Safety lessons
1. Passage planning is a prerequisite of safe navigation, particularly in unfamiliar waters. Plotting
an intended route either on a paper chart or in a chart plotter not only provides an overview of
the planned passage, but it also enables all potential hazards to be identified and avoided.
2. Keeping a good lookout does not just require looking out of the window. It also requires tying
in what can be seen with what is shown on the chart, and therefore is expected, and adjusting
radar displays and chart plotters to ensure that the track ahead is clear.
3. Fishing invariably involves working long and unsociable hours. However, careful management
is required to prevent limited opportunities to rest impacting on a vessel’s safe operation. The
ability to work a watch system that ensures wheelhouse watch-keepers get adequate rest and
enable the provision of an additional lookout at night, is an essential factor when determining
manning levels.
4. Leaving a wheelhouse unattended is never a good move, no matter for how brief a period.
5. Most fishing vessels rely on electronic chart plotters for marking positions of underwater
obstructions, fishing gear and successful fishing tows. Due to the advantage that real time
positioning provides, chart plotters are also invariably used for navigation instead of paper
charts. However, unless the plotters are loaded with up-to-date electronic charts at appropriate
scales, they will not be suffciently accurate for navigation.