Ocean College

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Different jobs during the watch

Date: 19.10.2020
Author: Manasse
Position: Marin, Spain
Geographical Position: 42°20,5’N , 009°07,7’E
Etmal: 151 NM (total distance: 1165 NM)

The helm

One of the most important jobs on the Pelican is the watch. There are many different tasks. Firstly there is the helmsman. He must handle the helm. At the helm you get a number by one of the crew members. You have to steer this number with the help of the compass. When it’s stormy, this can be a really hard job to handle. On the opposite it can be really fun, when the sea is calm and the weather is sunny. When the weather is stormy I don’t like doing the helm very much because you must turn the wheel a lot and it’s harder to stay on the course.

watch at a sailing vessel
Steering when the weather is nice

The lookout

Another job you can do during your watch is the lookout. At the lookout you have got to report every object you can see in the ocean. That can be a ship, a fishing boat, a lighthouse, land or a buoy. For reporting the object we use a special way: There are two sides of the ship. The left side is called port side and the right side starboard side. If you see a new object we use the fists and a point system. There are eight points for a quarter of the circle (90°). So when you see a ship at portside on a 45° angle in front of the Pelican, you would tell the crewmember: “There is a ship far/near away at four points at starboard side.“ And then you should also say if it’s opening or closing.

Opening or closing means in which direction the other ship is moving. When it is moving behind or away from us it is called opening. When it’s coming towards us or moving in front of us, it’s called closing. It’s important to tell which kind of color you see, when you see a light, how many lights there are and in which rhythm they are flashing. This information is important to find out which kind of object or boat it is. That’s really important at night. Sometimes I like the lookout when there are many objects in the ocean. I don’t like to do the lookout when we are in a place where there is nothing to see.

lookout during watch
very important: the lookout

The break

You must stay at the lookout or at the helm for half an hour and then you get an one hour break. At night it can be really difficult to stay awake because you sometimes don’t get much sleep on the ship. In the break I talk with my friends and chill. If someone falls asleep the watchleader or a crewmember will be angry with you. The break is mostly nice because you are chilling and you can talk with the other people.

Changings in the watch system

At the moment every third day we had a 12-hour watch day and the other days 6 hours. Starting from today we have an eight hour system so we do two watches of four hours every day. When school starts, we only have four hours of watch every day. I don’t miss having school so far.

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