Wednesday, December 5, 2007


When docking select one location to work from and don't move from this position until you are alongside the pier. The ship's heading is immediately obvious from any vantage point, but less obvious is her motion both ahead and athwartships. It is important that the shiphandler pick one location, generally amidships, and stay there until close to the dock. When alongside, when cargo and superstructure block the shiphandler's view, a move can be made to the bridge wing where the shiphandler should remain until the docking is completed.

Helm orders must be supplemented by hand signals to right and left to avoid any misunderstanding due to language differences or inatten­tion. It is quite common, especially during a long passage, for a helms­man to repeat an order correctly and then put the wheel in the opposite direction. If the shiphandler points in the desired direction when the order is given, this mistake is rarely made by the helmsman. The pilot's manner of working assures that a calm and orderly atmosphere prevails throughout the docking. If a mistake in judgement or action occurs, it is because people become excited and excitement is contagious. Even when a problem develops, if the ship­handler, be he pilot, master, or deck officer, controls emotions so his concerns are not obvious to others, there will be none of the shouting and running around that only makes for a bad situation. The ship handler makes the mood of the bridge and the movement of the ship.