How to Keep a Navigational Watch?


1. Compare compasses soon after taking-over watch. Autopilots usually have a "Magnetic Compass Off Course Alarm". Ensure that it is switched on and check the 'Permissible drift value fed in ( Check notes For Magnetic compass off course alarm ). If such an alarm is not fitted, compare magnetic and gyrocompasses at regular, frequent intervals to check for gyro wander'.

2. Check synchronization of gyro repeaters at least once a watch.

3. Fix the position of the ship at frequent, regular intervals. The intervals would be according to the Master's instructions. In coastal waters, it maybe 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 15 minutes, or even less, depending on the scale of the chart, speed of own ship, the proximity of dangers, the current experienced, etc. Whenever possible, rely on visual fixes verified by Radar. Do not rely on positions obtained by one instrument alone. Compare fixes with DR positions and obtain the set and rate of current.

4. Check compass error as soon as reasonably possible, after taking over the watch. Thereafter, if practicable, check compass error every time a major course alteration is made after the compass has settled. Each time, enter the results in the Compass Error Book (also called Azimuth Book) for future reference.

5. Before altering course, check the chart once more and verify that the intended course is safe and that its value has been correctly read off.

6. Keep a