A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Henry Halboth
Date: 2015 Apr 20, 00:56 -0400
There is no need for the OOW on ANY ship to leave the bridge to consult the chart or the usual publications found therein. Apart from the charts, these publications include the navigational log book, the night order book, sailing directions, almanacs, light lists and so on.
The chart room was traditionally on the bridge, aft of the wheelhouse, accessed through a normal doorway with a curtain provided to prevent or reduce low light relections on the forward wheelhouse windows. More recently the chart room has been integrated into the wheelhouse space on the bridge and separated from that space only by pull-around curtains at night.
In coastal waters, pre GPS days, it was standard practice to visit the chartroom every 20 minutes or so to fix the ship on the chart using visually obtained cross bearings, or radar information. There was no way that it would have been practical or necessary to call the 'Old Man' every time this was done.
Of course, the watch keepers were discouraged from spending more than a few minutes at a time at the chart table, so lengthy chart correcting sessions on the 12-4 watch were rightly forbidden. The longest time normally spent at the chart table was probably during star sight reductions, when an additional lookout, perhaps a cadet, was sent for. The Master was not usually called to the bridge for routine course alterations or normal IRPCS situations.