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What's going on in the wheelhouse of that ship?

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Nov 26, 2006
Hunter 31 1987 Fly Creek Marina Fairhope,AL.
As a professional mariner, I can attest to the accuracy of these findings. Having worked 6 on 6 off since 1995, there are so many days that turn out to be 18 hr days at sea.
personaly speaking, I have found myself making choices between eating and sleeping.

after standing a 6 hr watch , you are relieved on the hour say 2400 which takes a few minutes to properly inform your reliefe of positon, traffic, and normal ships operations at sea. You are relived and down stairs to the galley to eat breakfast at aroound 0015 or 0030.
by the time you eat breakfast, get a shower, do laundry , it is now 0130 and you have to be awakened by 0515 so that you can get your coffee and get awake or coherint enough to relive you pilot/captain by 0545 then stand your watch from 0600 to 1130 and start over again. Doing this for 20-30 days straight.
Then take yourself home to the family who expects every
And yes by the way , we all have had our share of groundings/close calls.

one to sleep from say 2100 to 0600 and stay busy all day from 0600 to 1800.

I usually still have to get a nap in daily when im at home. Usually after a 6 hr stretch of anything. lol

thanks for sharing Roger as fatige really does play a large factor in decison making in every aspect of our lives, not just at sea.

Fair winds and safe passges;

Captain Charles Creel
200 TON Master


Jul 6, 2011
American Boatbuilding Corp. Block Island 40 Palm Coast
As to merchant vessels, I've heard from many sources for a very long time that most non-coastal ships use "ocean highways" ...much like our interstate road networks to get from point A to point B. (Some charts depict the major in-bound and out-bound "fairways".)

Once clear of coastal issues, merchants strike a digital rumb line and let the electronics do the rest; somewhat like an airline crew who upon learning the "lane" is clear, shift to an aircraft management mode. (Maybe someone with real merchant marine experience might want to comment and straighten-out any of my misgivings.)

Albeit, in my opinion, cruisers clearing major port shipping routes off-shore should plan for perpendicular crossings and in day light hours if at all possible.

Having sailed the Chesapeake for years, I know a human is on station, but maneuverability becomes the big issue and even if an "engines astern" order was given (at great expense) forward movement might still occur for over a mile.

When fatigue and under-staffing issues are added to the already serious mix, it can quickly become deadly for the cruising sailor. We always keep a close watch on commercial vessels at sea and plot their relative position to ours. In bay and especially while transiting the ICW (where push boats can often not see beyond their tow or around the bend) we always keep an "exit path" in mind.

We only relax when we're well out of commercial channels and ocean fairways.

Great film and maybe the start of good research leading to some real answers. Thanks for the link Roger.
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