Monday, January 18, 2016

FTV Deck Watch

For the past few nights from 2000 to 0000 I have had the opportunity to take part and learn from the cadets that were on deck watch. What is watch? Watch is the same whether on the deck side or the engine side, it is when both cadets and crew run the ship and make sure all of the equipment is working correctly.
View window from Bridge

Cadets on deck watch drive the ship. As one could think, this is a 24 hour job, so we have shifts from 0000 to 0400, 0400 to 0800, 0800 to 1200, 1200 to 1600, 1600 to 2000, and 2000 to 2400. These shifts as you can see are 4 hour periods and they are paired so you will stand two watches a day. For example, if you stand 0800 to 1200, that means you also stand the 2000 to 2400 watch. Each watch team has 20 cadets and a watch officer who is a trained crew member. The watch team consists of 1/C cadets (senior cadets). There team positions are  the COOW, which is the cadet officer of the watch, who is in charge of the people on the bridge during their watch. Next is the navigator, who has the duty of charting all of positions and predicted positions on one of the charts on the navigation table. There is a radar observer, who monitors and operates both of the 10 centimeter radar, 3 centimeter radar (different types of radar equipment), and the ECDIS, which I talked about the other
day. Another position is the training officer. In my opinion this is the best job on the bridge, because they are passing down all of the knowledge that they have been learning for the past four years to teach all of the underclassmen on the bridge. This was who I shadowed on most of the watches. There is a helmsman who takes care of monitoring the freshman cadet who is steering the ship. Last but not least there is also a Bos'n. The bos'n sits at the quarterdeck and they are in charge of freshmen and sophomore cadets who do checks around the ship to make sure everything is in good order.
GPS Navigation
Automatic Identification System (AIS)

A sophomore cadet assists each of the seniors cadets, with their duties. The COOW assistant called a Quartermaster, who records and logs all of the calls and communications of their watch shift.  The sophomore cadet under the training officer is a weather observer. The weather observer records all weather every hour to send in to NOAA. Most of the freshman jobs consist of lookouts either on the bow or the stern. They can observe the radar and helm, and they can be security rovers or messengers. All of the freshmen rotate through all of the watch jobs to gain experience as a Deck officer.

ECIS and Radar Stations
All of the jobs are important to the watch team in their own ways. All of the cadets that are on these teams had to go through an extensive amount of training and classes to get here and that is why they are able to take command of the whole bridge during watch. As an observer during these past few days I have learned how to plot a course, shoot a star to use for navigation, operate the radar equipment, and make correct weather observations. Even though it was only at a basic level it was very cool to see how it all works! I commend all of the seniors who have worked extremely hard these past four years to get where they are today. I also commend all of the underclassmen who are taking the time to learn from of these seniors Thank you to the division 1, 0800 to 1200/ 2000 to 2400 watch team for teaching me all I learned this past watch cycle!

The History of Navigation
Hands-on Activity: The Invisible Radar Triangle
Use the Internet to observe Weather
What's your destination?
Make a Weather Station

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