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Bridge Team management

The aim :
To complete the voyage
successfully & efficiently.
What makes it happen????
Bridge watchkeeping & Safe well
planned Navigation.
What doesnot????????
Loose organised bridge
operations and the impression
can be given that things will be
all right,

The Answer :
Bridge Team Management
It is more than a concept.
Implementation of a way of
working which recognizes that
reliable & consistent standards can
only be maintained if navigation is
based upon sound principles &
reinforced by effective
All oows should make best use of
available resources , both human &
To achieve the GOAL.(In this case the

The Team

All members have the roll to play.

Interaction required between the
team members to make the system
It is not management by one person
but a continous adaptation of all the
team members to fulfill the team roles
that they have been assigned.
Another factors are the technical
knowledge & skill of the people

Error of Judgement

Loosely organised
bridge operations.
Given the impressions
that things will be
Unexpected occurs,
Confusion rises.
Difficulty in making
Decisions &
Possibility of the
Error of Judgement.

Accident :

Accident by nature is
Most accident occur
because there is no
system to detect 7
consequently prevent
one person making a
mistake A mistake
of the type all human
beings are liable to

Never mind! Everything

will be allright


Maritime accidents are never the result

of a single event,they are invariably the
result of a series of non-serious
incidents which culminates into a error

Error Chains

Situational Awareness:
Knowing what is going around
the ship helps the OOW
recognize that an error chain is
developing & Taking such
action based upon this
awareness, to break the error

Indications of Error Chain


Certain signs in the bridge team

indicate that an error chain is
developing. It does not mean that
accident is going to happen but it does
indicate that certain elements of
situational awareness may be lacking.
To avoid the ship put to any risk, action
is required to break the error chain.

Signs of Error chains:

Lets start with some examples;
2 independent & separate position fixing systems eg
Radar & GPS positions-donot agree.
Immediate action reqd to correct this ambiguity &
determine which position is correct
Echosounder reading doesnot agree with the charted
depth. Now what is ambiguity here??
Less conscientioud OOW may just accept this fact;
another maynot be satisfied & may try to determine
why the difference.
Ambiguity may exist between two team members
upon a point of action. Ambiguity exists; of itself it
may not be dangerous but it means that there is
adifference and the cause of the difference may be

to voice his doubts.

Whereas if knows that his doubts or fears can be
expressed without his being reprimanded might turn
out to be a situation saving.

Signs of error chain contd..

The full attention of a person on one event to
the exclusions of others.
or Concentration upon irrelevancy can be an
indication for the situational awareness
breaking down, even for a short period.
Reason: excessive workload, stress or fatigue,
emergency conditions.
example: a VHF call may occupy full attention
of a person to the exclusion of other more
urgent needs.

Error chain contd..

Inadequacy and confusion:

Feeling that the person concerned is losing
control of the situation.
example: the position fixing is not going as it
shold & the person doesnot know what is
going to happen next.
Reason: lack of experience.

Error chain contd..

Communication Breakdown:
Poor communication both internal and
external is an indication that situational
awareness is at risk.
Reason: May be lack of common language,
procedural methods or plain

Error chain contd..

Improper conn or lookout

Improper conning or poor look out may
be the result of lack of situational
awareness as well as its breakdown
NON Compliance with Plan

Error chain contd..

Procedural Violation:
unjustified deviation from clealy definedand
understood operating procedure is a cause of
breakdown of situational awareness.
A ship proceeding in a wrong lane in TSS. The oow
may ask himself why this? One he is off the track & is
direct violation of collregs. It is likely that he is not
fully aware of the position of the vessel.

Casualties & Their causes:

Two principal factors seemed to be the

main causes ofcollisions and groundings:

1) Weaknesses in bridge Organisation

2) Failure to keep a good lookout


Setting double watches in appropriate

Ensuring sufficient personnel are available in
special circumstances.
Precise instructions for calling the master.
Posting Lookouts.
Manning the wheel.
An established drill fromchanging over from
automatic to manual steering.
Precise instructions regarding reducing speed
in the event of reduced visibilty.

Causesof groundings noted:

Failure to preplan a track.

Failure to monitor adequately the vessels progress
along the planned track.
Failure to take immediate action to regain track having
deviated fromit.
Failure to crosscheckfixes by comparing one means
with another, (misidentification of a navigational mark
or faulty electronic information.)
Failure to use visualfixing when available.
Failure to use an echosounder when making a landfall
or navigating in constrained waters.
Failure to identify correctly navigational lights.
Failure to ensure that important navigational decisions
are independently checked by another officer.(human

Bridge Organisation:

An efficient bridge organization will include

procedures that;
Eliminate the risk that an error on the part of one
person may result in disastrous results.
Emphasise the nessity of good lookout & carry out
collision avoidance routines.
Encourage the use of all means of establishing the
ships position so that in case one method becoming
unreliable others are immediately available.
Make use of passage planning & navigational
systems which allow continous monitoring &
detection of deviation from track when in coastal
Ensure that all instrument error are known and

Individual role:

These procedures can only be achieved by

each member realising that he has the vital
role toplay in the safe navigation of the ship
to the utmost of their ability.
Must appreciate that safety of the ship
doesnot depend on the decisionofone person
only. All decisions and orders must be
carefully checked and their execution
Junior members should never hesitate to
question a decision if they consider that such
a decision is not in the best interests of the

The Plan :

Preparation :

Prepration : is Appraisal & Planning.


Organisation & monitoring

Passage appraisal:

Passage appraisal is considered as the most important part of the

planning as it is tha stage that all pertinent information is gathered & the
firm foundation for the plan is built.
Information Sources;
Chart catalogue
Navigational charts
Ocean passages for the world
Routeing charts
Sailing directions
Lists of lights
Tide Tables.
Tidal stream atlases
Notices to mariners.
Routeing information
Radio signal information
Climatic information
Load line chart
Distance tables

Passage planning:

All corrected to the
latest NM recd and
that any authentic
nav warnings are

Passage planning..
No Go Areas:
Areas where the ship cannot go should be
hatched or highlighted taling care not to
obscure any navigational marks or object.
In confined waters,where tidal height may have
large influence,such no go areas will depend
on time of passage.
All areas showing charted depths of less than
the draught plus a safety margin should be
considered no go areas.

Passage Planning

Margins of safety:

A safety of margin is required around the no go areas at a distance

that in the worst probable circumstances,the part of the ship
being navigated will not pass.(bridge)
Margins of safety will show how far the ship can deviate from the
track,yet still remain in safe water.
As a general rule the margin of safety will ensure that the ship
remains in waters of depths greater than the draught plus
This may need to be increased in case of following cases;
The survey is old and not reliable.
Where the ship is rolling & pitching
Possibility that the ship may experience squat.

Passage planning:
Safe Water:
Where the ship can deviate safelyand the limits are bound by the marginof

Distance Off:
It is not possible to lay down hard & fast rules regarding the distance off a
danger that a ship should maintain.It will depend on;
The draught of the ship relative to depth of water.
The weather conditions prevailing; a storng offshore wind,onset of fog
will require an increase in distance off.
The direction & rate of the tidal stream.
The volume of the traffic.
The availability of the safe water.
Where the coast shelves & offshore soundings increase gradually,the track
should ensure that adequate underkeel clearance is maintained.
Irrespective of the safe UKC, a ship in a situation where the nearest
navigation danger is to starboard must allow manouvering space to
allow alterations of the course to starboard for traffic avoidance.

Passage Planning:

Underkeel Clearance:
A normal rule is that 10% of the deepest
draught. The OOW should be aware that if
less than 10% than the OOW should be aware
to reduce the speed.

Passage planning..
Tidal window:
In tidal areas adequate UKC may only be
attainable during the period that tide has
achieved given height.
Outside that period the area must be
considered no Go
Such tidal windows must be clearly shown so
that the OOW isnot in doubt as to whether or
not it is safe for the ship to proceed.

Passage planning..

Stream / Current allowance:

before the ship approaches the coast ,it is
better to make tidal /current corrections prior
to its taking effect.
Current information,set & rate is often
available on the chart . Detailed info is given
in Ocean Passages for the world, routing
charts and the pilot books. Currents vary
according to their location and the season.
Tidal info is available on charts,tide tables
,tide atlases.

Passage planning..

Wheel Over:
In the open sea & offshore coastal waters when
navigating on small scale charts,course alterations
will usually coincide with planned track intersections.
In confined waters hen navigating on large scale
charts and where the margins of safety may require
the ship to commence altering course at the wheel
over position some distance before the track
intersection in order to achieve the new planned
Planned wheel over positions should be determined
from the ships manouvering characteristics and
marked on the chart
Suitable visual & radar cues then be hosen to
determine when the ship is at the wheelover

Passage planning..
Parallel Indexing:
The parallel indexing is useful method of
monitoring cross track tendency in both poor
& good visibility.

Passage planning..

Aborts & Contigencies:

ABORTS: in constrained waters the ship may be in a
position beyond which it will not be possible to do
other than proceed, termed the point of no return
due to a falling tide & insufficient UKC.
A position can be drawn on the chart showing the
last point at which the passage can be aborted and
the ship not commit herself.
Reasons for aborting may be one of the following;
Deviation from approach line.
Machinery failure
Instruments failure
Dangerous situations ashore
Any situation where it is deemed unsafe to proceed.

Passage planning

Having passed the abort position & point of no
return, bridge team stillneeds to be aware that
events may not go as planned & that the ship may
have to take emergency action. Contigency plans will
have been made at the planning stage & clearly
shown on the chart.
Contigency planning will include;
Alternative routes
Safe anchorages
Waiting areas
Emergency berths.

Passage planning.

Masters approval reqd after the plan is

Plan Changes: all members of the bridge
team will be aware thateven the most
thorough plan may be subject to change
during the passage.
It is to be ensured that the changes are made
with the agreement of the master and all
other team members are asvised of such

Executing the plan.

Tactics: Execution of the plan means methods used to carry out the plan
including the best use of the possible resources.
Tactics should include the following;
ETAs for the tides
ETAs for the daylights
Traffic conditions
Destination ETA
Tidal streams
Plan modifications: in case of delayed dep or navigational equipments
becoming unreliable, the plan shouls be modified.
Additional personnel : to manage the risks it may be necessary to
Call the master
To change from attended to manned machinery spaces.
To call an extra certified officer on the bridge
To call for manning the wheel, keeping the look outs etc
To call for deck duties such as preparing pilot ladders, clearing &
standing by anchors, preparing berthing equipment,engaging tugs.
Briefingof personnel on their duties and continous updating .

Monitoring the ships progress

Fixing method: establish the positionof the ship

Visual Bearings: Three position lines are the minimum required to ensure
Regularity; fixing needs not only be accurate & frequent, it also needs to
be regular.
Estimated position. Between two fixes donot coincide with EP, then the
OOW is aware that something is wrong with the obtained position or some
externalinfluence has affected the ship.
Soundings: echo sounder readings be checked asthat expected from the
Cross track error.
International regulations for preventing collisions at sea. The rules of the
Non-navigational emergencies, The bridge team should not allow the
reaction to an em. Situation so dominate that the shipis diverted into an
area of high danger.
Time management: Maintenance of ETA for destination of tides.
Look out: situational awareness is increased with the good lookout.
Underkeel clearance

Team Work

The OOW requires a man at the helm & also look

He should not hesitate to summon assistance to the
bridge. The lookout should be properly instructed in
lookout duties as to what is expected of him.
While the OOW shall the master on the bridge under
some circumstances, will not transfer the conn from
the watch officer to the master untill such times that
the master actually declares that he has the conn.
Once the master has taken the conn,the OOW goes
into a supportive role, but is still responsible for the
actions of his watch members.

Individual roles:

The master: Controls the movement of the vessel in

accordance with the rule of the road and recommended
TSS.Regulates the course and speed and supervises the safe
navigation of the vessel & co-ordinates & supervises the
overall watch organization.
The Watch officer: continues reporting all the relevant
information to the master,ensuring that such information is
acknowledged. He will monitor the executionof the helm &
engine orders, co-ordinates all internal & external
communication ,record all reqd entries in the logbook.
The look out and helmsman still carrying out their duties.
Additional navigating officer : will provide the master with
radar based traffic info and general back to OOW on chart.

Navigating with Pilot on board:

Pilots are engaged to assist in navigation in confined waters

,to facilitate port approach,berthing & departure.
The master has the Ultimate authority & has the right to take
over from the pilot in the rare event of pilots inexperience &
Planning of the passage upto berth even when the connis with
Master / pilot information card: The peculiarties of the vessel
be made known to the pilot. The master may discuss with him
planned route,anticipated speeds and ETAs both enroute and
at the destination, what assistance he expects fromshore such
as tugs and what contigencies he has in mind.
Responsibilty with master for the safety of the ship.
Monitoring the ships progress and any deviations from the
planned track be notified to master.