Passage Planning- The Final Stages

Navsregs>SOLAS V>Passage planning>The Final Stages

Coaster starting her passage from Plymouth

The last in this cluster on Passage planning posts summarises the last two stages in the process, execution and monitoring. Making the plan happen, and then making sure it does.


As soon as time of departure and estimated time of arrival can be determined with reasonable accuracy, the passage should be executed in accordance with the plan

What factors are to be taken into account when executing the plan, or deciding on any departure from it?

  • The reliability and condition of the vessel’s navigational equipment;
  • Estimated times of arrival at critical points for tide heights and flow;
  • Meteorological conditions;
  • Weather routeing information;
  • Daytime versus night-time passing of danger points;
  • Traffic conditions, especially at navigational focal points.

What two important points must a master consider when executing a passage plan?

  • Whether any particular circumstance introduces an unacceptable hazard to the safe conduc of the passage;
  • At which specific points of the passage there may be a need to use additional deck or engine room personnel.

Map of Navtex coverage


Where should then Passage plan be kept?

It should be available at all times on the bridge to allow officers of the watch immediate access to the details of the plan.

What should be monitored?

The progress of the vessel in accordance with the plan should be closely and continuously monitored.

How should changes to the plan be made?

Any changes made to the plan should be:

  • Consistent with the Guidelines;
  • Clearly marked;
  • Clearly recorded.

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Planning a Passage-More Guidance

Navsregs>SOLAS V>Passage planning>More Guidance

And so this series on passage planning continues. This time some handy notes on the planning stage of the process.

On what basis should the voyage be planned?

  • On the fullest possible appraisal;
  • It should be detailed;
  • It should cover the entire voyage or passage from berth to berth;
  • It should including those are
  • as where the services of a pilot will be use.

What factors should the voyage plan include?

The plotting of the intended track on the appropriate scale charts.

This should include:

  • An indication of the true direction of the planned track;
  • All areas of danger; Existing ships’ routeing and reporting systems; Vessel traffic services,
  • Any areas where environmental protection considerations apply.

The main elements to ensure safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation, and protection of the environment.

These elements should include:

  • Safe speed-having regard to the proximity of navigational hazards, the manoeuvring characteristics of the vessel and its draught in relation to the available water depth;
  • Required speed alterations – such as where there may be limitations because of night passage, tidal restrictions, or allowance for the increase of
  • Draft increase due to squat and heel effect;
  • Minimum under keel clearance-in critical areas with restricted
  • Water depth;
  • Positions where a change in machinery status is required;
  • Course alteration points- taking into account the vessel’s turning circle at the
  • Planned speed and any expected effect of tidal streams and currents;
  • The method and frequency of position fixing- including primary and secondary
  • Options, and the indication of areas where accuracy of position fixing is critical and where maximum reliability must be obtained;
  • Use of ships’ routeing and reporting systems and vessel traffic services;
  • Considerations relating to the protection of the marine environment;
  • Contingency plans – to place the vessel in deep water, port of refuge or safe anchorage in t
  • he event of any emergency requiring the abandonment of the plan.

Where should details of the voyage plan be recorded?

They should be clearly marked and recorded, as
appropriate, on charts and in a voyage plan notebook or computer disk.

What action has to be taken with regards to the plan before starting the voyage?

It should be approved by the ships’ master.

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Passage Planning Guidelines

Navsregs>SOLAS V>Passage planning>Guidance

The passage planning theme is padded out a bit more in this post with a summary of some of the guidance given in-


Click here to view copy of the Resolution

The need for voyage and passage planning applies to all vessels.

What are the stages of voyage planning?

  • Appraisel
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Monitoring


The gathering of all information relevant to voyage or passage;


This is the detailed planning of the whole voyage or passage from berth to berth. It includes areas needing a pilot.


This is the execution of the voyage in accordance with the plan or any changes made to it.


This is the monitoring of the progress of the vessel in the implementation of the plan.

What information should be taking into account during passage appraisal?

The vessel

  • Stability
  • Equipment
  • Operational limitations

Maximum draught

  • At sea
  • In fairways
  • In ports


  • Manouvering data
  • Any restrictions


  • Special characteristics of the cargo, especially if hazardous
  • Distribution of cargo
  • stowage and securing


  • To be competent
  • To be well-rested


Up-to-date certificates and documents concerning :

  • The vessel
  • equipment
  • crew
  • passengers
  • cargo.

Navigation Information

  • Sppropriate scale, accurate and up-to-date charts;
  • Relevant permanent or temporary notices to mariners;
  • Radio navigational warnings;
  • Accurate and up-to-date:
    • sailing directions;
    • List of lights;
    • Lists of radio aids to navigation;
    • Mariners routeing guide.

The Next Post

The next post will be taking the subject of passage planning forward a bit more, to look at the guidelines on planning the voyage.

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Passage Planning and SOLAS

How the world has changed since my last post. Here in the UK the Covid 19 lockdown has started. So, wherever you are, ashore or afloat, keep safe.

Navsregs>SOLAS V>Passage planning

What SOLAS Regulation covers passage planning?

SOLAS V Regulation 34.

What is the requirement regarding voyage planning ?

Prior to proceeding to sea, the master shall ensure that the intended voyage has been planned using the appropriate nautical charts and nautical publications.

What factors should the voyage plan take into account?

  • Any relevant ships’ routeing systems;
  • Sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the ship throughout the voyage;
  • Known navigational hazards;
  • Adverse weather conditions;
  • Marine environmental protection measures.

More posts on Passage Planning

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SOLAS V’s Guidance on the recording of Navigational Events

Navsregs>SOLAS>The recording of Navigational events>Guidance

Baltic Cove Stern

This post continues on from the last one on recording navigational Events. This time looking beyond the Regulation to give a summary of the IMO guidelines.

IMO Resolution A916(22)  – gives guidance on compliance with SOLAS V Regulation 28 and the recording of Navigational Events.

Click here for information on Regulation 28>

Click here for the IMO Guidance>

What events must be recovered before starting a voyage?

Data relating to the general condition of the ship such as:

  • ManningQuay Corner at Falmouth
  • Provisioning
  • Cargo onboard
  • Draught
  • Result of stability/stress checks
  • Inspections of controls, the steering gear and navigational and radiocommunication equipment.

What navigational events must be recorded during a voyage?

  • Courses;
  • Distances sailed;
  • Position fixes;
  • Weather and sea conditions;
  • Changes to the voyage plan;
  • Details of pilots’ embarkation and disembarkation;
  • Entry into areas covered by, and compliance with, routeing schemes or reporting systems.

What must special events must be recorded?Navtex receiver

  • Death and injuries among crew and passengers;
  • Malfunctions of shipboard equipment and aids to navigation;
  • Potentially hazardous situations;
  • Emergencies and distress messages received.

What must be recorded when a ship is at anchor or in a port?

  • Details on operational or administrative matters;
  • Details related to the safety and security of the ship.

Method of recordingBridge Window at Sunset

How may the records be maintained?

Methods of recording should be permanent and may be:

  • Handwritten;
  • Electronic;
  • Mechanical

If the records of are not maintained in the ship’s log-book, they should be maintained in a form approved by the flag state.

Information are adequately recorded in a special-purpose log, need not be duplicated in the ship’s log book.

What are the guidelines on how to keep navigational records?

Page numbers

Each page of the ship’s log-book should have a page number printed on it.


Handwritten records, which need correction should be rewritten after crossing out the incorrect version.


The times used in automatic and permanent recording facilities should be synchronized by using a common clock.


Electronically or mechanically input records should be protected by means to prevent them from being deleted, destroyed or overwritten.


Ships should keep records for as long as their flag state requires, provided that it is not less than one year.

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SOLAS V and the recording of Navigational events

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V> The recording of Navigational events

Another of the SOLAS regulations looked at in this post, this time it’s the recording of Navigation events.

What SOLAS V Regulation covers the recording of Navigation events?

Regulation 28- Recording of Navigational Events

This contains two requirements

  • Need to record
  • Need to report

Click here for Regulation 28 and the related UK MCA guidance>

What is the requirement to record navigational activities?

All ships engaged on international voyages shall keep on board a record of navigational activities and incidents which are of importance to safety of navigation.

How much detail must be contained in navigational records?

Sufficient detail to restore a complete record of the voyage.

Does the navigational information have to be kept in a log book?

No, it may be maintained in another formapproved by the Flag state.

The UK MCA-Guidance is that:

  • It must be possible to reconstruct the ship’s track throughout the voyage;
  • That records retained for 12 months should provide sufficient detail to reconstruct any voyage during that period;
  • Courses and positions on all navigational charts should be retained until the voyage is completed.
  • Details to enter in the log book:



Times of alteration of course and or speed

Other relevant details

Daily reports

What daily reports need to be made?

Each ship of 500 gross tonnage and above, engaged on international voyages exceeding 48 hours shall submit a daily report to its company. The company shall retain the reports for the duration of the voyage.

How can the daily reports be made?

By any means, as long as they are transmitted to as soon as practicable after determination of the position named in the report.

Automated reporting systems may be used, provided that:

  • They include a recording function of their transmission;
  • That those functions and interfaces with position-fixing equipment are subjected to regular verification by the ship’s master.

What should the daily report contain?

  • Position;
  • Course and speed;
  • Details of any external or internal conditions that are affecting the ship’s voyage or the normal safe operation of the ship.

This information should be saved electronically when ECDIS is used.

Click here for more guidance on the recording of Navigational events>

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A handy guide to SOLAS V and Hydrographic Services

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V> Hydrographic Services

This post is being put together at sea. Away from the trusty laptop with my stock of photos, away from the desktop editor, and away from the luxury of broadband. So let’s see what can be done on the mobile phone and really slow WiFi. The post is part of the SOLAS V series. This one covering hydrographic services.

Pilotage out

What SOLAS V Regulation covers the provision of Hydrographic services?

Regulation 9.

Click here for the UK MCA guidance on Regulation 9>

What does this Regulation require Governments to do?

  • Arrange for the collection and compilation of hydrographic data;
  • The publication, dissemination and keeping up to date of all nautical information necessary for safe navigation.

That is gather and then distribute nautical information.

What Hydrographic services are governments required to undertake?

  • To ensure that hydrographic surveying is carried out, as far as possible, adequate to the requirements of safe navigation;
  • To prepare and issue nautical charts, sailing directions, lists of lights, tide tables and other nautical publications, where applicable, satisfying the needs of safe navigation;
  • To promulgate notices to mariners in order that nautical charts and publications are kept, as far as possible, up to date;
  • To provide data management arrangements to support these services.

What must Goverents do with regard to the format of charts?

  • To ensure the greatest possible uniformity in charts and nautical publications;
  • To take into account, whenever possible, relevant international resolutions and recommendations.

Click here for the IHO website>

What must Governments coordinate to achieve?

To ensure that hydrographic and nautical information is made available on a world-wide scale:

  • Timely
  • Reliably
  • Unambiguously

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SOLAS V and Nautical Charts

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V> Nautical Charts

Part of a UKHO chart showing Cornwall

Charts and publications are the next topic covered in this series on SOLAS and the safety of Navigation.

What SOLAS Regulation covers Nautical Charts and Publications?

SOLAS Regulation 27 – Nautical Charts and Nautical Publications.

What does SOLAS V Regulation 27 require?

That Nautical charts and nautical publications, necessary for the intended voyage, shall be:

  • Adequate;
  • Up to date.

Cover of UKCHO chart Maintenance Record

Click for UK MCA guidance on Regulation 27

Click for IMO page on charts

Click for ILO page on electronic charts

Click for IMO guidence on electronic charts

What is a nautical chart according to SOLAS?

Reg 2 of SOLAS V states that it is map or a specially compiled database from which such a map is derived. It also has to be issued officially by or on the authority of a Government, authorized Hydrographic Office or other relevant government institution and is designed to meet the requirements of marine navigation.

UK guidance states that a chart must be of such a scale and contain sufficient detail as clearly to show:

  • All navigational marks which may be used by a ship when navigating the waters which are covered by the chart;
  • All known dangers affecting those waters;
  • All information concerning any ships’ routeing and ship reporting measures applicable to those waters.

Click for information about the UKHO

Some suggested books on Amazon

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SOLAS V and Manning

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V> Ship’s Manning

After an excursion into security and moorings this blog returns to explore SOLAS and the safety of Navigation. This it is a topic that overlaps with the certification series of posts, that of safe manning.

Dubai ships

Within SOLAS V is a Regulation that covers both manning levels and language.

What SOLAS Regulation covers ship’s manning?

SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 14.

Click here for UK MCA guidance on this regulation>

What does this regulation require Governments to do?

To maintain, or, if it is necessary, to adopt, measures for the purpose of ensuring that, from the point of view of safety of life at sea, all ships shall be sufficiently and efficiently manned.

For every  ship on international voyages the flag state shall:

  • Establish appropriate minimum safe manning following a transparent procedure, taking into account the relevant guidance adopted by the Organization;
  • Issue an appropriate minimum safe manning document or equivalent as evidence of the minimum safe manning.

Click here for IMO A.1047- Principles of Safe Manning>

Click here for a handy guide on the Safe Manning Document>

What does the Regulation say about a working language?

  • On all ships, to ensure effective crew performance in safety matters, a working language shall be established and recorded in the ship’s log-book;
  • The company, or the master, as appropriate, shall determine the appropriate working language;
  • Each seafarer shall be required to understand and, where appropriate, give orders and instructions and to report back in that language;
  • If the working language is not an official language of the Flag State, all plans and lists required to be posted shall include a translation into the working language.

Cargo ship bridge

What does the Regulation say about the language to be used for external communications?

On ships on international voyages English shall be used on the bridge as the working language for:

  • Bridge-to-bridge;
  • Bridge-to-shore safety communications;
  • Communications on board between the pilot and bridge watchkeeping personnel

This does not apply if those directly involved in the communication speak a common language other than English.

Click here for A 22/Res.918 IMO Standard Marine Communication Phrases>

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Maritime Security-An Index of Posts so Far


Before temporarily moving off to explore other topics I have put together a short  handy list of the Maritime Security related posts on Navsregs. More posts will no doubt be added, so follow this bog to catch them as they arrive.

Index of Security Posts


A Really Handy Guide to Ship Certification-Part 3

Keeping vessels safe

Cover of the Really handy Guide to Ship Certification, part 3.

The third book of the Handy Guide series on vessel certification covers the SOLAS and security certificates, including SAFCON, CSSC, PSSC, ISPS and a diversion into the subject of HSSC.

Click here for the book’s Amazon page>