Question 6. When approaching a pilot station, to take the Marine
Pilot, you are sent down below to meet the pilot on deck at the ladder
position. What actions would you take when at the ladder position?
• As a responsible Officer, I would inspect the rigging of the ladder,
especially the deck securing hitches of the ladders rope tails.
4 THE SEAMANSHIP EXAMINER
• I would further ensure that the stanchions and manropes were
• The pilot station would expect to have a heaving line and a lifebuoy
readily available and I would check that these are on hand.
• It must be anticipated that the stand-by man would also be on station
and the immediate deck area was safe and clear of obstructions.
• If all was in order I would report to the bridge (by two-way radio)
my presence at the ladder station and that all was ready to receive
the pilot on board.
• I would report again to the bridge that the pilot was on the ladder
and when he had attained the deck position.
Note: Pilot entry may be obtained via a shell door in some cases and access
procedures may be changed to suit the opening and closing of the door.
Question 7. As the OOW, how often would you be expected to take
an azimuth/amplitude in order to obtain a compass error?
Answer: Most certainly every watch, and on every alteration of course,
within the watch period (exception under pilotage where transits maybe
a possible alternative). Also in the event that I was concerned about
the reliability of the ‘gyro’ or ‘magnetic compass’ (i.e. concern may be
caused by magnetic anomalies).
Note: Some shipping companies policies may differ from this procedure.
Question 8. When the vessel is at anchor, what would you consider as
the main functions of the OOW?
Answer: When conducting an ‘anchor watch’ the ship is still considered
as being at sea. As such the prime duty of the OOW is to maintain
an effective lookout, by all available means, including visual, audible
Neither would I allow the vessel to stand into danger and would
check the position at regular intervals to ensure that the ship was not
‘dragging her anchor’.
Position monitoring while at anchor would entail checking by
primary and secondary position fixing methods, i.e. checking Visual
Anchor Bearings, Radar Range and Bearings, Global Positioning System
(GPS) and optional transit marks if obtainable.
QUESTIONS FOR THE RANK OF OFFICER OF THE WATCH 5
While at anchor the OOW would monitor the state of visibility, the
state of the weather, especially wind and tide changes, and traffic movement
in and out of the anchorage. Navigation signals should be checked
continuously that they are visible and lights are correctly functioning.
Access to the ship would also be of concern and The International Ship
and Port Security (ISPS) Code controls would be implemented.
The very high frequency (VHF) radio would be monitored throughout
for communication traffic. Log Books would be maintained, and
the Master kept informed of anything untoward.
Question 9. When approaching a pilotage station, when you require
a pilot, describe the actions and duties of the OOW.
Answer: As OOW, and when approximately 1 hour from the pilot station,
I would comply with the International Safety Management (ISM)
checklist and anticipate the following actions:
(a) Advise the Master of the expected estimated time of arrival (ETA)
to the pilot boat rendezvous.
(b) Establish communications with the pilot station and advise the
pilot of the ship’s name and ETA. It would be normal practice to
ascertain the pilot ladder details (e.g. side for ladder and height
above water). Also the local weather conditions at the rendezvous
position would be established to enable the Master to provide a
‘lee’ for the launch.
(c) Continuous position monitoring should be ongoing throughout
(d) Under keel clearance would be monitored through out, on
approach, by use of the echo sounder.
(e) An effective lookout would be maintained throughout the
(f) The bridge team would be established to include changing from
auto to manual steering and the positioning of extra lookouts.
(g) Log Book entries would be made throughout.
(h) All correct signals would be indicated, prior to approach.
(i) Engines would be placed on ‘stand-by’ in ample time and astern
(j) The ETA would be updated with the pilotage authority and the
speed of engagement with the launch, clarified.
(k) Radar reduced to 6 mile range on approach, and a sharp lookout
maintained for small traffic and through traffic, affecting the area.
(l) Master would take the ‘conn’.
6 THE SEAMANSHIP EXAMINER
Question 10. When instructed to inspect, check and test the bridge
navigation equipment, prior to sailing, what actions would you take?
Answer: I would follow the company ‘checklist’ with regard to checking
the bridge equipment. This would necessitate the duty engineer
monitoring the rudder and steering gear inside the ‘steering flat’, as
the steering gear systems are tested from amidships to hard over to
Rudder movement would be monitored by the movement of the
‘rudder indicator’ on the bridge.
Radars would be switched on and performance tested, and left in the
‘stand-by’ mode, not switched off. All navigation lights and domestic
lights would be tested, together with all instrument lights.
Checks would be made on the echo sounder, communication equipment,
signalling apparatus, inclusive of ship’s whistles and the engine
room telegraph synchronisation.
An entry would be made into the Deck Log Book, that all equipment
was found satisfactory and in good order.
The Master would be informed that the bridge equipment had been
checked and no defects found.