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    Lookout by Sound
    From: Jeremy C
    Date: 2009 Oct 16, 06:41 EDT
    Ah the navy, with the hordes on the bridge.  We "merchies" don't have such luxuries (although I think everyone is using navigational radar these days).  The "lookout by sound" always seemed a bit of a stretch for me in most cases.  What exactly are we listening for?  Horns? Bells? Seagulls?  By the time I actually hear most of these, even a LOUD ship's whistle, I am probably well into imminent danger on a 600 foot merchant ship as the range of hearing is no better than a mile and that is assuming no wind howling over the bridge wing.  By the time I hear a bell buoy, it is just off the rail about amidships; and this is on an open bridge wing.  What if I am in the actual bridge navigating/maneuvering? (many new ships have totally enclosed bridge/wing's with NO outside deck).  You can't hear much in there, even with the doors open.
    While trying not to totally disregard looking out by sound, I have to put it into perspective, and understand that my best lookout by sound is a close watch on the VHF radio for stations calling me, not listening for whistle signals or navaids.  I have a lot of data coming at me constantly up there and sound data is at the bottom of the list.  I have to rely mostly on my eyes and instruments for both navigation and collision avoidance.  The only time I may try to get another person on the bridge to help listen is in serious fog where I can't see the bow. (In that case I might have 4 people up there including the Master).
    In a message dated 10/15/2009 2:32:45 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, byronink@netzero.com writes:

    I don't want to hit hard on this BUT the ears of the lookout should be
    an important part of the lookout job.  From the "Watch Officers
    Guide." "See that they have some means of rapid commuications with the
    bridge; they should not, however, wear phones.'(use voice tube)


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