Tag Archives: Deck cadets

The use of heading and track control- a quick guide

Navsregs>SOLAS>SOLAS V>Heading and Track Control
A cargo ship at sunrise off DawlishAnother SOLAS V Regulation, and another regulation on steering gear. This one covers what used to be called the  ‘Auto Pilot’, before technology gave us many variations to play with.

The importance of the steering gear in safety of navigation is reflected in the fact there are several regulations devoted to it within SOLAS V. So far this blog has covered these two-

And now, it will look at a third.

SOLAS V Regulation 24 – Use of heading and/or track control systems-a quick guide

When must it be possible to immediately establish manual control of a ship’s steering?

  • In areas of high traffic density
  • in conditions of restricted visibility
  • in all other hazardous navigational situations

 “(l) The term “restricted visibility” means any condition in which visibility is restricted by fog, mist, falling snow, heavy rainstorms, sandstorms or any other similar causes.” COLREGS Rule 3

What must the Officer of the watch have immediately available in  areas of high traffic density, in conditions of restricted visibility, and in all other hazardous navigational situations?

The services of a qualified helmsperson who shall be ready at all times to take over steering control.

How should the changeover from automatic to manual steering and vice versa shall be made?

By or under the supervision of a responsible officer.

When at sea should the manual steering be tested?

After prolonged use of heading and/or track control systems, and before entering areas where navigation demands special caution.

What International standard refers to Heading Control standards?

 A Really Handy Guide to Ship Certification Part 3 is now available on Kindle

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

The third in the series of revision guides on Ship certification is now available for the Kindle Platform.  SOLAS safety certification and Security are the themes this time, with a bit of HSSC thrown in for good measures.

Click here to see on Amazon>

Click here to find out more about the Really Handy Series of Guides>

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COLREG Part F-some new Rules

Navsregs>COLREGS>Part F

Collision Regulations Rules 39, 40 and 41

Verification of Compliance


A quick pause before commencing the next topic on ship certification to have a look at a change in the Collision Regulations introduced in January 2016.  This change introduced a complete new section to the rules; section F.  Section F is concerned with flag state implementation of the Convention, and will have no direct impact on vessels at sea.

Power Driven Vessel Lights

COLREG Blog update- Since this post was published a new COLREG series of posts has started,  exploring the regulations that surround Navigation lights. 

Click here to jump to the start of those posts> 



Rule 39 Definitions

(a) Audit means a systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled.

(b) Audit Scheme means the IMO Member State Audit Scheme established by the Organization and taking into account the guidelines developed by the Organization.

(c) Code for Implementation means the IMO Instruments Implementation Code (III Code) adopted by the Organization by resolution A.1070(28). (d) Audit Standard means the Code for Implementation.

Rule 40 Application

Contracting Parties shall use the provisions of the Code for Implementation in the execution of their obligations and responsibilities contained in the present Convention.

Rule 41 Verification of compliance

(a) Every Contracting Party shall be subject to periodic audits by the Organization in accordance with the audit standard to verify compliance with and implementation of the present Convention.

(b) The Secretary-General of the Organization shall have responsibility for administering the Audit Scheme, based on the guidelines developed by the Organization.

(c) Every Contracting Party shall have responsibility for facilitating the conduct of the audit and implementation of a programme of actions to address the findings, based on the guidelines developed by the Organization.

(d) Audit of all Contracting Parties shall be:

(i) based on an overall schedule developed by the Secretary-General of the Organization, taking into account the guidelines developed by the Organization; and

(ii) conducted at periodic intervals, taking into account the guidelines developed by the Organization.


The Kindle Book Shelf of COLREG Books

For some Really Handy Revision Guides to the Collsion Regulations, click here>







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Where to get information on ship certification

Navsregs>Ship Certification>Certification Information

Here starts a series of posts exploring ship certification; an important topic for anyone studying for certificates of competency,  especially at Mates, Masters, seconds or chiefs levels. Starting at the beginning I have put together some hints on where to find what needs to be carried.

IMO information

If you have access to SOLAS, its Annex 2 is a good place to start to determine what ship certification to hold. It contains a list of the certificates required to be carried on each type of ship,NAVSREGSOLASCover and also gives a useful reference to the related conventions.

This annex is also available as an IMO circular FAL.2/Circ.127, MEPC.1/Circ.817, MSC.1/Circ.1462, which can be downloaded from their website.

Flag state informationNavregsCertTableMCA

The UK produces some of the best additional guidance on certification and here are some pointers of where to look.

The UK MCA  publishes information within their ‘Instructions to surveyors Survey and certification policy’  (MSIS 23). Towards the back of this document are some handy tables of certificates. This is available online from the  UK government website



NavsregsCerGOVheadingRemaining on the UK GOV.UK website there is a
useful page ‘Vessel classification and certification’.

This page starts with an outline of the main certification requirements.



To dig into the legal deNavsregsCertSItails for UK flagged ship’s, the statutory instrument is  No 1210 The Merchant Shipping (Survey and Certification) Regulations 1995. This is available on line.


In the next post I will extract the information in these suggested documents to produce a crib that will answer the question “what certification must my ship carry?”
To learn more about ‘The Really Handy’ range of study aids for OOW examinations- click here>

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OOW Question- Who can be the officer of a watch?


These series of questions now move on to the subject of fitness for duty as officer of the watch.

Question: Who can be an officer of the watch (OOW)?

A bit of Revision

Rule 7 Risk of Collision
(a) Every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists. If there is any doubt such risk shall be deemed to exist.


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Rule 3 Safe Speed-Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions.



Get the questions on twitter  (@JohnTeammanley): at Navsbooks (@JohnTeammanley): https://twitter.com/JohnTeammanley?s=09  #COLREGS

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COLREG- Rule 5-Evsaatmaplbsahawabaamaitpcacsatmafaothsaroc-And the answer is

Rule 5-Lookout Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and risk of collision.


The most important Rule of them all.

Follow this blog for weekly  COLREG revision questions.

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Colreg: Evsaatmaplbsahawabaamaitpcacsatmafaothsaroc?

Here we go, linked in with the delights of twitter, I will be pushing out COLREG revision snap questions. So for you that have used my books, and would like a bit more to work the memory follow along. If you don’t have a copy of one of my Really Handy COLREG kindle books…join in the fun, but give a sample of one of the guides a go as well.

What Rule?

What are the words?

Answer in the next post.


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How to learn the Collision Regulations

Navsregs>COLREGS>How to learn

Many Deck Cadets consider their greatest obstacle to gaining that precious ticket is learning the Collision Regulations.

I have put this  post together to help take the fear away from the ‘Learning’ part of the process, with some suggestions on how to transfer those words into the memory, ready to be thrown back out in a confident form to an examiner. Give them a go, a couple may work for you…

When learning the Colregs the most important method to use is that their is no single method. Not only are we all different in our learning styles, but we soon become stale when cramming for exams. What is needed is a selection of revision tools, a selection that provides new ways forward when a saturation point has been reached. So, here is my toolbox of Colreg revision methods

Walk and Talk
My favourite. Combines revision with some fresh air, exercise and a chance for a change in scenery.

Take the Rulwpid-157765645208.jpges on a walk, and recite out aloud as you go. Don’t be frightened to repeat the same sentence over and over until it is engrained. Do not be tempted to whisper, it is the confident speaking allowed that locks the words into the brain, and allows the mouth to be trained to only come out with the right answer.

Choice of route plays an important role, after all, there are some places that being seen talking loudly to yourself may not be appreciated, or at the least will gain you a wide berth.

The link between landscape and memory will help hugely, places, words and sequences becoming linked.

Stickers everywhere
A method best left for after you have identified the problem cases. Write out the Rules that are victimising you and stick them up in strategic locations that you pass every day. Back of doors are commonly used, and as are inside of cupboard doors. Every time you use the door, read the Rule. Do not be tempted to wallpaper your flat with this method though, the landlord will not be happy, and too many words will not sink in.

Simple and effective. Work through your pocket book of rules highlighting the key words of each rule. The ones needed to make the Rule make sense. Then run through the book using another colour to highlight those stubborn words that cause you problems. Be selective though, a book awash with neon yellow will not work.

Write write write
Access to a copious supply of scrap paper will assist greatly for this.

Copy the Rule from the book several times, cover the book, then attempt to write it again from memory. This is a method that demands honesty. Do not cheat, read your answer and be a critical self marker. If you are studying for a written exam you must include this method. It is your hand the needs to know the rule, not the mouth.

Key words only
A possible follow on follow from the highlight method. Write the Rules with only the key words, maybe in a pocket book or on a a card. Then using this as a crib, practice reciting each Rule by filling the gaps.GormleyHead

Letters only method
Write only the initial letter of each word only. Then use this to recite the Rule. For example Rule 5 Evsaatmaplbsahawabamattpcac.

Writing by letters only
A great compromise between the power of writing the Rule out, and the time it takes to write each word in full. Write down the first letter in the head whilst speaking the Rule out, or saying it in the head.

Model ships, model seas method
This is where it becomes fun. Use some model ships to set up shipping situations and talk through the relevant rules. The big advantage of this method is that it replicates the examination room. There is no need to buy expensive teaching models, just pop down to a cheap toy shop, or use pencils.

Group method
This is a must, if possible. Work together as a group asking each other questions, then be critical on the answers. I recommend a relaxed informal setting for this, away from the normal workplace.

Into depth method
Time to dig into the books. Once a good knowledge of the Rules has been gained its a good time to start digging deeper. Approaching the Rules from another direction will keep the interest going. My Amazon store contains some suggestions.

So, hopefully this list has given a good range of methods to choose from. If you have any other favourites please feel free share them with a comment to this post. 

For some Really Handy Kindle books to learn the Collision Regulations Click here



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