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Offshore Watch Procedures

Offshore Watch Procedures

The following are Golden Glows offshore watch standard operating procedures.  We use the offshore watch procedures when we are on crossings of several days and when more than 200 miles offshore.  We wear our safety harness when we are far enough offshore that we would not be able to swim to shore. This has a different distance for different people, ages & conditions.  Normally couple miles in calm conditions less if there is weather or there are people on board who are out-of-shape or young.  The 200 mile number is based on the availability of helicopter drops so it may change based on the country we are near or the part of the world.

These Offshore Watch Procedures include:

  • Offshore Watch Procedure Guidelines
  • Offshore Watch Log Instructions
  • Offshore Watch Log

Offshore Watch Procedure Guidelines

Always wear safety harness topside. You can wear it below too if you like. ONLY time you can take it off top side is if all the following are true:

  • Someone else is on deck and they have been notified you are taking your vest off and they are capable of dropping sail and turning on engines in emergency
  • It is daylight with no rolling and pitching
  • Wind is less than 10 knots
  • Seas are less than 2 feet

Always notify another if going outside of the cockpit at night or in rolling or pitching weather.

Always hook in when outside of cockpit. Use your tether on the jack lines. One in 23 waves is twice the average wave height, one in 1175 waves is three times and one in 300,000 waves is four times the average wave height or larger! Do not fall off the boat at night when hit with an unexpected wave!!

Always keep a hand free for the boat (Hang on)

Keep Boat Neat

  • Always coil lines when done
  • Put away your stuff if you are not currently using it
  • Wash your dishes as you use them, unless for dinner
  • Dry off BEFORE you go into the wooden floors

Keep electrical use to a minimum (turn off lights not being used if even for a minute)

Always ask before moving any switch except light switches you know are, in fact, light switches.

Keep water use to a minimum (no running faucets unless the water is actively being used)

Review Standing Watch Instructions and if you do not understand them, please ask Captain or prior watch

Offshore Watch Log Instructions

Hourly Log: Golden Glow keeps a passage / watch log for longer passages. The below information is available in the same order of the ‘nav’ tab of the Max Sea application on the nav table. Odometer reading is the only thing needed from the Furuno display at the helm.
It is the watch persons duty to keep the following logged on an hourly basis:

  • Page Heading:  Fill in Date, Day Origination and Destination on each sheet.
  • Log Time: Record hourly with minutes of reading from the left Furuno display. Note the exact time of the reading as minutes.
  • Lat Long: from max sea or auto pilot (the lat long of displays may be the cursor position not the boat!) use degrees and decimal minutes.
  • HDG is average magnetic heading from max sea or the auto pilot.
  • SOG and COG from the Max Sea display or the lower left of left Furuno display.
  • ODOM from the trip reading on the Furuno Display.
  • WIND from Max Sea display or from the wind indicator as an average, use TRUE WIND values for wind speed/ mag direction.
  • WAVE height is average of 1/3 tallest waves. Deck height is 4-5 feet, salon ceiling height is 7 feet, cockpit ceiling heights is 9-10 feet. Exceptional wave could be twice as large of average wave height.
  • BAR is barometric pressure from gauge above nav table.
  • TEMP in Fahrenheit for Air / Water.
  • VIS is visibility in mile, cloud cover description or rain.
  • SAIL config is the sails up M=main, MR1=main w 1 reef, SCR=Screecher, G=Genoa, GR1 Genoa w one reef, PS=ParaSail, AS=Asymetrical spinnaker.
  • ENG is the hours engine was on and RPM in thousands.
  • BAT is the house battery voltage found on the master-volt display.

Offshore Watch Log

The Offshore Watch Log PDF is here.

Offshore Standing Watch Instructions

General Instructions:

  • If you have questions please ask Rand or Ellen. If they both are sleeping, please wake Rand by knocking on the hatch above the Master berth, just behind the helm seat. Please do not hesitate to wake us if you are not sure what to do, this is very important for all our safety.
  • If on passage and you sight land, please inform Captain.
  • If there is injury or threat of injury, please inform Captain.
  • If hailed by coast guard or other authority, please get Captain.
  • If sighting another vessel please observe rules of the road and stay at least one mile clear.
  • If on passage and you are less than one mile from another vessel, please inform Captain.
  • Please review the “Wind Increase SOP”, keeping the sails properly trimmed and selecting the correct sail plan is the responsibility of the person on watch. If in doubt, please ask.
  • If engine temp exceeds 93 degrees Celsius please notify Captain.
  • If mermaids or sea serpents appear please notify Ellen or take pictures for her blog.

At the start of your watch please ensure you know the ”Standing Watch Instructions”.

Below is the table that Golden Globe uses for Standing Watch Instructions.  It is your responsibility to be sure you have a completed copy of this available prior to your shift. If you cannot find it then please ask last person on watch or as Captain.  If there is an eventuality that you feel is possible not listed on this form please ask Captain for clarification.

Standing Watch Instructions for _______________________________(date time)
If: Then:
Wind Speed Exceeds                           knots o Change sail plan to:                         o Adjust course to:
Wind direction drops below         deg app/true o Change sail plan to:                         o Adjust course to:
Wind direction rises above             deg app/true o Change sail plan to:                         o   Adjust course to:
Boat speed is above                           knots o Change sail plan to:                         o Notify Captain
Boat speed is below                           knots o Change sail plan to:                         o Start stbd|port engine     rpm
Pressure is under                               mb o Wake Captain     o place note in log
Pressure if over                                    mb o Wake Captain     o place note in log
Battery is below                                   volts o Start Generator until charging amps are less then         amps
Battery is below                                   volts o Wake Captain
Depth is less than                               feet o Stop Boat                           o Wake Captain   o
Alarm Sounds (Radar|Depth|Wind|AIS|      )
Alarm Sounds (Radar|Depth|Wind|AIS|      )
Other Boat is closer than                nm o Make >30deg course correction     o Wake Captain   o


Change of Watch Procedures

It is your responsibility to be at watch on time and in condition to take watch. If you are not up 10 minutes prior to your watch, the existing watch has permission to wake the new watch with live octopus on the face of those over sleeping.

At change of watch, old watch will:

  • Make log entries
  • Advance Dead Reckoning
  • Verify waypoints for next watch
  • Adjust screen brightness for appropriate time of day
  • Brief new watch on weather, traffic, sail plan, waves, depth, events
  • Can make hot beverage for new watch if wish/possible, coffee and tea for the 10PM to 6AM is really appreciated

At change of watch, new watch will:

  • Read Log – Verify location and log entries of last watch, look for corrections
  • Check waypoints for next leg
  • Check for aids to navigation
  • Inspect boat : bilge, battery condition (voltage), sea cocks, deck, anchor, sails
  • Listen to weather (if changes are expected)
  • Verify radio volume and channel selection
  • Verify operation of auto pilot if being used

Offshore night watch procedures:

  • Ensure headlamps, spot lights, night vision gear are in cockpit
  • Keep 360 watch at all times, binocular check at least every 10-15 minutes
  • Check radar, 4 nm range every 20 min (30 min if going less than 6 knots)
  • Use red lights
  • Adjust brightness on instruments:
    • Furuno MFD: Press blue “brill” button once (brilliance), turn rotokey, to sleep the port display: press roto key and go to bottom entry and press “Sleep”, press brill to awaken.
    • VHF: Press and hold the “H/L” button while spinning the dial will adjust brightness.
    • SSB: press red “F” and “0” (dim), will alternate from full to dim.
    • Wind and Depth: adjusting one will adjust both. Press the “mode” at “app/true” keys simultaneously and the display will alternate between “b”, “c” and the normal display. “b” is brilliance, “c” is contrast. Higher numbers have more brightness and more contrast. Pressing the “VMG” will decrease the number, the “tack/clear” will increase the number. Cycle through pressing both keys until back to normal display and both displays will adjust.
    • Auto Pilot: press and hold the menu key until menu shows, rotate round key until brightness is shown, press the round key and then use the left and right arrows to adjust the brightness. Turning the round key will adjust the contrast.

Offshore Watch Schedules

2 person watch schedule 4 on – 4 off (can be modified to 3on-3off in rough weather)

Rand       01:00-05:00, 09:00-13:00, 17:00-21:00

Ellen       05:00-09:00, 13:00-17:00, 21:00-01:00

Meals at 10:00 and 18:00

3 person watch schedule 3hr/3hr/2hr: (can be modified to 4on/8off in very fair weather)

Rand       01:00-04:00, 10:00-12:00, 16:00-19:00

__(you)_   04:00-07:00,   12:00-14:00, 19:00-22:00

Ellen    07:00-10:00,   14:00-16:00, 22:00-01:00

Meals at 10:00 and 18:00

4 person watch schedule 3on/9off (can be modified to 2on/6off in rough weather)

Rand       02:00-05:00, 14:00-17:00

_______    05:00-08:00,   17:00-20:00

_______   08:00-11:00,   20:00-23:00

Ellen     11:00-12:00,  23:00-02:00

Meals at 09:00 and 18:00



Notify Captain if uncertain about anything!!!
It is preferred to wake Rand or ask Ellen if there is anything that is not clear. Really.

My wife the lawyer sez: These procedures are what are sometimes used on our vessel and are not intended to meet any other vessels or crews requirements.