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    Averaging sights on commercial vessels
    From: Doug Royer
    Date: 2004 Oct 7, 11:00 -0700

    You can,for all practical reasons,discount that averaging sights are the
    standard proceedure onboard Merchie vessels in this day and age.
    By this I mean the duties of the nav watch are such that having this as a
    standard proceedure is not practiced.The nav watch is more concerned with
    navigation,chart position and collision avoidance by useing radar and
    sonar.The nav watch  on commercial vessels usually consist of the OOD(3rd
    officer or above), 2 but usually 1 ABS ratings on duty(all officers must
    also be rated as ABS,so usually only 1 ABS and 1 officer are on the bridge)
    around the bridge area and 2 S ratings on forward and/or roving
    lookout.Conditions will dictate how many are called to nav watch duty at a
    given time.On most merchies I doubt seriously if any celestial sights are
    taken on a daily basis.The company I used to work for left most of the
    operating proceedures up to the master.Some masters I've served with
    required at least 1 sight be taken and LOGGED each 24 hrs while others had
    no such requirement.
    We would have training schedules for all personnel intrested in learning cel
    nav and other aspects of navigation but these were,for the most
    part,conducted on their off duty hours.Averaging sights is taught(especially
    when an inexperianced member is practicing to become proficiant with the
    equipment and reduction proceedures)and used when practical.Only if a rating
    was rated for standing as a member of the nav watch would we have on duty
    training in the cel nav and other disciplines so they could become
    proficiantly skilled to meet the standards set by the company and Coast
    Guard to advance.One was taught and trained(through repitition,trial and
    error)to become proficiant in taking 1 cut and 1 cut only in a sighting
    session.This takes time and practice.Not always the most accurate method
    even by officers but duties elsewhere leave not much time while on watch
    because of the reduced number of crew personnel onboard.The reliance on the
    interpretation and use of electronic postion finding equipment is paramount
    on today's merchy vessels.
    Even though the Coast Guard requires each vessel to carry the needed
    equipment AND have as a crew's complement people who are proficiant in
    position finding by celestial navigation it is not practiced on a scheduled
    daily basis throughout the industry today.It is practiced,for the most
    part,now as a matter of professional pride for both officer and rating.
    Joel,thanks for shareing the pictures of the Vero Beach area.That will give
    us all a glimpse of the power,especially in the dangerous quadrant,of
    typhons or hurricanes.

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