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Reading through some of the other maritime themed blogs is often interesting.  While we do see Posts about the latest adventures of "Lego-Man" - he was at Sarasota Beach, FL this past week - there are also more serious Posts.  There is one about vessel encounters entitled "When vessels encounter drunks".  It is by an experienced Master currently in Command of a large ocean-going car carrier if one remembers correctly.  No it is not wrong but the approach struck NAUTICAL LOG as a little different perhaps even strange.  But then NAUTICAL LOG does not have the greatest sense of humour or is even faintly amused when it comes to vessel encounters and the Navigation Rules not being followed. 

Living in South Florida on the edge of Biscayne Bay one encounters all too frequently BUI boaters and while the Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies do the best job they can the real answer is personal responsibility - unfortunately it is sadly lacking being in a large part due to the cult of 'machismo' prevalent to the area  That coupled with little or complete lack of knowledge of the NAVIGATION RULES as laid down in USCG M16672.2D (or latest edition).  This is the only book in the United States that counts to learn from, fully understand and follow.  Yes there are others designed to be helpful, make money for the author, however they are not the official word.

The article by the above mentioned Master quotes a Mr.Crawford's book who uses the medium of the theater as an aide memoire to the learning of the Navigation Rules.  The article quotes Rule 2 and then says, quote: "then be ready to 'ad lib' " when the Navigation Rules are not followed.

This is very bad advice indeed.  The Navigation Rules cover just about every situation that can occur between two or more vessels on the High Seas or Inland Waterways.  They even cover those situations where things go very wrong indeed, far from 'Ad Libbing' they give precise instructions on how to behave.  It is 'Ad Libbing' from those precise instructions that gets seafarers into serious trouble.  From appearing to be in the right they find themselves in left field and handing in their respective License/Certificate to their Maritime Authority.

So as well as following the Navigation Rules on what to do in a particular situation at sea know also what to do when things go wrong.  The solutions are found in Rule 2 (b), Rule 8 (e), Rule 17 (b) and of course in Rule 1 - General Application - how to follow the Navigation Rules as per USCG M16672.2D (or latest edition).

"A Collision can Spoil your whole Day."

Good Watch

There are still nearly 400 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off the coast of Somalia.  Simulation programmes, however well intended and useful for training, will not help a single one of them.  Skilled rescue using extreme prejudice would have a marked effect on piracy per se. NAUTICAL LOG fully supports armed vessel protection and response.


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Several times during the year NAUTICAL LOG has had visitors searching for lifejacket instructions. With two just over Christmas we decided to publish something for everybody to see and read.
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This month saw the commissioning into the Irish Naval Service of a new Class of Irish Naval vessel more of the Frigate size than the previously Corvette size.  However they are all classed as Patrol vessels, the new vessel is LÉ Samuel Beckett P61.NAUTICAL LOG wishes her well and a successful service.

The older vessels saw unbelievable service and value for money the first being commissioned in 1979 and continued through the '80's and 90's into the 21st. Century.  During those years in addition to patrolling the stormy seas around the rugged Irish coast they made passages across the Western Ocean to the United States and Canada, south to South America as far as Argentina, and east to Asia as far as Korea.  Such passages are really remarkable for such small vessels and show the competence of Irish seafarers who as Naval Officers and Merchant Marine Officers train together.

Good Watch.


Ships now operate under the International Management Code for Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (ISM Code).  Since this is a Post on Auditing NAUTICAL LOG, who is a Trained Auditor, will not go through the requirements as these can be found on the Internet and in your local nautical bookshop - you do have a bookshop hopefully as they are a dying breed.  There are two types of Audit an External Audit and an Internal Audit.

The External Audit consists of the Flag State or an outside Auditing Firm coming into the Company and going through all the Protocols, Procedures and associated Manuals.  They may also hold a drill simulating a situation in one of the Company's vessels and observe the results of the Shore Staff dealing with it.  NAUTICAL LOG has been through this experience with two very different Companies and believe me it is a long, difficult, trying day not made any easier by the subsequent debrief.  The External Auditor then prepares a Report which causes a…