Watch keeping responsibilities


The information below details the watch-keeping responsibilities of an average crew member in contrast to say a two handed experienced racing crew where each person effectively sails single-handing during their watch period.

The key points in the average cruising yacht is to ensure that everyone understands and follows the safety rules laid down by the skipper. Whilst the skipper would ideally have watch keepers fully familiar with the collision regulations this is often not the case and thus it needs to be made clear to the crew that they should not hesitate to call the skipper when faced wit any situation with which they are uncertain or unfamiliar.

From a skipper's perspective you cannot assume your crew have the skills outlined below - if they don't then you need to train them up so that the can be a safe watch keeper. In an ideal world everyone on board would learn the Collision Regulations, and demonstrate appropriate judgement in using them in real situations.  However you may have:

- colour blind crew (about 14% of men are red/green colour blind)) who may not be able to adequately distinguish between the various colours of navigational lights

- crew aboard who don't sail that often or whose sailing generally tends to day time only, inshore and away from areas frequented by commercial shipping

In either case the skipper can expect disturbed slumber !

Keeping a good lookout


Deck Log

Sail Trim

Safety Rules

Change Of Watch

Off Watch Responsibilities

Watch-keeping courtesies

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