Asleep on watch

sidsal
14th December 2008, 13:07
I was told a wierd tale by an old hand in Brocklebanks who had been at sea pre WW1 even. This old tramp was chugging along from Aden to Colombo in the NE Monsoon where the weather was calm and peaceful.
The "old man" suspected the 2nd Mate wasn't keeping a good watch and decided to check up on him. He got up in the early hours and crept up onto the bridge where he found the 2nd Mate slumped across the dodger, snoozing. Looking into the wheelhose he saw the helmsman lening back agains the bulkhead - no hands on the wheel and obviouslyalso snoozing.
He went down to the engine room and got a large spanner, crept back to the wheelhouse and unscrewed the brass boss holding the wheel in place. He gently removed the wheel and crept down onto his deck.
He then shouted up - " 2nd Mate - put her hard aport - I can see something in the water over there"
The 2nd Mate, fully awake by now shouted to the helmsman - "Hard aport"
The helmsman sprang to life and was amazed to see he had no wheel. He grasped the greasy spindle and was trying to turn it as the Captain entered.
I forget what the outcome was - but it's good tale. It was told me as being true !!

benjidog
14th December 2008, 15:02
Great story but sounds a bit dangerous if true even if there was another wheel. Sounds like one of those TV programmes with Jonathan Routh they had on in the 70s. :)

Ian6
14th December 2008, 15:34
One of the 'highlights' of daytime watchkeeping on passenger ships used to be the children's bridge visit. All the shiny brasswork got coated in sticky finger residue and the lower half of each window became frosted over.

To actually steer the ship was the little darlings main aim, that is after soiling everything that was previously clean and pinching the apple that I planned to eat later.
To facilitate pretend steering, without risking too many sudden helm adjustments, the quartermaster used to engage autopilot and then put the wheel into freespin. With 20 or 30 children running wildly around the wheelhouse we used to discuss how we would explain to the court of enquiry the reason that we didn't change course to avoid the collision.
Fortunately the problem never arose and there was always another day for an apple.
Ian

tom roberts
14th December 2008, 16:56
On the Parthia to get to the crows nest you had to climb inside the mast thro a hatch situated in the Pig or crew bar for those who may wonder what sort of weirdos had to do concerning a pig the R.S.P.C.A.would also wonder,back to the forum ,we had a continues supply of ale hoisted up in a bucket had to be careful not to let the bucket bash the inside of the mast the bridge may have wondered about the strange noises One 12 to 4 I was happily reading the Naked and The Dead when the phone went the officer of the watch asked who was on lookout I aswered he then advised me to be a bit sharper as at that second the foghorn went off and was answered by the Queen Mary about a mile or so on our starboard side I think his name was Mr Burnhope? It was a good read but never again did I get so engrossed in a book again when in the nest on lookout.

Bill Davies
14th December 2008, 18:54
On a more serious note. I remember an event back in 72, 26.12.72 to be specific, when the 'Elwood Mead' went aground. A dear colleague of mine from NBC had his career wrecked due to a drunken Second Mate from Southport (Nr.Liverpool) fell asleep on the bridge under the influence of Xmas day excesses. Had an effect on me throughout my remaining career when the Mates would never know when to expect me. I never followed a pattern thereafter. It paid off.

lakercapt
14th December 2008, 22:00
Think I posted earlier about the mate on the "Tourmaline" falling asleep and the ship on auto pilot sailing through the anchorage at Vada missing all the tankers anchored there and running right up on to the beach. He only woke when the captain kicked the chair from under him.
Was the engineer on watch that noted the exhaust temperatures going way up and went to call the c/e and he looked out his port and saw the cars on the road at the bow!

surfaceblow
14th December 2008, 22:08
While I was on the Marine Floridian a while after departing Galveston Texas a fishing boat crossed our bow just as another ship was overtaking us. The fishing boat decided it was unwise to attempt to cross the bigger ships bow and turned in between the two ships. The fish boat had its gear out which clipped us. Denting the fashion plate on the house and removing all of the hand rails under the lifeboat. I got a call from the bridge about the incident so the Chief Mate, First Assistant Engineer and myself checked for damage on the vessel. The First Assistant went to the Engine Room while I checked accommodation areas, settlers and steering gear. The Chief Mate took care of the cargo and ballast tanks. We all meet with the Captain and informed the Coast Guard of the incident and damage. The Coast Guard release us from the area and we went to our next port. The next day the Second Assistant Engineer came up to me wanting to get off the vessel at the next Port. When I asked why I was told to ask the First. After calling for a new Second Assistant the First told me that when he went to check the Engine Room the Second was nowhere in the Engine Room and after questioning the oiler he found out that the Second Engineer would Test the Boiler Water and go to his room and get up just in time to call the First Engineer for the 0400 watch.

Then the Marine Personnel Director was informed he wanted to take action with the Coast Guard against the Second but the higher ups just put him on the do not hire list.

I also never followed a pattern during my walks around the engine room.

sidsal
14th December 2008, 22:28
I was apprentice on the Fort Camosun in WW2 and the senior apprentice was Pat Palin ( I have an amusing anecdote about him in the Neutrality thread).
Being a Pangbourne trained lad he was far from schooner rigged and possessed a naval greatcoat which reached well down below his knees and had two long rows of brass buttons.
As was usual the apprentice was put on the windward wing of the bridge whilst the OOW was on the leeward side - no keeping watch in the wheel house in those days.
Pat Palin told me that he had fond a great way to relax on watch - he said he unbuttoned his great coat and stood close to a stanchion which held up the monkey island and buttoned his coat around it. He then leaned back and relaxed. This was on the 12 to 4 at night.
This inovative method however came unstuck when there was a minor emergency and the 2nd Mate opened the wheel house door and told Pat to dash down below for something. It took him a while to release himself from the stanchion.

tunatownshipwreck
14th December 2008, 22:54
This happened shoreside but may still interest seafarers who often deal with port operations. My father and several of his shipmates noticed a night watchman sound asleep in his chair at the entrance to a pier warehouse. They picked up his chair with him in it and took it around the corner and halfway down the pier, quietly leaving him there. They saw him again on occasion, never mentioning the incident, leaving him to privately wonder for the rest of his days who had done it. He was never noticed to doze off again.

Dave I
14th December 2008, 22:56
Had a second mate join in Rotterdam, new to the company and to us. We sailed for Sidon and eventually were due to arrive on the 12 to 4 in the early hours. The old man put in his night orders he wanted to be called 25 miles from Sidon, fortunately the Sparks decided not to change watches and therefore his last watch didn't finish until 0100. He finished his watch and then decided to go up for a cup of cocoa before he turned in, he found the second mate stretched out fast asleep on the chart table and Sidon dead ahead at 6 miles with the ship doing 16 knots. Sparks took the autopilot off, reversed the course and called the old man.
The second mate was fired and left in Sidon, when his bond bill was added up by the chief steward his gin consumption was such that the bottle of orange juice he was never without was almost certainly a bottle of gin topped up with a bit of orange. Nobody who worked with him picked it up and we all had a lot to thank the sparks for cos as you know the end of the Med is the end you can't go around it!!

Steve Woodward
14th December 2008, 23:34
The RN back in Nelsons days had the right idea.
The first time you were caught asleep on watch you got a bucket of cold water poured inside your clothes, this was repeated for the second offence.
After the third offence you were suspended below the bowsprit with a bottle of rum, a loaf of bread and a knife and left to your own devices , no one committed more than three offences.
These days the worst punishment seems to be being posted on youtube as this sleepy head discovered HERE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erNSuXrcEOU)

Bill Davies
14th December 2008, 23:51
Had a second mate join in Rotterdam, new to the company and to us. We sailed for Sidon and eventually were due to arrive on the 12 to 4 in the early hours. The old man put in his night orders he wanted to be called 25 miles from Sidon, fortunately the Sparks decided not to change watches and therefore his last watch didn't finish until 0100. He finished his watch and then decided to go up for a cup of cocoa before he turned in, he found the second mate stretched out fast asleep on the chart table and Sidon dead ahead at 6 miles with the ship doing 16 knots. Sparks took the autopilot off, reversed the course and called the old man.
The second mate was fired and left in Sidon, when his bond bill was added up by the chief steward his gin consumption was such that the bottle of orange juice he was never without was almost certainly a bottle of gin topped up with a bit of orange. Nobody who worked with him picked it up and we all had a lot to thank the sparks for cos as you know the end of the Med is the end you can't go around it!!

I don't know whether there is any truth in this but I heard of a Ch. Off in Silver Line (Ore Carriers) who used to arrive on watch sober as a judge with a bag of oranges. End of watch he was three sheets etc,. Understand he use to spike (Hyperdermic needle) his oranges with gin (EEK) .

chadburn
15th December 2008, 17:39
These days it appears that the main problem with watchkeeping is that the O.O.W. have their heads down looking at a Computer Screen with nobody actually looking out visually, one of the most recent incidents includes one ship hitting a Lightship. It has happened in the recent past where Aircraft have crashed because both Pilot's have had their heads down and neither of them is actually flying the aircraft but in their case the high speed is a main factor in not being able to take any corrective action in time.

Brent Pyburn
15th December 2008, 18:26
Although this is not a ship incident it does have a maritime flavour. In 1989 I was running the oil spill response centre in Southampton. We had a callout to respond to the Exxon Valdez incident in Alaska on the night the ship ran aground. We chartered a 737F and loaded it with first response equipment and sent it on its way with one of the senior supervisors from the centre. The supervisor was allocated the jump seat behind the engineer and being an early morning flight duly fell asleep as they cleared the UK west coast. After a few hours he suddenly awoke and guess what woke him? Yes all three flight crew were fast asleep and two of them were snoring. The supervisor being the laid back type of person he was assumed they knew what they we doing and promptly fell asleep again. When he woke up again the crew were wide awake and took the mickey out of him for being asleep for so long!

mikeg
15th December 2008, 19:07
These days it appears that the main problem with watchkeeping is that the O.O.W. have their heads down looking at a Computer Screen with nobody actually looking out visually, one of the most recent incidents includes one ship hitting a Lightship. It has happened in the recent past where Aircraft have crashed because both Pilot's have had their heads down and neither of them is actually flying the aircraft but in their case the high speed is a main factor in not being able to take any corrective action in time.

I wonder especially in the case of light aircraft that adjustments to the GPS has added to workload and takes more of the pilots concentration. Of course it should have been programmed on the ground but there's always that 'fiddle factor' That's was one thing that struck me (no pun intended) when learning to fly just how much work there actually was, scanning instruments, ATC comms, outside awareness and then flying the thing. Correctly it's Aviate - Navigate - Communicate..easier said.

Noddy-Billing
15th December 2008, 19:57
I cannot beat the story about the 'Old Man' pinching the ship's wheel, but many years ago I was on a coaster which often visited a port where the Royal Navy put an armed guard on board. One night, one of the engine-room duty guys went into the mess to get his nightly 'sarny' and cup of coffee to find the armed sentry stretched out asleep on the settee, with his rifle alongside him. Bill silently 'stole' the rifle's bolt, left the messroom and then re-entered it rather noisily. The sentry awoke, and grabbing his rifle, challenged Bill. When Bill pointed out that the rifle had no bolt and therefore unable to fire, the guy died a hundred deaths, working out how he could report the loss to his superiors! needless to say, the bolt was returned before the sentry's relief arrived onboard.

sidsal
15th December 2008, 20:23
When I was doing my night rating after getting my pilot's licence I did circuits at East Midlands airport at night. An instructor - Ron Robinson used to accompany me from Manchester airport. He was a most relaxed chap and as I landed and took off I glanced at him once and he was fast asleep. Once on the way back to Manchester we were in cloud and he said - " I have control". he throttled back pulled the stick right back until the plane stalled and put it into a spin. I sat there petrified and before long we emerged from the cloud with the lights on the ground going round and round. He said - " Iove doing that". I was petrified.
He was a good tutor though.. One night we were heading back to Manchester having done night crcuits at Blackpool. The airspeed dropped back so I applied more power but soon it dropped back again and so I applied even more power. This did not cure the problem so I pushed the throttles full open. I said I thought we had a problem and he told me to consider the possibilities.. Of course, the crafty so-and so had applied flaps gradually until we were flying with flaps fully down. It taught me a lesson.

mikeg
16th December 2008, 12:44
Wow, that's crazy spinning through cloud, bet that got your full attention!! Sneakey though re the flaps, guess you were still within the white arc though sidsal?
My second hour of training my instructor cut the engine and said 'See, it doesn't fall out of the sky - you have control, just fly around for a while'
Suppose it gives instructors a break from the training monotony??

mcotting
16th December 2008, 13:28
A former watchpartner (from the Phillippines) related to me that he had once sailed as AB on a FOC vessel on the Third Mate's (also a Phillippino) watch. One night this 3/M told him to awaken him if anything came up as he (the 3/M) was going to catch some sleep on the chart table.
After a while, being as he was also tired, this AB went to sleep himself on the deck of the wheelhouse. The entire watch asleep!
I told my watch partner that he should get his license. That way next time he can get the chart table. Lol.

Peter Eccleson
16th December 2008, 13:51
A former colleague on passenger ships regularly fell asleep on the 4-8 watch. He was a dab hand at it! Anyone passing the radio room door would see him with headphones on and one hand on the morse key with his head propped up by his left hand......he even had his wrist twitching occassionally!
One night though, all was lost. He lost the pose and was spotted with his head lolled back and his mouth wide open snoring loudly.
The then First Officer called me up to the radio room to 'witness' the spectacle (since I was on the 12-4 at that time and was not long off watch). This particular First Officer enjoyed lemon in his tea. He arrived in the radio room with a wedge of a fresh lemon and squeezed it down the throat of 'sleeping beauty' .... who tasted and swallowed .... but remained asleep!
Happy days 'FB' where ever you are!

Frank P
16th December 2008, 15:05
In 1967 while I was onboard the M/S Else Reith we had just gone through the Kiel Canal and being a German ship usually we had some of the crew members family onboard for the transit, on this particular trip the 2nd mates family were onboard, so the 3rd mate said that he would do the 2nd mates watch for him. What the 3rd Mate had not reckoned with is that he would also be tired. We left the Holtenau locks at night and a couple of hours later he had dozed off and we ran at full speed straight up the beach on the Danish coast near to Hyllekrog, we were lucky in that it was a sandy beach and it was not a rocky place, we were aground for about 36 hours before 3 fishing boats eventually pulled us of the beach.
I have posted some photos of the incident

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=11495

There is also a Danish web site that documents the incident. Page 13 incident Number 49

http://216.239.59.104/search?q=cache:e2OZO6LcbYQJ:www.sbib.dk/documents/Dansk_soeulykkestatistik/1967_001-087.pdf+%22m/s+else+reith%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=uk

Cheers Frank(Thumb)

R58484956
16th December 2008, 16:01
Sailing between Colombo and Freemantle, it was my job as a junior to go on the bridge and check an oil level relative to the steering of the ship, on entry two mates both asleep on each wing, two other crew one sitting on chart table, arms folded fast asleep and the other one asleep in a chair. 4 lads all asleep We literally had to swerve to miss the islands halfway down.
Reported to the 3rd who reported to the Chief what I had seen, as sure enough the bridge wanted to know why the junior had not been up to check the level. No more was heard !!

Bill Davies
16th December 2008, 21:44
Following the incident on the 'Elwood Mead' I was advised that the then Marine Super of the managers Hendy International Jim Hood ( later, of TK shipping fame) issued a General Directive removing all Pilot chairs from the Bridge's. It was no surprise that this was picked up by all the other US companies, Marcona, Ogdens, Union oil etc, etc,. Pleased to say that we in NBC did not receive a directive from our office as 'old Dan' did not stretch to Pilot chairs.
We did get a circular some time later reminding us all of the need for vigilance in congested waters and the hazards to ones health of imbibing alcohol (when ashore).
God forbid the thought of any one drinking onboard.

Later in my career, especially in my final 10 years the Pilot chair was a welcome respite for the hours occasioned on the Bridge (for my use only)

ray bloomfield
3rd January 2009, 00:06
On a more serious note. I remember an event back in 72, 26.12.72 to be specific, when the 'Elwood Mead' went aground. A dear colleague of mine from NBC had his career wrecked due to a drunken Second Mate from Southport (Nr.Liverpool) fell asleep on the bridge under the influence of Xmas day excesses. Had an effect on me throughout my remaining career when the Mates would never know when to expect me. I never followed a pattern thereafter. It paid off.

Bill, happy new year.
And there was me thinking that only since the days of certs of service, which you think are wrong, did the standards fall to unexceptable levels. How come whoever was the lookout didn't complain to his superior officer about the 2nd mates sobriety and why was it the 2nd mate who was on watch in shallow water surely it should have been the chief or master. Please correct me if I surmise wrongly.

sidsal
3rd January 2009, 15:57
I had a very good pal with whom I had been freindly since he was senior apprentice and I was his junior on the Fort Camosun. He was from Pangbourne Nautical College and was well rigged out. He possessed a naval officer's greatcoat which reached down to his ankles and had several rows of brass buttons.
He was on watch with the 2nd Mate on the 12 to 4. In those far off days bridge watches were kept strictly in the open - if you were found in the wheelhouse you were promptly told to get out and keep watch. Naturally the officer on watch would choose the lee side and the poor apprentice the windward. Pat ( my pal) told me he had found a great way of having a snooze on watch. He would unbutton his coat and pass it round a stanchion and button it right up. He could then lean back an snooze standing up.
However this great method came to a sudden end when there was a panic and the 2nd Mate opened the door and told Pat to rush down below for something. Of course he could not extricate himself from his coat for a while and got a right telling off !

Arthur Jenner
4th January 2009, 03:21
Just after the war and I was on a small coastal tanker. We were heading up the Thames esuary to Shell Haven. We had an enormous hand wheel which was very hard work and very small steam one. Mostly it was in hand mode. I was on the wheel. The Captain was in the front of the wheel house leaning on the cill. I noticed a small navy ship off our starboard bow. It was signalling to us. My knowledge of morse was rather primitive so I said to the Captain "That ship is signalling us". No response. He was fast asleep. I shouted and he woke with a start. He saw the message and roared at me "Hard a port. That's a bloody minesweeper sweeping and we have strayed into a minefield." I tried to move the wheel but hard-a-port was impossible until he switched to steam operation. Imagine an empty tanker full of gas from the previous aviation fuel cargo hitting a mine. We were lucky.

spongebob
4th January 2009, 05:06
I visited a new German container ship, Berlin Express I think, while she was berthed in Auckland in the early nineties. I was shown around the bridge which was fully automated to the extent that the head office in Bremen could control the ship remotely from there.
The officer of the watch had virtually nothing to do and to ensure that he stayed awake he had to press a "dead man's button" every 5minutes or so. If he forgot a light flashed for a brief period and further inattention brought on a low level buzzer. If both of these prompts were ignored an alarm sounded in the Captains cabin and finally after a full minute of delay a siren roused the whole ship's company.
Apparently even this system saw a few failures as someone dropped off and had the ignominy of waking the ship.

Bob

RayJordandpo
4th January 2009, 09:02
The officer of the watch had virtually nothing to do and to ensure that he stayed awake he had to press a "dead man's button" every 5minutes or so. If he forgot a light flashed for a brief period and further inattention brought on a low level buzzer. If both of these prompts were ignored an alarm sounded in the Captains cabin and finally after a full minute of delay a siren roused the whole ship's company.
Apparently even this system saw a few failures as someone dropped off and had the ignominy of waking the ship.

I was on a vessel with exactly the same system. We were taking the ship brand new from the builders yard in Norway to Mexico. I joined just before we sailed and didn't know anything about this system. After handing over the watch to me at midnight the Captain and I were sat chatting in the bridge chairs, every couple of minutes he kept leaping up waving his arms in the air then sat back down again as though nothing had happened. I thought Christ! this guy has lost it. When he saw I was taken aback he laughed and explained about setting off the alarms if movement was not detected. To be honest it was a pain in the butt, you couldn't keep still for a minute never mind fall asleep. We even tried putting a fan with streamers attached in front of the sensors to no avail, it was having none of it. It was just dying to set of the alarms but luckily no one was caught out that trip

RayJordandpo
4th January 2009, 13:33
How come whoever was the lookout didn't complain to his superior officer about the 2nd mates sobriety?

If his sobriety was in question why did the previous officer of the watch hand over in the first place?

John Campbell
8th January 2009, 21:14
This month's edition of SHIPSTALK.COM contains this article which is very interesting



SAFETY
Wake up and smell the coffee

A recent survey of seafarers in Finland revealed that 17% of respondents confessed to having fallen asleep on watch, 40% said they were near to nodding off, and 20% had been involved in near-miss situations as a result of drowsiness. Now, we know the winter is dark in Finland, but really this is most concerning!

Attempts have been made at breaking the snoozy cycle, the “Hours of Work Regulations” for instance state that seafarers need to get a minimum 77 hours rest per 7 days…which essentially means they can happily work a 91 hour week!

When the rules green-light a 91 hours week, it’s no wonder that fatigue follows. If you are one of the lucky ones who can’t imagine what 91 hours feels like…allow us to illustrate. During this time you could watch Gone with the Wind 25 times, see 60.6 football games. Usain Bolt could run from London to Suez, and your dear Editor could make sweet love about 11,000 times…

Fatigue is old news, but whereas other modes of transport take it extremely seriously, we seem rather more blasé about it. A huge body of evidence exists to prove that fatigue leads to accidents but we just don’t fix the problem. Studies in the US have shown personnel working between 77 and 81 hours a week caused 36% more serious errors than those working around 65 hours per week.

While air pilots get their beauty sleep, and the tachograph “spy in the cab” makes sure lorry drivers get their regular Yorkie breaks, we are left to carry on regardless for hour after hour.

Seafarers know what it is to be fatigued, and while coffee, cigarettes, and a quick blast of sea air may keep you from beaching in the land of nod for a while – these are not the answer long term. As the accidents and incidents stack up, it is clear we need to have a strategy to combat this menace.

The “work, rest and play” legislation, which let’s face it is pretty generous on the work front, is all too widely flouted, logbooks are routinely flogged and manning is often at such a level that it would be physically impossible to stay within the limits, let alone to remain safe, secure, and clean (note, we’re talking the environment here, not personal hygiene)….

The past few years have seen ships working hard, damn hard – but now as the pressure of continual work is seemingly letting up, perhaps we can finally invest in the cultural and operational shift to head off more disasters.

The alarm clock is ticking and there will be another avoidable accident owing to fatigue very soon…are we doing enough to stop it? The answer seems clear Zzzzzzzz
JC

Bill Davies
8th January 2009, 22:38
Bill, happy new year.
And there was me thinking that only since the days of certs of service, which you think are wrong, did the standards fall to unexceptable levels. How come whoever was the lookout didn't complain to his superior officer about the 2nd mates sobriety and why was it the 2nd mate who was on watch in shallow water surely it should have been the chief or master. Please correct me if I surmise wrongly.

And a Happy New Year to you Ray and Rayjordonpro,

Apologies for not responding sooner. In answer to your question.

The ship'Elwood Mead' owned by Kaiser and managed by Hendy had the usual league of nations as Mates and Engineers. The ratings were all Spanish via an agency Jose Maria Candina. On the voyage in question (her maiden voyage incidentally) there were three Brits onboard. The Ch.Eng, The Second Mate and Third Mate. The vessel was on course from Ushant to Casquets and when the Second Mate arrived on the bridge the German Master ( a dear friend of mine ) was asleep on the Chart room settee. Night orders has been logged. The Third Officer (from Salford) decided through some misguided sense of loyalty not to alert the Master to the state of the Second Officer. In hindsight, it was acknowledged that he could have awaked the Master without openly doing so and incur the Second Mates wrath. However, around 02:30hrs the Spanish AB actually shook the Second Mate awake and advised of a ship 'dead ahead'. The Second Mate altered course to Starboard and went back to the Pilot chair and again fell asleep. At approx 03:45hrs the vessel ran aground on West Grounes. She was eventually sold to Good Faith Shipping as a CTL. The owner renamed her 'Good Leader' (economic with the name change).
Ironic, in that the Second Officer had a history of alcohol abuse when on the previous voyage as Third Mate on the sistership 'Trentwood' he managed overloaded the ship to such an extent that the vessel was severely 'hogged' (22") on sailing Dampier. He was not reported to Hendy because the German Master and Scottish Ch.Mate were ashore and knew they would lose their jobs if they did so.

Not a pleasant story but there you have it. The incident left its mark on me (for better or worse) as it destroyed the Master who was on his final voyage before retirement.

Bill Davies
8th January 2009, 22:45
Before our non sefaring friends ask. CTL....Constructive Total Loss

pete
9th January 2009, 00:18
Gentlemen, I have been reading this thread with increasing interest.
I have been retired from the MN for many years. I do appreciate that Ships Compliments are reducing even as I type this but I was taught by my Father (Master MN), at Warsash where I did my pre-sea and by my Tutors in Plymouth, where I studied for my Tickets that one was never late to relieve the watch, always in complete control, and NEVER NEVER fell asleep on watch or leave the bridge unattended. If you need to sit down put a couple of Tin Tacks on the seat.

Now don't get me wrong, I have been late on watch on occasion, I have arrived on the Bridge with one hell of a hangover but never, ever fell asleep

.....................pete

PollY Anna
9th January 2009, 17:12
You and me both Pete I never fell asleep too frightened that the 2nd mate would see me and get me logged and I would lose money that I could ill afford, loss of funds to me was a great incentive to do my job. It was tough at home and all my money went home, but that is another story. I expect some would say I was telling porky pies but believe me I enjoyed a good relationship with all my 2nd Mates I found that they had got past the I am an officer and not far enough up the ladder to start feeling the responsibility of a senior rank

Regards Ron

RayJordandpo
9th January 2009, 17:56
I work 12 hours on watch 7 days a week, plus time for handovers, drills safety meetings, pre-watch meetings etc etc. I am on permanent nights (midnight - noon) After 24 hours travelling and straight on watch my body clock is totally out of synch. I would be lying if I said I haven't come very close to nodding off on watch, especially the first few days on board. When I worked in Brazil, Petrobras carried out a survey relating to unsociable working hours. They reckon for every hour your body clock is out of synch from normal it takes one full day to acclimatise. i.e. 7 hours = one week. They also maintain that the worse thing you can do is change watches halfway through the trip, that really screws your body up. I worked offshore Australia on one month on and one month off, very nice except the travelling and watches were a real killer.

sidsal
9th January 2009, 18:30
Ray
Wot on earth is your job ?
Sounds horrendous to me unles you get one week on and one year off !!

japottinger
9th January 2009, 18:36
Not exactly sleeping on watch but same theme. I was out in Korea at Hyundai shipyard on a job on the multiple Kuwait Shipping Co ships and the drydocks were straddled by massive 300 ton gantry cranes. A fully uniformed and gaitered watchman used to sit in a chair beside one of the legs when it was rigging a lift, unfortunately the noon day sun got the better of him and the crane moved away up the to the head of the dock leaving him slumped on his chair in the middle of nowhere.

RayJordandpo
10th January 2009, 15:40
Ray
Wot on earth is your job ?
Sounds horrendous to me unles you get one week on and one year off !!

Hi sidsal
I work in the offshore sector as a DPO or to give it it's full title 'Dynamic Positioning Officer' (although there is nothing "Dynamic" about me, I can assure you of that). A lot of information about it can be found online though basically it is keeping a vessel as stationary as possible utilising thrusters and propellors. Lots of different types of vessels now use DP. i.e. dive support vessels, semi-submersible rigs, flotells, dredgers etc. even some cruise ships (to avoid anchoring). Don't get me wrong, it is a very cushy number and pays well, it is just the long watches can sometimes be a drag and the travelling can be a bummer.

sidsal
10th January 2009, 16:21
Hi Ray
Sounds very technical to me ! Where do you work ?
Are you one who is called in to different jobs ?
Things have become so technical since my days at sea in the steam age ( almost the age of sail !!)

RayJordandpo
10th January 2009, 17:18
I've been a DPO for the last 25 years and have worked world wide. I am presently in the Gulf of Mexico on a Flotell (accommodation rig) I have been on this rig for the past 4 years, from the builders yard in Singapore. Other DP vessels I have sailed on include, dive support, cable and pipe laying and drilling rigs. Before that I worked for a number of years on ocean going salvage tugs (still my favourite job)

sidsal
10th January 2009, 20:52
Ray
Chaps like you seem to have a much more interesting jobs than ploughing the oceans from one oil terminal to the other. Ocean tugs must be exciting !
Sid

pete
10th January 2009, 21:59
Nobody, but NOBODY can work at 100% of their capability if working 24/7. It don't work.
No wonder accidents occur with increasing rapidity....................pete

surfaceblow
10th January 2009, 22:33
Some very old penalties for sleeping on watch:

For sleeping on watch once a dousing, twice a double dousing, thrice bound to the mainmast for a day and night. Four times hung at the bowsprit end till he cuts himself down or starved to death.

Dave437
16th January 2009, 23:47
I can remember in the 1960s as 2nd Mate on a Clan Boat leaving Capetown homeward bound, at 23.00hrs having loaded cargo all day and the previous night (yes, unusual I know, but for some reason on this occasion we did!), filling in the cargo plan for transmission to London then standby and departure. I filled in the departure log, plotted a few positions until we were clear of the coast and steering 346deg (I think) and went out to the wheelhouse to have a quick look around and leaned up against the wheelhouse window. The QM woke me at one bell (quarter to 4am) because he had to leave the bridge to call the next watch. Oh yes, I fell asleep on watch, a terrible crime. But I had been on duty (Cargo watch, cargo plan, stand by, departure, bridge watch) continuously for about 30 hours. I must admit that this situation was not unusual in those days, but it did happen, and it is surprising that more accidents did not occur. Surely legislation has been introduced to avoid a similar situation today, I certainly hope so.

Arthur Jenner
15th February 2009, 01:01
You and me both Pete I never fell asleep too frightened that the 2nd mate would see me and get me logged and I would lose money that I could ill afford, loss of funds to me was a great incentive to do my job. It was tough at home and all my money went home, but that is another story. I expect some would say I was telling porky pies but believe me I enjoyed a good relationship with all my 2nd Mates I found that they had got past the I am an officer and not far enough up the ladder to start feeling the responsibility of a senior rank

Regards Ron

Yes. I always found that 2nd mates were more friendly than other officers. That's very strange, isn't it

BobClay
15th February 2009, 01:21
In CP I was underneath the engine room control console once tracing out a wire on the alarm annunciator. I noticed another wire pair, with bayonet clips, dangling down. Closer inspection showed it was disconnected from a klaxon horn, a huge bloody thing that looked like it had been salvaged from one of the watchtowers at Stalag22. Thinking that vibration must have disconnected it, I re-attached the wire.

At dinner the 2nd Engineer kindly asked me to disconnect that horn. He explained he had been sitting with his feet up (not asleep I might add) having his cuppa when some innocuous alarm sounded. This was not the usual high pitched but none panic inducing warble, but a huge mega-decibel armageddon alarm which made him rise six foot into the air dumping his coffee all over the control room.

His request to disconnect it was made with some force …. (cough) …. and I duly complied.

(egg)

BobClay
15th February 2009, 12:15
Sorry about the above posting lads, I thought I was in the Mess Deck, not on the Bridge.

I guess I was asleep on watch ......

(?HUH)

gas_chief
28th March 2009, 17:12
I can remember in the 1960s as 2nd Mate on a Clan Boat leaving Capetown homeward bound, at 23.00hrs having loaded cargo all day and the previous night (yes, unusual I know, but for some reason on this occasion we did!), filling in the cargo plan for transmission to London then standby and departure. I filled in the departure log, plotted a few positions until we were clear of the coast and steering 346deg (I think) and went out to the wheelhouse to have a quick look around and leaned up against the wheelhouse window. The QM woke me at one bell (quarter to 4am) because he had to leave the bridge to call the next watch. Oh yes, I fell asleep on watch, a terrible crime. But I had been on duty (Cargo watch, cargo plan, stand by, departure, bridge watch) continuously for about 30 hours. I must admit that this situation was not unusual in those days, but it did happen, and it is surprising that more accidents did not occur. Surely legislation has been introduced to avoid a similar situation today, I certainly hope so.
Yes, there is legislation. So what we do not is fill in our "hours of rest" in a program. This the calculates how many hours you've had per day/ per week etc etc. If there is a deviation it sends the data to another form. At the end of the Month this stuff gets transmitted to the office. Then nothing happens. Been filling this form for about 6 years now. I only remember this one old man who kept watch for me on the morning 04-08 after we sailed out from load port. Rest of the time, it was when can I get off this damn bridge and hit the sack!