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A bridge too far


Safety and security when navigating the oceans is the main priority for all yachts. Michael Howorth looks at the intuitive integrated bridge systems and navigation software on offer from the leaders in the maritime field


I


remember only too well, the time from my past when, as the Navigating Officer sailing aboard the P&O liner Oriana on a voyage to Australia, we, the bridge team, adopted the somewhat pompous practice of answering the engine room telephone by saying “Good Morning


this is the Nerve Centre”. The practice only stopped when the engineers began telephoning asking to talk with the chief nerve. Jesting aside, the bridge of any ship or superyacht is almost always; command central. It is from here when at sea, at anchor and even at times when the yacht is alongside, that the principle decisions regarding the yachts course and safety are decided and enacted upon. When it comes to paraphernalia there are often areas on board such as the engine room or control room that are better fitted out with more expensive control equipment. When it comes to décor then almost certainly the master stateroom will knock the bridge into a cocked hat but the fact remains: it is always the bridge that lies at the very centre of superyacht operation.


In a book, co written by Frances Howorth entitled, ‘Bridge Procedures A Guide for Watch Keepers of Large Yachts under Sail


and Power’ written specifically for those working on yachts in excess of 24 metres we said of the bridge: “Safe navigation is the most fundamental attribute of good seamanship. An increasingly sophisticated range of navigational aids can today complement the basic skills of navigating officers, which have accumulated over the centuries. Sophistication, however, brings its own dangers and a need for precautionary measures against undue reliance on technology. Experience shows that properly formulated bridge procedures and the development of bridge teamwork are critical to maintaining a safe navigational watch.” As navigation and routing becomes more electronically generated that is becoming more and more important.


Generally speaking, the commercial shipping companies are extremely cost conscious, looking to maximise every possible efficiency to keep costs as low as possible. In terms of electronic navigation, cells are purchased on a route-by-route basis, with very little cross- track buffer. This will keep the costs down, but it does of course have an impact on the amount of detail for things like emergency ports of refuge. Yachts on the other hand, have traditionally been more liberal with


their ENC consumption to cover off the unexpected change of itinerary. Rather than purchasing week-by- week, yachts will look at a much wider area for a longer period to be safe.


As an independent supplier of navigation solutions, OneOcean can trace back company activity back to the days of Nelson. Clearly in those times there was no such thing as electronic navigation and indeed the bridge as we know it today did not even exist but it does give the company a fairly unique view on both the world of commercial shipping and superyachts. While the equipment being used on both types of vessels is very similar, the bridge procedures can greatly differ. Former yacht crewmember, Chris Warde, is now the company’s Head of Superyachts and has been in that position since January 2018. Before that he worked for Sunseeker International as a Superyacht Technical Sales Manager. With that sort of background he is clearly qualified to comment on navigation and compliance solutions.


He says, “With the introduction of our OneOcean Pay As You Sail (PAYS) scheme the


84 | SPRING / SUMMER 2020 | ONBOARD


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