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The Master should ensure that, whilst the vessel is at anchorage the same principles are applied to watchkeeping as en route in addition to the requirements under the vessel’s SMS and the SSP. This is particularly important at anchorages which are exposed to sudden changes in the weather requiring immediate action to avoid the anchor dragging or similar problems, damaging the vessel and/or third party property.

A contingency plan must be in operation whilst at anchor in case of a shift in weather or other conditions. Watchkeepers should be alert to the slightest indication of a change in position or noises or vibrations coming from the anchor cable and should immediately initiate the contingency plan.

The watchkeeping officer should be able to immediately call upon a lookout, e.g. in times of poor visibility.

Whilst at anchor an alert watch must be maintained, i.e.

  • constant monitoring of the vessel’s position
  • carefully monitor for drag
  • watching the radio communication
  • observing the movements of other vessels
  • the surrounding area
  • carefully observe any change in the weather, which may necessitate the watches to be strengthened or leaving the anchorage in time.

    If another vessel is approaching on a collision course and avoiding action cannot be taken

  • warning must be given immediately – light and sound
  • the engines brought on stand by
  • the Master called, and
  • the anchor crew mustered.