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  • Bridge watchkeeping time problem

    I've put this in the anonymous forum as it is a criticism of the trb. With most ships giving deck cadets a 4 hour watch and 4 hours plus of deck work per day how are you meant to get the required 6 months bridge watchkeeping time the trb states? It says that that 1 day counts as 8 hours, meaning on average 2 days would constitute one bridge watchkeeping day. When you sign on a ship the first few weeks you are usually a day man. I've had watches on previous ships and spent 6 months onboard all together, however have only got 2 and a half months bridge watchkeeping time due to this.

    Would it be do-able to count one 4 hour watch on the bridge as one watchkeeping day? As if on the next ship i'm put on 4 hours watch/4 hours daywork it's going to take up to 8 months to gain the required bridge watchkeeping time (time I don't have due to college), even though I only need 6 months more seatime!

  • #2
    In the later stages of your seatime you should really be on a watch "permanently" and working similar hours to the officer you're on watch with. So one day will give you one day's watchkeeping.
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    • #3
      Yeah, it is fairly normal for deck cadets to spend more time on deck in their first phase and more time on the bridge towards the end of their sea time.
      Go out, do stuff

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      • #4
        Generally during your first phase at sea the norm is that you should be out on deck most of the time working with the crew etc. I was hardly on the bridge during my first sea phase, think I only got 1.5 months bridge watchkeeping time. However as CD says during your last sea phase you will be understudying the OOW therefore you'll be mostly on the bridge with overtime for planned maintenance meaning you'll easily get the required minimum 6 months bridge watchkeeping.

        Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
        Would it be do-able to count one 4 hour watch on the bridge as one watchkeeping day?
        I actually don't know what to answer to that question because technically you need 8 hours to count as one day, hopefully some of the more experienced folk on here can help out :-)
        The bird is the word

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        • #5
          Yet another part of the TRB that is a bit ambiguous and causes confusion. Bit like the "12 months" seatime requirement...seen quite a bit of confusion over what constitutes a month, it should be down as 365 days making things more straightforward.

          I can't be bother to go and get my TRB out of the box it is in but I believe it says that in order for a day to be a "bridge watch keeping day" you must spend at least 8 hours out of 24 on the bridge. Then you need 6 months worth of these "days" to do your ticket. I always took this as meaning you only count the days where you are on the bridge for a four hour watch in the morning and a four hour watch in the evening. If I was spending half the day on the deck and only four hours on the bridge at night then I wasn't counting it, but maybe that is incorrect. In any case I just made up the number of watch keeping days because there is no way for them to verify it and the captain just signed whatever I put in front of him. I probably only did about a month and a half total on day work and the rest of the time was spent on the bridge, but I got Saturday afternoons and Sundays off so only got Saturday morning watchkeeping atthe weekend, this meant I only had the weekdays to get my watch keeping days in. We spent a couple of days in port each week as well and I wasn't counting that as bridge time either.

          The requirement should be in hours. 8 hours x 30 days x 6 months = 1440 hours. Just put that in the TRB and change the 12 months to 365 days would make things more straightforward IMO.

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          • #6
            The thing is this is my last sea trip :S

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            • #7
              Obviously the captain has to sign the testimonal to say the number of bridge watchkeeping days is correct, but does your captain even care? I just wrote down x months y days and got him to sign it. It was correct as far as the number of days I had done relating to my inperpretation what constitutes a bridge watchkeeping day goes, but I could've wrote whatever and he would still have signed it. Its hardly like he was keeping a record himself. But then my captain was foreign and had no idea about the TRB anyway...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
                The thing is this is my last sea trip :S
                I suggest you bring this issue up with the Shipboard Training Officer then.

                If you find that the crew are unwilling to assist you, contacting your shoreside training officer would be beneficial.

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                • #9
                  I have to say, having heard from my son who is on his first ship on his first sea phase that this all comes down to the Master, Chief Officer and crew on the ship.

                  He joined the ship and was immediately put onto the 4-8 watch in the evening on the bridge and 8-12 on daywork on deck. After a few weeks he swapped with the other cadet with him to 4-8 in the morning and 10:30 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 15:30 daywork. The Captain and Chief Officer spend every spare moment on the bridge teaching and testing them and both cadets say that they could not have better teachers. Maybe this will spoil them slightly for future trips - I hope not - but I cannot fault what they have told me so far. A bit of a mixed crew, Dutch Captain, Romanian First Officer, English 2/O, Chinese 3/O, but they all seem to put a lot of effort into the cadets......

                  The Captain is also keen for them to experience the world during their cadetship so has made sure that they get ashore as much as possible.

                  BUT....

                  I do know that my son and the other cadet with him are first to volunteer for things, they get stuck in, push to do things, are keen to do things for their TRB and so therefore the other Officers can see how much they want to do and so put the effort back into them.

                  If the officers can see you want to learn and work hard, they will reflect that back to you. Make the most of Outstanding Officers like this, they will do so much to enhance your cadetship.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
                    I've put this in the anonymous forum as it is a criticism of the trb. With most ships giving deck cadets a 4 hour watch and 4 hours plus of deck work per day how are you meant to get the required 6 months bridge watchkeeping time the trb states? It says that that 1 day counts as 8 hours, meaning on average 2 days would constitute one bridge watchkeeping day. When you sign on a ship the first few weeks you are usually a day man. I've had watches on previous ships and spent 6 months onboard all together, however have only got 2 and a half months bridge watchkeeping time due to this.

                    Would it be do-able to count one 4 hour watch on the bridge as one watchkeeping day? As if on the next ship i'm put on 4 hours watch/4 hours daywork it's going to take up to 8 months to gain the required bridge watchkeeping time (time I don't have due to college), even though I only need 6 months more seatime!
                    You say this is your last sea trip but you need 6 months more sea time? To be honest, you probably have more bridge time than I did at the 6 month mark. My first sea phase was spent almost entirely on deck work. I don't think the working pattern on 4hrs on bridge 4 hrs on deck is a particularly good idea, for a start, most officers do 8hrs watchkeeping a day AND 2 hrs maintenance work, (as for sat afternoon & the whole of sunday off.... I hope you're getting a lot of study time in!!). If I were you I'd speak to your training officer and ask to be given a more realistic working pattern, ie rotate round the watches on a monthly basis - doing a month with each officer gives you a good idea of what each watch does - eg, the 3rd will be on the 8-12 and maintain the LSA and FFA, the 2nd will be on 12-4 and have lots of chart corrections, GMDSS tests and checks to do while on watch, and probably have some alarm systems to check when not on watch, the 4-8 will be with the C/O, and you'll learn about inspections and stability with them...

                    Remember that your training on ship is for your benefit and it is up to you to take a lot of responsibility for getting what you need. The guidelines in the TRB are the MCA requirements, not just some arbitrary things made up by the MNTB, with 2 and a half months watchkeeping under your belt and 6 months in which to get the rest, you have plenty of time to get more than enough watchkeeping in, if you take the initiative to talk to your DSTO about what you need to do.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
                      The thing is this is my last sea trip :S
                      Now it is a completely different matter. I automatically assumed you were first say phase by the description of your working hours. As Faust says you should bring this up with your training officer, which usually is chief mate. Make the mate aware that you need 2 watches every 24 hours to get your 8 hours. Ha the 12 months sea time, always a source of confusion. I'm with Clyde and my training officer sent a link to a sea time calculator which has been approved by the MCA.

                      http://www.seatimecalculator.com/seatime.aspx
                      The bird is the word

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
                        The requirement should be in hours. 8 hours x 30 days x 6 months = 1440 hours. Just put that in the TRB and change the 12 months to 365 days would make things more straightforward IMO.
                        That would make it so much easier to keep an accurate record you could have a log in the TRB and fill in how many hours you did each week.

                        This would solve problems such as when on some ships you can spend 12 hours per day on the bridge but spend more time in port, or when you arrive/depart half way through your watch so you only get 6 hours bridge time that day.

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                        • #13
                          Yeah its like when people are training to become pilots they need X amount of "flying hours". They don't mess around with "oh well this many hours constitutes a day".

                          Its a complete nonsense and if it results in misinterprestations even between all of us going through the training system who have English as a first language, then imagine trying to explain it to someone who has no idea about the UK system.

                          I know they have supposedly "updated" the TRB recently, I assume these requirements are still the same? Were any cadets actually consulted during the revision of the TRB?

                          Although thinking about it just now I don't know if the way these things are set up is to do with STCW requirements as opposed to being something the MCA/MNTB can have any real influence on. If that is the case then I suppose there is not much we can do about it...

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                          • #14
                            The minimum requirements are an international standard as set by the IMO and are detailed in Chapter 2 of the STCW code (if you have access to a copy then I would recommend you have a read of it as it tells you all you need to know in a nice little table). The MNTB / MCA have interpreted these requirements and developed the UK system which complies with them.

                            For UK Deck Officers these details / requirements are summarised in MGN 92.

                            In short, for the OOW Unlimited Area / Tonnage you require; 36 months sea service - this requirement is reduced to 12 months qualifying service when following an approved MNTB training scheme. At least 6 months of the last 12 months sea service must have been whilst engaged in bridge watchkeeping duties.

                            http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mgn_092(m).pdf

                            Originally posted by MGN 92(m)
                            ....
                            3.2 General Requirements for Qualifying Sea Service

                            3.2.1 The qualifying service specified for any particular deck officer certificate of competency must be performed in the deck department and is reckoned from the date of engagement to the date of discharge. At least 6 months of the qualifying service must have been performed within the 5 years preceding the application. Sea service should normally be performed on merchant ships of at least 24 metres in length or not less than 80gt proceeding to sea. Other sea service may be accepted in lieu of a limited amount of service in specialised ships (see paragraph 3.7) or a limitation may be imposed on the certificate of competency.

                            3.2.2 Candidates for certification as officer of the navigational watch (OOW) are required to produce a statement from their employers, or the master(s) under whom they have served, that at least 6 of the last 12 months of their sea service have been spent on navigational watchkeeping duties under the supervision of a certificated officer. These duties may include keeping a lookout on the bridge or acting as helmsman but should not generally exceed 2 months out of the required 6 months. Where watchkeeping service is required for other certificates, candidates must provide proof of having served as watchkeeping officer for not less than 8 hours out of every 24 hours service claimed.

                            3.2.3 Trainee deck officers must produce evidence that an approved training programme (details in Part 8) has been followed, and that all service while on board ship was performed in a satisfactory manner. Not more than 2 months of that service may have been spent standing-by a new vessel during the final stages of construction, in dry dock, or undergoing engine repairs. Candidates who fail to produce satisfactory evidence that they have followed a training programme approved by the MCA may be required to complete an additional period of sea service before being considered eligible for a certificate of competency. Other candidates may claim sea service reduction for attendance on approved training programmes or in recognition of higher academic achievements (see paragraph 3.6.3 below).

                            3.3 Verification of Service

                            3.3.1 Entries in a Discharge Book or Certificates of Discharge supported by testimonials will be treated as evidence of sea service. Where there are doubts about the sea service claimed or it cannot be verified as above, it will only be accepted upon written confirmation by some responsible person having personal knowledge of the facts to be established.

                            3.4 Calculation of Service

                            3.4.1 Sea service entered in official documents as in paragraph 3.3.1 above, will be reckoned by the calendar month, that is the time included between any given day in any month and the preceding day of the following month, both inclusive. The number of complete months from the commencement of the period, ascertained in this way, should be computed, after which the number of odd days should be counted. The day on which the crew agreement commenced, as well as that on which it terminated, should both be included, all leave of absence excluded and all odd days added together and reckoned at thirty days to the month.

                            3.5 Testimonials Required

                            3.5.1 All applicants for first and subsequent certificates of competency must produce testimonials covering character, standards of behaviour including sobriety, experience and ability on board ship and good conduct at sea, for at least the last twelve months of sea service preceding the date of application.

                            3.5.2 For applicants for certificates other than the first watchkeeping certificate, testimonials may be incorporated in the watchkeeping service certificates referred to in Part I.

                            3.5.3 For applicants for a first watchkeeping certificate of competency, the testimonials may be incorporated in a loose-leaf format into the Record Book or Training Portfolio for those following MNTB (Merchant Navy Training Board) approved training programmes. In other cases, the specimen forms at Appendix 1A and 1C of Part 1 may be used as a guide.

                            3.5.4 Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the required testimonials must be signed by the Master or Chief Engineer of the ships in which qualifying sea service has been performed. In the case of service as Master or Chief Engineer, the testimonials must be signed by a responsible official of the company concerned.

                            3.6 Sea Service Requirements for Candidates not Following an MNTB Approved/VQ Training Programme

                            3.6.1 The sea service requirements for candidates for deck officer II/1 certificates of competency as OOW who are not following approved cadet training programmes, may be varied as follows:

                            .1 Cadets not following MNTB approved training programmes and ratings with 36 months sea-service in the deck department (48 months if service was as a General Purpose rating), must have spent at least 6 of the last 12 months sea service on duties associated with bridge watchkeeping, under the supervision of a certificated deck officer.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by size4riggerboots View Post
                              You say this is your last sea trip but you need 6 months more sea time? To be honest, you probably have more bridge time than I did at the 6 month mark. My first sea phase was spent almost entirely on deck work. I don't think the working pattern on 4hrs on bridge 4 hrs on deck is a particularly good idea, for a start, most officers do 8hrs watchkeeping a day AND 2 hrs maintenance work, (as for sat afternoon & the whole of sunday off.... I hope you're getting a lot of study time in!!). If I were you I'd speak to your training officer and ask to be given a more realistic working pattern, ie rotate round the watches on a monthly basis - doing a month with each officer gives you a good idea of what each watch does - eg, the 3rd will be on the 8-12 and maintain the LSA and FFA, the 2nd will be on 12-4 and have lots of chart corrections, GMDSS tests and checks to do while on watch, and probably have some alarm systems to check when not on watch, the 4-8 will be with the C/O, and you'll learn about inspections and stability with them...

                              Remember that your training on ship is for your benefit and it is up to you to take a lot of responsibility for getting what you need. The guidelines in the TRB are the MCA requirements, not just some arbitrary things made up by the MNTB, with 2 and a half months watchkeeping under your belt and 6 months in which to get the rest, you have plenty of time to get more than enough watchkeeping in, if you take the initiative to talk to your DSTO about what you need to do.
                              Yeah I require 6 months more sea time in this final sea phase due to a certain company shortening other sea phases to save money due to the funding cut last year, unfortunatly this means we have to do 6 months in one go.

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