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Sea Time Definition - Confusion?

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  • Sea Time Definition - Confusion?

    For some time now I have received conflicting definitions from colleagues as to 'sea service' requirements for cadet and subsequent tickets. Although the MCA have made this clear in their guidance, I can't help but think many applications for NOE's are based upon wrong assumptions and definitions. I understand that it is the MCA's policy to police this, but should we not be more clear ourselves?

    Maybe a problem does not exist although, from experience, some individuals appear to 'bend the rules'.

    The MCA states that;

    Sea service is calculated from the date of engagement to the date of discharge.

    Watchkeeping Service is Actual Sea Service spent as a Watchkeeping Officer in full charge of navigational watch (or supervised watchkeeping if applying for Officer of the Watch) for no less than eight hours out of every 24 hours whilst the vessel is engaged on a voyage.

    Sea service being used for the first CoC and revalidation.

    Watch-keeping Service being used for qualification of subsequent CoC's of which 18 months is required for CM and MM.

    Now, reading this correctly, it appears that any vessels that spends time in port (that must be all vessels) for a good proportion of the day during a port call is not likely to be at sea long enough for all the watch keeping officers onboard to incur enough hours to count as a watch keeping day. Strictly speaking, as the MCA testimonial pro-forma for qualified deck officers does not include a separate statement clarifying the total number of weeks and days spent watchkeeping in a voyage, a new testimonial would need to be completed and signed on every port call. This does seem unlikely to take place.

    Should the MCA not include the statement, as they do on the Cadet pro-forma testimonial, to aid in the clarification of the above in relation to actual watch keeping time? It appears to me that many just detail the voyage from and to dates, without counting the actual watch keeping days - which would be incorrect if the vessel did not spend all the time at sea on passage.

  • #2
    The MCA are of course aware and thus penalise people who accrue seatime on vessels which spend a considerable amount of time alongside through the nature of their work. For the average ship, it's no big deal.
    Let's be honest, even watch keeping time has different levels of quality, deep sea tanker mid pacific vs ferry in busy waterways and pilotage. So there is no point changing the system.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by YoungMariner View Post
      The MCA are of course aware and thus penalise people who accrue seatime on vessels which spend a considerable amount of time alongside through the nature of their work. For the average ship, it's no big deal.
      Let's be honest, even watch keeping time has different levels of quality, deep sea tanker mid pacific vs ferry in busy waterways and pilotage. So there is no point changing the system.
      Indeed they do in respect of sea service only.

      No policy exists for that of watch keeping service which, as per their definition, seems clearer.

      If the MCA were to crack down on such there could be few unhappy people. Although is it their job to catch us out or our job to ensure that we stick to the rules as published?

      It could be argued, with such a discrepancy, that competence is being eroded.

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      • #4
        I don't believe this had changed in the last 20 years or more. Tbh the OOW is much like a driving license, it's a license with the basics and you learn on the job. Good companies will have assessment processes and competency requirements for promotion etc. The time loading cargo or dealing with port operations has it's own weight. To start logging actual hours on watch would be ridiculous, and the current process works. After all, you still have to go through an oral.

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        • #5
          That is understandable, although given the modern day demand for higher tickets many companies will employ on the back of the black book.

          Although it may not have changed through 'hear say', the MCA have a whole page dedicated to such now - titled Sea Service Guide.

          http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-hom...rchant-coc.htm

          Either way, the requirements and definitions from the MCA seem fairly straight cut - it appears that 'we' are the ones who choose to apply them, sometimes incorrectly, how we see fit. It wouldn't be a case of logging hours, just the days reckoned to weeks and individual days on completing a commission.

          The second question in relation to their guidance; what counts as 'full charge of a navigation watch'? Can both the senior and junior watchkeeper on the bridge of a cruise vessel be said to have such 'full charge'?

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          • #6
            The full charge of a Navigational watch thing has been going on since the beginning of time, basically even if you are the JOOW you put in charge of a watch for 8 hours a day.


            Originally posted by AlternativeNavs View Post
            That is understandable, although given the modern day demand for higher tickets many companies will employ on the back of the black book.

            Although it may not have changed through 'hear say', the MCA have a whole page dedicated to such now - titled Sea Service Guide.

            http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-hom...rchant-coc.htm

            Either way, the requirements and definitions from the MCA seem fairly straight cut - it appears that 'we' are the ones who choose to apply them, sometimes incorrectly, how we see fit. It wouldn't be a case of logging hours, just the days reckoned to weeks and individual days on completing a commission.

            The second question in relation to their guidance; what counts as 'full charge of a navigation watch'? Can both the senior and junior watchkeeper on the bridge of a cruise vessel be said to have such 'full charge'?
            Pilotage - It's just a controlled allision

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            • #7
              To be honest the dual watch keeping time on pax boats is in many ways more valuable to a newly qualified junior officer. I had sailed as OOW on general cargo ships before I joined the cruise ships, and then went junior OOW on dual watch keeping bridge and learnt a lot of good practices and professionalism.

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