Definition of terms, wheelhouse, bridge, chart room, radio room...

Andrew Craig-Bennett
12th February 2012, 18:12
Am I right about this?

The "bridge deck" was originally a deck erection on sidewheel paddle steamers which extended from the top of one paddle box to the other, forming a bridge between them and allowing the officer of the watch, standing on it, a clear view ahead, which he would not have had from his traditional position on the poop.

Fairly soon after this innovation, the wheel was moved to the bridge deck and connected to the rudder head with steering rods and chains. In due course the steering engine made its appearance.

When screw steamers came in, the bridge deck was retained as a transverse deck erection in a position ahead of the funnel(s) and it continued to be built from one side of the ship to the other.

In a ship with an open bridge, it was necessary to house the charts somewhere dry, and originally this was the Master's cabin; after a while the idea that lesser officers might like to consult the chart resulted in the construction of a chart house.

The central section of the bridge deck, containing the wheel, was enclosed in a wheel house, and the chart house was erected just aft of, but adjacent to, the wheel house, becoming the chart room.

When radio came in the radio room was added adjacent to the chart room.

Today we have the chart room and the radio room within the wheel house but the bridge itself includes the bridge wings either side of the wheelhouse. Unless, eg, the ship is ice class and the bridge wings are enclosed within the wheelhouse.

Is that right?

Stephen J. Card
12th February 2012, 18:48
I'd say you are spot on.

Almost all of today's passenger ships have completely enclosed bridges. With the Carnival fleet this goes back to when Ted Arison owned the company. He said he was not going to pay millions of dollars for electronics on the bridge to have them outside in the rain!

On the bridge of the COSTA VICTORIA there is a Captain's Sitting Area. Large space with comfortable seating for about 12... serving the best 100% Arabica.

Barrie Youde
12th February 2012, 18:50
Hi, Andrew,

I claim no authority, but it all makes sense to me.

A snippet which I do recall from the station-keeping Liverpool Pilot-cutters of the 20th century was that the Master's accommodation was always referred to as "the chartroom", for the reasons which you spell out as applied in larger ships.

Mad Landsman
12th February 2012, 19:18
I might be wrong but I was led to understand that;

The first use of an actual bridge, or deck bridging the main deck, was as a result of steam power. The funnel not only obstructed the view from the poop it also emitted clouds of smoke which tended to pass over the stern and into the faces of anyone standing there.

The first bridge probably spanned the paddle boxes but as steam power developed the funnel was still forward of this 'new' position. The bridge was then moved forward again with its own supports, where it is found on many pictures of old paddle steamers.
The area beneath the new bridge extending back to the paddle boxes was often completely enclosed on passenger ships to provide cover. This meant that the bridge became the saloon roof, and another, higher, bridge was sometimes built.

The shape of all later ships then begins to emerge.

Bosun ken
22nd March 2012, 03:02
What I would like to know ,is how did " Monkey Island" get it's name

Wallace Slough
22nd March 2012, 03:31
Stephen refers to the completely enclosed bridges which are common on many ships today. Most pilots I know, including myself, hate the things. Piloting is very much a skill which requires a "feel" for what the ship is doing. That includes the ability to feel the force and direction of the wind and current. Star Shipping put enclosed wheel houses on many of their ships, and it was difficult to get a feel for what the ship was experiencing. I recall turning one of their ships from starboard side to port side to during a southerly wind on the dock. During the manuever, a front passed through and the wind rapidly increased to about 40 knots directly on the dock whereas it was only about 15 knots at the beginning of the manuever. We had no indication of the increase in the wind within the enclosed wheelhouse. Had I felt the wind's increase, I would have rapidly gotten an anchor down and driven the ship to the dock. We didn't have any damage landing the ship, but it was nip and tuck with the thruster full away and a pop on the ship's engine with the rudder hard over. I'll be cold and wet any day rather than in the envelope of an enclosed wheelhouse during the docking manuever. I like open bridge wings.

jamesgpobog
22nd March 2012, 03:52
What I would like to know ,is how did " Monkey Island" get it's name

Only a guess, derisive term by the crew for the officers up there?

Long gone
22nd March 2012, 10:35
Any one wanting to see an early ship's bridge could do no worse than to go to Bristol and tour the ss Great Britain.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
22nd March 2012, 11:15
Good thought. And the SS Robin offers a later open bridge so one can see the development.

I associate fully enclosed bridges with ice class. I do strongly approve of the practice of locating main engine and thruster controls on the bridge wings, but there is no need to enclose the bridge to do this.

Cisco
22nd March 2012, 11:22
I believe one of the findings at the enquiry into the loss of the second Wahine was that the enclosed bridge wings meant that the master had no true appreciation of how bad the weather was...

Something I mainly associate with US built ships was the practice of having portholes rather than windows in the wheelhouse meaning that it was just that... watchkeeping had to be done from the wings....

Varley
22nd March 2012, 11:26
Andrew,

Varley's first law of electricity at sea:

"There is no such thing as deck watertight".

Keep your controls and anything else not essential for normal operation inside (Available on request - one good example of wet bridge wing kit causing ME trip - some others less serious).

Second law:

"Canvas and tin covers ain't 'inside'".

David V

Wallace Slough
22nd March 2012, 16:09
Andrew: I totally agree with your comment that main engine and thruster controls should be located on the bridge wings. They can be housed in water tight cabinets which properly protect them from the elements. It's important that the person handling the ship can have direct control of the thruster control, and it should be located where he can operate it from the bridge wing during manuevering. Relaying the orders to a junior officer in the wheelhouse can lead to unacceptable errors. Instruments showing rudder angle, engine rpms, etc., must also be visible from the bridge wing.

I suppose enclosed bridge wings have their place on vessels which routinely operate in extreme conditions, but in my opinion those exceptions are limited.

Mad Landsman
22nd March 2012, 22:42
What I would like to know ,is how did " Monkey Island" get it's name

No idea, but the OED states that it is also known as a 'monkey bridge'.
Maybe, when first conceived, one used to have to climb up there, like a monkey.

A point about 'Bridge' - The French and Italians use the same word for both 'bridge' and 'deck' (pont, ponte) That may be a clue..

Andrew Craig-Bennett
22nd March 2012, 23:36
I believe one of the findings at the enquiry into the loss of the second Wahine was that the enclosed bridge wings meant that the master had no true appreciation of how bad the weather was...

Something I mainly associate with US built ships was the practice of having portholes rather than windows in the wheelhouse meaning that it was just that... watchkeeping had to be done from the wings....

I remember old US naval tugs in the Philippines with that arrangement. Thanks for the explanation, as it had puzzled me for years!

doug rowland
27th March 2012, 21:29
I have worked many ships with open bridge wings and latterly ships with totally enclosed wheelhouses. In my experience ship handling (ferries and cable ships of my experience) is certainly more positive from an open bridge wing, where all the senses allow a full appreciation of wind,weather,tide,speed and bodily movement of the vessel. Being fully enclosed means almost total reliance on instruments(if available ..anenometer,wind direction indicator,etc) .I would rather trust mark one eyeball and the feel of the elements than electronics!!

reefrat
28th March 2012, 06:49
And all the latest high speed ferries have the bridge designed to look like a fighter plane cockpit and no bridge wings,, how the master can see the berth gets me,,
The older high speed ferries had control positions out in the open on each side of the bridge and one could feel the breeze, check the tide and berth with a speed and precision that must be impossible with the current central position, which looked great in the photos but is really a matter of fashion rather than function

Waighty
29th March 2012, 14:23
Andrew: I totally agree with your comment that main engine and thruster controls should be located on the bridge wings. They can be housed in water tight cabinets which properly protect them from the elements. It's important that the person handling the ship can have direct control of the thruster control, and it should be located where he can operate it from the bridge wing during manuevering. Relaying the orders to a junior officer in the wheelhouse can lead to unacceptable errors. Instruments showing rudder angle, engine rpms, etc., must also be visible from the bridge wing.

I suppose enclosed bridge wings have their place on vessels which routinely operate in extreme conditions, but in my opinion those exceptions are limited.

When Hall Russell were building the SAL Class RMAS mooring and salvage vessels in the mid 1980s I asked the powers that be (complex in the MOD procurement system at the time) whether the engine and bow thruster controls could be bridge wing mounted in watertight cabinets, only to be old "NO". Strange then a couple of years later that the Navy's new hydrographic vessels did have the controls situated on the wings in watertight cabinets.

I accept that my 'NO' response may well have been because the design and costing stage was well past but even so I felt such a fitment would enhance shiphandling. They did however give us a cumbersome wandering bow thruster lead, complete with over the neck holding strap, to make it slightly more portable. When first tried on it reminded me of the ladies who used to serve ice cream in cinemas many moons ago! One still had to have someone on the wheel and engine controls though! Once familiarity with the vessels was established the wandering lead was little used.

Duncan112
29th March 2012, 17:43
When Hall Russell were building the SAL Class RMAS mooring and salvage vessels in the mid 1980s I asked the powers that be (complex in the MOD procurement system at the time) whether the engine and bow thruster controls could be bridge wing mounted in watertight cabinets, only to be old "NO". Strange then a couple of years later that the Navy's new hydrographic vessels did have the controls situated on the wings in watertight cabinets.

I accept that my 'NO' response may well have been because the design and costing stage was well past but even so I felt such a fitment would enhance shiphandling. They did however give us a cumbersome wandering bow thruster lead, complete with over the neck holding strap, to make it slightly more portable. When first tried on it reminded me of the ladies who used to serve ice cream in cinemas many moons ago! One still had to have someone on the wheel and engine controls though! Once familiarity with the vessels was established the wandering lead was little used.

Heard a tale (so it may well be Apocryphal) about an offshore vessel with a wandering lead, ship being handled from the bridge wing and bridge unoccupied, ship pitches and bridge wing door slides shut severing cable and jamming in the process.....

Andrew Craig-Bennett
31st March 2012, 16:35
I'm pretty sure that CNCo were, if not the first people to get a ship out of a Japanese yard with the main engine and thruster controls on the bridge wings, amongst the first, because there was a tremendous amount of huffing and puffing on the part of Mitsubishi (who were building the ships) and Mitsui (who were building the engines - getting a Mitsubishi ship with a Mitsui engine is a subject in itself...)

NoR
1st April 2012, 09:50
Only a guess, derisive term by the crew for the officers up there?

Wrong way round I'm afraid. The officers were on the bridge deck and the crew as lookouts were on the Monkey Island....which could also be described as the 'upper bridge' which usually housed the compass platform.

Nick Balls
1st April 2012, 11:36
Money Island probably comes from the term 'Monkey poop' this was the old sailing ship term for the roof of the poop cabin, a platform from which the officers could observe operations. Interestingly the term 'Monkey Jacket' was a watch-keeping jacket, which would have been used on just such a platform. I would think that the term was then transferred to 'Monkey island' with the advent of steam vessels where the platform was no longer at the vessels stern. The Monkey part of the phrase is nautically a reference to 'small' as in 'monkey block' So a 'small top deck' becomes our much loved Monkey Island.

RayJordandpo
1st April 2012, 20:38
Heard a tale (so it may well be Apocryphal) about an offshore vessel with a wandering lead, ship being handled from the bridge wing and bridge unoccupied, ship pitches and bridge wing door slides shut severing cable and jamming in the process.....

I was on a dive support vessel where a portable joystick manoeuvring station (position control or "poscon") could be taken out on the open bridge wing. The old man did just that whilst mooring alongside in Jebel Ali. Problem was he put it in the holder wrong way round so the more he put the joystick astern (or so he thought) he was actually going ahead. We hit a wall end with a good old thump damaging the bow.
I suggested marking the poscon and holder with a simple arrow or similar so such an accident couldn't be repeated. His answer was "Well that wouldn't be very professional would it?" I replied that it would be a lot more professional than what he had just done.
I only did the one trip on that ship