Standing Watch Rules

Watch Rules

A lot of these I have learned in aviation and have morphed them to boats.  The speeds are slower, but the principles are still the same.

– When underway do not hit anything, anytime, for any reason. 
– Ears, Eyes and Chartplotter in that order. 
– Prudence takes practice. 
– Make the coffee twice as strong and twice as often as necessary. 
– In heavy traffic, if time slows down you are ahead, if time speeds up, you are falling behind. 
– Always smile when the weather is good. 
– The VHF is a tool, not a solution. 
– Poor penmanship is not an excuse for poor penmanship. 
– Your purpose is no less important when you are sick, tired or just plain bored. 
– Watchstanding is simple until you make it complicated. 
– Never sit down when your eyelids get heavy. 
– “By all available means” includes all six of your senses. 
– Pay attention to what is most important. 
– Never let your draft exceed your depth… even when you are ashore. 
– You should always be learning. 
– When nothing is going right consider going left. 
– Learning is defined as increasing your mental capacity to take effective action. 
-Judgment is key. Without judgment, data means nothing. 
– Yes, sometimes you can smell danger. 
– Observe, Orient, Decide, Act...rinse, lather and repeat. 
– Never forget to admire the scenery and wildlife. 
– Arrive early and request late check out both on watch and at hotels. 
– Stand watch in the engine room sometimes. 
– Speed and time are relative to the situation but your ability to stay calm and focused is not. 
-Call the captain more often than necessary. The good ones will appreciate it and the bad ones will be annoyed. 
– Observe brief moments of silence so you may hear what your brain is trying to tell you. 
– Never hit a ship, the shore, a shipmate or the bottle. 
– Spend time playing in heavy traffic on small boats. 
– Respect your watchmates’ pet peeves. Especially the stupid ones. 
– The COLREGS (Coast Guard Regulations) are your bible


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