Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Speed is important during the approach since a ship is less controllable when her engine is used astern to reduce headway. If speed is kept to a minimum it is possible to use the engine as needed without arriving at the berth with to much headway. If speed is not reduced early in the approach, the ship handler finds himself with a tiger by the tail-needing to reduce speed and yet having to use the ship's engines ahead to control the vessel when shaping up for docking.

Many shiphandlers make it a practice to stop a ship completely about one ship length from the berth, especially at night when it is more difficult to estimate a vessel's speed. They are then certain of the speed, it is zero, and can use the engine as required without concern about arriving at the berth at an fast speed.