Last night, my friend Remy and I, both International Maritime Business students, went to observe the 2000-2400 (8:00 PM -Midnight) Bridge Watch. While on Sea Term, you have to show up 45 minutes early to watch as a cadet. So we were there at 1915 (7:15 pm). However, the actual Mates who are on watch only show up 15 minutes early (which we do while attending watch at school). A little after, one of the seniors, Joey, was telling us all about the ECDIS. There are 3 screens and he told us the left one is the 3-cm radar and the right is the 10- cm one. Each of those had yellow shapes that appear consistently within and around, a circle representing distance from the ship. Most of these which are waves and other ones can be clouds or ships.
Clouds and waves don’t maintain their form or location like ships do and they are usually smaller on the screen. In the middle of both radars lays another system that shows our heading course as well as our actual course. If a ship or buoy appears, we can click on it and we’ll find information about it. If it is a ship, we can see it’s course relative to us after a minute.
Around 2100 (9:00 PM) I got to steer at the helm with guidance from a senior and the Master At Arms on the Bridge. It was really cool. We are on a 41-degree course on the Gyro compass. So when the compass showed higher than 41 degrees, I would turn the wheel to the right which as to move us back to port. I did the opposite If it was below 41 degrees. I kept us within 1 degree which is the acceptable amount. It would not be impossible to fix if it was more, since we are still far from our destination. After about 45 minutes, Remy took over the helm. When you switch the person on the helm, you must announce it to the rest of the Bridge along with the course we are on. The senior and I helped Remy with understanding how and which way to steer.
Later, my 3/C friend Estrada taught me about charting. He showed me how every 30 minutes we put down triangles for our actual location along the heading course according to the GPS and then a semi-circle around the point for where we are supposed to be. He told me about how different ticks represented nautical miles and how the others represented degrees. I was also told by Joey a little on how they use star maps to see our location.
After that, Rusty went over how his company uses wind direction/ speed and wave height to make forecasts and analysis charts for ships like the Kennedy. Another important position on the Bridge is actual on the outside deck around it. That’s the lookout position and there are 2 cadets that man each side of the Bridge Deck. Their job is to watch for ships or any people that might have become stranded.
Nicole, we appreciate the effort that you put into this blog. I love your curiosity! You are soaking up all that Sea Term has to offer.
We look forward to hearing from you next week.