Cadet Blog: 3/C James Cirillo (MTRA - Monroe, NY) 2-1-23


Hello again from the TS Kennedy. After a fun weekend on the beautiful island of Aruba, we are steaming ahead bound for Saint Thomas. We’re about halfway through Sea Term and it feels like we just left Buzzards Bay a couple of days ago.

This week, I am standing watch on the Bridge. My watch cycle is the same as before, being on watch 0400-0800 and 1600-2000 every day. This morning my position on the bridge was Radar Observer. The job entails exactly what it is named. On the Bridge we have two radars and one ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display & Information System) that the sophomore Radar Observer must monitor. An ECDIS is a type of electronic charting system found on almost all modern ships. It takes information from many of the electronic systems on the Bridge and downloaded electronic charts to present information clearly and efficiently for watch standers to use. Basically, taking all the information we have and putting it all on one screen.

Our radars are one of the most important pieces of equipment on the ship.  Using radio waves that bounce off objects and back to the radar on top of the Kennedy, we can see ships, objects, and even clouds and weather. This is very important for navigating at night or in restricted visibility when it is hard to see what

is around us. The radars can be used independently as well as transferring information to the ECDIS. This morning I was tracking a ship on the radar that passed 6.8 nautical miles ahead of us. Using information on the radar I was able to determine the closest point of approach (CPA) which verified the ship was not a threat to our path. If a ship has a CPA of 2 nautical miles or less, we know to start contacting them on the VHF radio to discuss maneuvers to take to avoid collision. 

radar on Bridge

After watch today I headed down to the Helo Deck to do some painting. Every year on the Kennedy, we paint a mural as part of our sea term traditions. I have the pleasure of being one of the cadets that is taking part in the designing and painting of it. We are in the midst of the endeavor and plan to be finished by the end of the week.

 I look forward to sharing the finished product with everyone. As always, I’m more than happy to answer any questions, thank you again for reading the blog.

Thanks for your great blog, James!  I am glad that you discussed how carefully lights in the distance are monitored. On land, two miles may seem like a great distance to our student followers.  At sea, a ship two miles away is considered "close".

We can't wait to see the finished mural.  It is such an honor that you part of the team painting it.