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Old 10-24-2014, 09:25 AM   #21
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How does steering the boat interfere with keeping a watch? You are (I am) looking at where the water where the boat will be going. In my mind, that's pretty much a "watch".
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Old 10-24-2014, 09:38 AM   #22
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Well I could go into it but the whiners hate to hear about my qualifications....look it up...google "crew coordination" , "sterile cockpit", "cockpit automation", "bridge automation"...

FAA Recommends Pilots Spend Less Time Using Autopilot | Safety | NBAA - National Business Aviation Association

FAA Recommends Pilots Spend Less Time Using Autopilot

January 25, 2013
While the increasing level of cockpit automation and more frequent use of autopilots have helped improve operational safety and flying precision, it has also raised concerns that pilots are losing proficiency in their hand-flying skills.


Autopilot


Autopilot reduces the physical and mental demands on a pilot and increases safety.


Read more Autopilot
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Old 10-24-2014, 10:39 AM   #23
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When running offshore, we follow pretty strict rules for watch-keeping, especially at night. These include engine room checks, coffee, etc., before starting your 3 hour shift in the Pilothouse. Radar(s), AIS and Autopilot running (in night mode at night). We cover the ceiling with black felt and only use the red courtesy lights at night to aid the watch-keeper's night vision and have a strict rule that no one goes out on deck at night without waking up another crew-member.

I also try to have two sets of eyes on watch when running in dense fog, especially in high traffic areas. It amazes me sometimes how a small sailboat with no radar reflector can sneak up on you and suddenly just "appear" in dense fog....
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Old 10-24-2014, 10:53 AM   #24
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When running offshore, we follow pretty strict rules for watch-keeping, especially at night. These include engine room checks, coffee, etc., before starting your 3 hour shift in the Pilothouse. Radar(s), AIS and Autopilot running (in night mode at night). We cover the ceiling with black felt and only use the red courtesy lights at night to aid the watch-keeper's night vision and have a strict rule that no one goes out on deck at night without waking up another crew-member.

I also try to have two sets of eyes on watch when running in dense fog, especially in high traffic areas. It amazes me sometimes how a small sailboat with no radar reflector can sneak up on you and suddenly just "appear" in dense fog....
I'm very lucky as 2 years ago I was headed down the Chesapeake in fog with less than 100 feet vis when I almost hit a oysterman.

He had no lights, no sound signals, single handling and aft tonging oysters.

I was scrambling looking at all my gear and talking to a large tug/tow that was calling radar traffic for me and a few other vessels in the vicinity (like air traffic control) when I glanced up and in the mist I saw this guy already past my port beam.

Heck at 6 knots it wasn't like I was flying and I heard no response to my sound signals...or any limited vis signals in general.

So yes....in the fog I try to be twice as vigilant and if possible on AP as even glancing down for a minute to check nav or anything else could have been a bad move.

I wasn't going to get underway, but the fog was supposed to have lifted and it didn't....
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Old 10-24-2014, 01:15 PM   #25
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Old 10-24-2014, 06:16 PM   #26
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How does steering the boat interfere with keeping a watch? You are (I am) looking at where the water where the boat will be going. In my mind, that's pretty much a "watch".
Ron

Many situations are different, but in open water someone who is manually steering focuses on the compass, as there may be nothing to fix on looking out the windshield. At times I have gone 24 hrs with no landmarks forward of me to fix on. Thus the eyes are not looking out the windshield. A great use for the autopilot as it has a dedicated compass feed.

This is especially true at night where you may go 8 hours without seeing anything ahead of you with the exception of that which is within 25 feet of the bow of the boat

When I have been forced to steer manually at night it has driven me crazy as I am playing a compass game without any reinforcement or secondary aids.
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Old 10-24-2014, 06:58 PM   #27
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I agree with the above comments regarding an autopilot. I view it as an important piece of equipment with regards to safety. We removed the one from our boat for several reasons, and we prefer to hand steer in these waters for several reasons that are valid to us.

If we were boating somewhere other than where we boat, we would most likley put a much higher priority on an autopilot. For example, the boat I did most of my ocean fishing on in Hawaii had an autopilot and we used it all the time.
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Old 10-24-2014, 10:01 PM   #28
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I haven't read all this thread, but what a stupid question!

Negligence, incompetence, risk-taking, foolhardy...where's my Thesaurus?
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Old 10-24-2014, 10:32 PM   #29
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I haven't read all this thread, but what a stupid question!

Negligence, incompetence, risk-taking, foolhardy...where's my Thesaurus?
While I would never be underway without someone on watch, there are many here who strongly disagree. They cite the fact sailors cross single handed. I'm very conservative when it comes to safety. Others are far more risk takers.
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Old 10-24-2014, 11:17 PM   #30
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I haven't read all this thread, but what a stupid question!

Negligence, incompetence, risk-taking, foolhardy...where's my Thesaurus?
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While I would never be underway without someone on watch, there are many here who strongly disagree. They cite the fact sailors cross single handed. I'm very conservative when it comes to safety. Others are far more risk takers.
So there are many of us who travel solo. Every so often we need to take a trip to the head. What should we do:

1. I reduce speed to minimum safe steerage for the autopilot, do a 360 degree scan to confirm no contacts within 10 minutes of my course, check radar and AIS to confirm no contacts within 10 minutes of my course, and then leave the helm for 1 minute.

2. Guess I could take the boat out of gear and just drift.

3. Guess I could anchor the boat every time I needed to use the head.

4. Maybe I should dock at a marina every time.

5. I know, a short haul in a travel lift.....

Clearly it's imperative to make sure that it's safe to leave the helm before you do so, but an irrational fear that something bad will happen in the next 60 seconds from an undetected threat borders on paranoia. Just out of curiosity, do you post a lookout (person) to stand watch when you anchor out at night? You know it's much tougher for an unseen adversary to hit a moving vessel than an anchored one.

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Old 10-24-2014, 11:28 PM   #31
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1. I reduce speed to minimum safe steerage for the autopilot, do a 360 degree scan to confirm no contacts within 10 minutes of my course, check radar and AIS to confirm no contacts within 10 minutes of my course, and then leave the helm for 1 minute.
I really wasn't speaking to the subject of a one minute trip to the head or to grab a bottle of water or something of that nature. In open waters with no one around I don't consider that the same as going below deck for 15 or 20 minutes or going to sleep. I guess I should have specified.

In the situation of using the head I I would do the exact same as you if other than calm conditions. If calm, I might take it out of gear for that short time.
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Old 10-25-2014, 01:13 AM   #32
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MarkPierce started this very interresting topic at the neighbours. ...
This started the discussion on CF:

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There was another officer (a "midshipman"?) on the ship's bridge (second photo) using binoculars at the time but not pictured above.



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Old 10-25-2014, 06:25 AM   #33
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I wasn't going to get underway, but the fog was supposed to have lifted and it didn't....
They surprises me that you did that.
It's why I never leave dock depending upon a forecast.

Imho running in Fog is far more dangerous than night or day.

And

Coastal cruising is totally different than open ocean.

Lastly autopilot use, as most of us here use it, to maintain a heading, not to maintain a course, is totally different than its use ob a jetliner.

The FAA is reacting to the accidents that have occurred in recent years in which there was some doubt the pilots could fly the plane manually.
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Old 10-25-2014, 06:27 AM   #34
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I really wasn't speaking to the subject of a one minute trip to the head or to grab a bottle of water or something of that nature. In open waters with no one around I don't consider that the same as going below deck for 15 or 20 minutes or going to sleep. I guess I should have specified.

In the situation of using the head I I would do the exact same as you if other than calm conditions. If calm, I might take it out of gear for that short time.
My apologies, I thought your comment was directed at me.

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Old 10-25-2014, 07:27 AM   #35
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Sure not having a person with competence on watch is foolhardy, but it is willingly done all the time whether by Dauntless or others. It has been the case for thousands of years. Boating lends itself, whether under sail, oars or power, to these bouts of derring do and risky solitude.

There is a certain glamour associated with risky behavior, look no further than young women lured into the clutches of guys like Elvis on the bright side to Clyde on the dark side. Solo round the worlders have competitions with sponsors shelling out millions to have their name on a sail or hull side.

Probably best that there are avenues available for solo adventure seekers. But boating is unfortunately rife with those that should have done it alone on their perilous journeys but instead lured the unsuspecting to ride along with them.

So keep watch you ask - it is a tough way to fulfill one's desires and reap adulation for the solo voyagers among us. I know some that do solo trans Pacific travels on very nice sailing vessels because competent crew (or willing fools) are not available on a timely basis. It occurs frequently. No watch kept, boat on auto pilot or self steering, perils lurking and blogs or forums which to write in for the risk averse to enjoy.
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Old 10-25-2014, 08:26 AM   #36
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I'll bet the same people who say you can't take your eyes off the water take their eyes off the road to glance at something....

and that's traveling at 60mph plus with nearby traffic or certainly something only a second away such as the side of the road.

if you want to compare safety...compare realistic scenarios...just like driving a car, if you can visually clear the area ahead and pretty much verify that traffic can't enter from ahead or pass....it' no different than a boat.

There's always a bit of risk in either arena...but I'll bet people do things that are just as "unsafe" in the operations that they are comfortable with..they just haven't transposed them yet.
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Old 10-25-2014, 11:43 AM   #37
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I'll bet the same people who say you can't take your eyes off the water take their eyes off the road to glance at something....
And that has become an increasing cause of accidents on the road. At one time it was just ladies fixing their makeup or dealing with the child in the seat beside or behind you. Occasionally to mess with the radio. Now toss in music players, cell phones, texting. No question open water is far more forgiving than I-95 at rush hour.

I think also we adjust style of watch to the situation. If you're heading up the inland passage to Alaska, logs are a huge part of your watch, other areas it's crab or lobster pots. Off shore it's mostly things that you first pick up at a great distance. But then suspicious boats, as in pirates, come into play in some areas. Also off shore a lot of watching is picking up something on radar at a distance and as you move in figuring out what it is, which way it's moving.

I'll tell you one part of watch and "driving" a boat that sure beats a car. I can stand and move around. Reposition. Keep myself active and alert.
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Old 10-25-2014, 11:45 AM   #38
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My apologies, I thought your comment was directed at me.

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Old 10-25-2014, 12:14 PM   #39
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People who fear risk tend to focus on the consequences and less on the likelihood.
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Old 10-25-2014, 12:18 PM   #40
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People who fear risk tend to focus on the consequences and less on the likelihood.
.....usually because they just haven't done it enough to see where the probabilities lie for "them".... not some generic model or some article written by "someone" else.....
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