What actions to be taken When Approaching in fog in the open sea?
ROR (Rules of the Road) require that a lookout must always be maintained, by all available means. This includes by sight, by hearing and by radar. Among all the navigational aids on the bridge, radar is the only one that is also useful for the prevention of collision.
When approaching fog, take the following actions-
Inform E/R We are entering the fog. Get engines ready for maneuvering and let us know as soon as you are ready
Observe visually, and make a note of the movement of all traffic in sight.
Switch on ARPA and commence plotting.
Switch on navigation lights. This is a requirement under ROR. It increases the range of visual detection in restricted visibility. If and when visual sighting is effected, each ship would be able to determine our relative heading of the other, at a glance, and take appropriate avoiding action.
Change over to hand steering
Switch on the other steering motor also.
Post double lookouts.
Try out a pneumatic whistle, electric klaxon, and the manual foghorn by giving a very short blast on each. Try out the automatic fog signal unit.
Stop all noise on the deck so that fog signals of other ships would not get drowned by noises on board the own ship.
Keep open the outer doors of the wheelhouse so that fog signals of other ships may be heard, even if they are very faint.
Commence sounding fog signals before entering the fog. This is in the hope that a ship just within the fog, and not visible, would hear own'
Reduce to 'Safe speed before entering the fog.
Restrict hold ventilation. The entry of air with water particles in suspension, into the ship’s hold, is not desirable.
Record all happenings in the Bridge Notebook.
Why change to hand steering
While the ship is on autopilot, any alterations of course have to be carried out by the OOW (officer on watch) or by the Master.
When the ship is in restricted visibility, or in a high traffic density area in any condition of visibility, or in an area with restricted sea room, etc, the ship must be on hand steering at that time, the ship was on autopilot, the officer of the watch would have to run to the steering control and effect the alteration himself.
This delay may be vital. Also, during this time, the attention of the officer of the watch would be diverted, from other immediate, important actions that may be necessary, to the simple task of effecting alterations of course.