that of our navigation. Hazards are everywhere, but with proper planning and thorough risk assessments, we can eliminate, control and avoid many uncertain incidents onboard.