Navigation

thunderd
25th April 2005, 00:51
I was playing with my GPS this morning, it fits in the palm of my hand ,costs a few hundred dollars and gives a position to within a few metres.

(Scribe) It reminded me of the days as a young cadet when we used sextants, chronometers, huge books of tables and formulas to get the daily position.

I wondered if nowadays they still go through these complicated processes or if the modern instruments are considered reliable enough to depend on.

I also wonder if the old techniques are still taught at training colleges.

John
15th May 2005, 06:33
No more of the old processes. Modern technology is supposed to be the answer nowadays. Not always the case though! You only have to look at some incident reports to realise this. Try www.atsb.gov.au and have a look at some of these reports.
John

thunderd
15th May 2005, 07:14
I had a look at that site John and it's pretty scary stuff. Interesting too that a lot of it is human error even by pilots who I was led to believe in my younger days were infallible. (Scribe)

I know when I lived in Qld and did a bit of recreational fishing it was far too dangerous to have a nap in the darkness, even with nav lights left on you were in great danger of being run down.

Doug Rogers
15th May 2005, 07:44
I think that the RN and RAN still cover the use of the Sextant etc etc but the thrust is of course using the modern technology. Dunno about other Navies but I assume? that at least the larger ones would be the same??.
Doug

James_C
15th May 2005, 12:57
The RN and MN both still cover the sextant, the theory and practice is taught at the respective Nautical College and Cadets have to prove they've completed a signifcant amount of sights both by the Sun and the Stars at sea. The have to complete a Navigational workbook (sometimes 2 or 3) and they're expected to take sights every watch.
Cadets also spend a 2 week course learning how to use GPS, LORAN-C and other electronic navigational aids such as Electronic charts.
The United States Navy does not teach celestial navigation to its cadets anymore, as of about 4/5 years ago.
As per accidents, you'll find that the over whelmning majority of said incidents are caused by poorly trained crews from the Phillipines, Russia, Eastern Europe, Greece, Vietnam, China, Africe (I could go on), whilst working on Flag of Convenience ships.
Ships (owned, not necessarily built in) and crews from the 'traditional' maritime countries on the whole have a very good/excellent safety record.
I read in the NUMAST telegraph (the British Officers union) a few months ago, that the Port of Brisbane Pilots were to start taking people of the streets and training them up as pilots, even if they had no seagoing experience at all. This is due to the chronic shortage of suitable qualified people (which is affecting the old maritime powers in a big way), completely due to the wholesale decimation of the Aussie merchant fleet.

Guest
15th May 2005, 19:07
My first intended seaborne excursion was no more than to move from West Huskisson Dock at Liverpool, across the river to Bidston Drydock. Because the ship was very light, she'd been held up by strong winds which would have made her unmanageable on the river crossing. As she appeared devoid of all lifeforms at the latest intended hour of departure, I assumed another delay was upon us and took a stroll up the dock and made a phone call home.

On returning, I found that she was already moving off the berth, with tugs in attendance and the companionway stowed.

A bit of bellowing got some reaction and the tugs nudged her back in, and the pilot ladder was slung over the side from the foredeck.

As soon as I'd set foot on it, they continued on their way and now it was dark. I appeared to have several hundred feet of swinging ladder to climb and by the time I got to the top I was completely knackered and surprised I hadn't fallen to my death.

So, my guess would be that the shortage of pilots has more to do with a rational fear of climbing those ladders than anything else.

Later in my time at sea I was to meet a Mate who as 2/O had climbed down the pilot ladder slung over the stern to read the draft markings as they were entering port. It was winter in Japan and he was wearing a duffel coat. He just couldn't hold on any longer and fell off. He was narrowly missed by an outbound cargo ship, but picked up by a small boat.

Dave

James_C
15th May 2005, 19:46
It's not just Pilots who are feeling the squeeze. The UK coastguard are begining to get a little nervous at the ever diminishing band of qualified MN officers suitable to take up posts with them. They're also talking about taking people of the street and training them up, the net result being that at the end of the day they'll have no experience of life at sea or ships.

Guest
15th May 2005, 20:11
I'm not so sure that it matters as long as they can do the job they've got. We never baulked at taking on a Manchester Ship Canal pilot because he hadn't got sea time.

Dave

Santos
15th May 2005, 20:29
I can remember back in the sixties, a very knowledgeable Old Man saying to me,

' You know Third Mate in the next century ships wont have crews, they will be totally automated and be sent by remote control ( his words not mine )
from Country to Country. Make the most of this type of sailing, it has not got many years left. '

We have not quite got that far yet, but I think we are nearly there. He was a very wise Old Man and I had a lot of respect for him.

Chris.

James_C
15th May 2005, 20:29
True, but it's experience people the Coastguard are looking for and its that pool they've traditionally recruited from. So in that regard they're a bit worried. Mainly due to the additional training they'll have to do.
Did the MSC recruit from the canal lightermen? I seem to remember that the Liverpool pilots were all home grown, serving on the pilot cutters first, then being sent deepsea or coastal to get their tickets, then to go back to the pilots. Anyone confirm that?

Santos
15th May 2005, 20:32
Yes I can confirm that Liverpool Pilots were home grown, and then sent to sea. You are right they did not have to have Foreign going tickets Home Trade was accepted as well.

Chris.

Fairfield
15th May 2005, 21:04
I would agree with Jim.Experience does count and one of the best ways is to start at the proverbial bottom and work up.Can see that in the way so called managers speak about their jobs.

Doug Rogers
16th May 2005, 00:36
Amen to those few wise words Paul.
Doug

Guest
16th May 2005, 07:46
The ship canal pilots served first as helmsmen waiting basically for dead men's shoes, then it was more of the same working up from second class pilot to first class. There was no question about their experience or ability.

Dave

thunderd
16th May 2005, 08:27
Well I know its a long time since I was at sea but I still cannot see how anyone without extensive experience in ship handling in all sorts of conditions, can possibly pilot a ship in enclosed waters, with other vessels around, and tides, currents and winds to contend with. Particularly the "apartment block" shaped ships they have nowadays. I would imagine every ship has its own idiosynchracies (did I spell that right?)

Capt.John Bax. Ret.
26th May 2005, 19:13
Remember that a Pilot is on board to provide Local Knowledge to the Master and at no time is he in Command. The Master can over ride his orders/instructionsat any time. In Blue Funnel and Glen Line we had our own Pilots for Liverpool. mostly ex Masters and C/Officers. We picked them up and dropped them off at Holyhead and for London, We picked up the London Pilot. (The first one) at Brixham.
Just a point of interest.

Ron B Manderson
26th May 2005, 19:30
I was playing with my GPS this morning, it fits in the palm of my hand ,costs a few hundred dollars and gives a position to within a few metres.

(Scribe) It reminded me of the days as a young cadet when we used sextants, chronometers, huge books of tables and formulas to get the daily position.

I wondered if nowadays they still go through these complicated processes or if the modern instruments are considered reliable enough to depend on.

I also wonder if the old techniques are still taught at training colleges. You can be jailed for that you know
Hope you were inside
Ron lol