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Gard Guidance Masters


Navigation in confined waters carries extreme risks such as

  • sudden failure of
    – navigational equipment
    – propelling or steering systems
    – the entire power system
  • resulting in
    – grounding
    – damage to FFO
    – collision and contact with other vessels
    – damage to the marine environment.

    These risks can be minimised if the Master operates proper Bridge Resource Management.

    The principles of Bridge Resource Management are laid down in the Bridge Procedures Guide published by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). It contains guidance to best watchkeeping practice and guidance on Bridge Resource Management and the conduct of the bridge team including the pilot.

    Bridge Resource Management focuses on the use and co-ordination of all the skills and resources available to the bridge team to achieve the optimum goals of

  • safety, and
  • efficiency.

    Bridge Resource Management

  • is more than good planning combined with adequate safety margins
  • takes into account unforeseen events which may develop into a serious and difficult situation
  • requires the skills, abilities and effective communication of all members of the bridge team
  • includes the full involvement of a pilot, if in attendance!

    The key to an effective Bridge Resource Management is teamwork and the Master would normally be the team leader.

    Bridge Resource Management should take into account situational awareness. The following factors can affect situational awareness

  • communication in more than one language
  • cultural background
  • operational atmosphere
  • procedures
  • fatigue of the crew
  • climatic conditions.

    When operating Bridge Resource Management the Master should be aware that

  • navigation and pilotage is a shared task
  • timely and accurate communication conveyed to all members of the bridge team is a key element.

    Navigating in confined waters requires delegation of tasks. To avoid any uncertainty or irregularity which could have disastrous results

  • the tasks should be clearly defined
  • navigation information should be cross-checked
  • navigation manoeuvres must be monitored
  • information should be clearly confirmed by the recipient
  • continuous progress reporting is required.

    The Master should also consider training his/her officers to react in situations of sudden failure of equipment and technical systems, such as power failure or lack of steering.

    An effective bridge team is one where any one individual’s concerns, no matter what their rank, can be raised and taken seriously.