Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamanship?

silverfox

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
Re: Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamansh

OSD

You might want to get the author to run that piece past the Institute of Navigators before he goes into print......
 
Re: Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamansh

bongo_jeffrey said:
Always_a_Civvy said:
Perhaps another reason for the decline of the sextant is the mathematical calculations involved in determing position as against the ease with which one can determine one's apparent position using GPS supplemented by EGNOS. Are today's Navigating Officers up to the maths? ...or am I being cynical?

All RN OOW are taught Astro- indeed it remains part of the base requirements for the award of a Navigation Watch Certificate (broadly equivalent to STCW 2/i). However, the manual method is not taught- all observations are computed by NAVPAC. There is no formal training given at all in the use of a sextant, other than an hours chat with a SPEC (N) at Collingwood. After this time, it is up to the individual to badger their Navigator for instruction. If you go to a ship with a SPEC (N), then you will have dipped in. On the other hand, if you go to a small ship (like myself) then your Navigator may well farm you out to somebody who has a clue (generally in the guise of loaning you to an FF/DD).

Despite not being taught to any particular depth, we still use the sextant more often than might be imagined- leadthrough ops are probably the most common example. I certainly feel that I could have done with more formal instruction during my training.

As a holder of an old RN Ocean Nav certificate (obtained by methods other than astro under examination over 48 hours by a Long N) the problem is having the training sea time to get proficient. In the old days of the Midshipmans year in the fleet you spent a year 'doing astro' and kept a sight book which was presented at your board. The RYA still teaches 'manual' astro using the 'rapid' sight reduction method and to convert the theory qualification to 'practical' one must submit a log and sight book from a passage out of sight of land.

As to whether you do astro with a calculator or a book it really doesn't matter and if you understan the principles you could learn how to use the book in a few hours. The real bit is one having a reliable source of time, and does anyone use mechanical timepieces today, because if one of these events has killed your electronics it has probably killed your time as well. Even without time all is not completely lost as you could return to lattitude navigation, but there is still the problem of predicting the landfall and not doing an Adm Cloudsley Shovell.

Peter
 

oldseadog

War Hero
Re: Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamansh

Maxi_77 said:
oldseadog said:
Posters thoughts would be appreciated whilst I am considering a response.

OSD

Do you cross the road ever?

Peter
Of course I cross the road - often. However in doing so, I use pilotage! :wink:

Silverfox, Many thanks for the direction. I will pass it on.

OSD
 
Re: Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamansh

oldseadog said:
Maxi_77 said:
oldseadog said:
Posters thoughts would be appreciated whilst I am considering a response.

OSD

Do you cross the road ever?

Peter
Of course I cross the road - often. However in doing so, I use pilotage! :wink:

Silverfox, Many thanks for the direction. I will pass it on.

OSD

But crossing the road involves risks, just as going to sea does. We accept the risks of crossing the road, but some people die, not always through their own error.

The risk of the type of incident you suggest exists, and is capable of being estimated. Also I believe sun watchers can predict their occurrence so we all can take precautionary actions, after all the sort of incident you describe will not only affect ships but everything in our daily lives.

Having said that as one of the old school myself I do believe that a suitable back up system makes sense and that being able to use fundamental navigation makes sense.

Peter
 

oldseadog

War Hero
Re: Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamansh

Peter,
I fully agree with your post. Don't you think it rather interesting at the number of people who confuse the words 'Navigation' and 'Pilotage'?

"The 'Great Art of the Navigator' is to be able to take a vessel from any position on the globe, to a point where he can physically see where he wants to be. That is the position when 'Pilotage' takes over."

With regard to:
The real bit is one having a reliable source of time, and does anyone use mechanical timepieces today, because if one of these events has killed your electronics it has probably killed your time as well. Even without time all is not completely lost as you could return to lattitude navigation, but there is still the problem of predicting the landfall and not doing an Adm Cloudsley Shovell.
As far as I am aware, every ship still has a chronometer on the bridge to conform to IMO.

OSD
 
Re: Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamansh

oldseadog said:
Peter,
I fully agree with your post. Don't you think it rather interesting at the number of people who confuse the words 'Navigation' and 'Pilotage'?

"The 'Great Art of the Navigator' is to be able to take a vessel from any position on the globe, to a point where he can physically see where he wants to be. That is the position when 'Pilotage' takes over."

With regard to:
The real bit is one having a reliable source of time, and does anyone use mechanical timepieces today, because if one of these events has killed your electronics it has probably killed your time as well. Even without time all is not completely lost as you could return to lattitude navigation, but there is still the problem of predicting the landfall and not doing an Adm Cloudsley Shovell.
As far as I am aware, every ship still has a chronometer on the bridge to conform to IMO.

OSD

You need a good old fashioned mechanical deck watch with known rates so you can estimate the actual time between time checks especially as you wont be getting any if the rest of your electronics is out. Most chronometers today are in fact electronic, and thus vulnerable. Also ships reference timepieces in may day were kept in the wireless office under the control of the RS, they were only loaned out to mere navigating officers as required.

Peter
 

Pussers_Blue

Badgeman
Re: Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamansh


Wires and cordage--the wire splice is left to experts and then load tested and usually tagged as tested. Although the new way in the throw away society is to use the spare !!


Some of us can still splice wire mate. Yes, it is preferably left to the riggers on a job card but that's no good when your flight deck mag-loop goes in the middle of the South China Sea or somewhere. We can splice it but not load test it so a huge factor of safety is brought into play. We have to be very careful and not go for the easy option, such as the Liverpool eye-splice, which is an absolute fúcking killer, have no doubt.
It isn't just the Officer corps where Seamanship (Navigation wise) has taken a hit. On deck the 'Seaman's eye', as we've known it, has disintegrated to almost nothing these last few years. It breaks my heart to see the level at which our Matelot's basic sea knowledge is.
When I was a young Missileman the first thing I was learnt was splicing, serving, whipping and that. Nothing better than sitting on a bollard in The Southern Sea's splicing fenders tails or something in the sunshine.
I've always made sure all my young sailors have been taught the basic's in splicing and whipping, but sadly, as pointed out by yourself and the others, Seamanship is a dying art.
 

safewalrus

War Hero
Re: Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamansh

Actually there's nothing wrong with the modified Liverpool splice as long as it's not used for running rigging! And if you want something really easy try a Spanish eye! But of course if your using it for a hatch runner or other such it's got to be the Bulivant or the British Wire Rope - incidentally the MN never really did approve that abortion that the pusser used to teach - no locking tuck! Without a locking tuck the splice will 'run out' when the end is free. Now where we.........arh! yes do the pusser still have Able Bodied Seamen or are they called some other strange name because they cannot carry out the AB's funtion - to Hand, Reef and Steer? (Stupid question I know but never the less interesting!)
 

safewalrus

War Hero
Re: Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamansh

:twisted: Now where we.........arh! yes do the pusser still have Able Bodied Seamen or are they called some other strange name because they cannot carry out the AB's funtion - to Hand, Reef and Steer? (Stupid question I know but never the less interesting!) and do any of you lot know what I'm talking about? :roll:
 

oldseadog

War Hero
Re: Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamansh

Pussers_Blue said:

Wires and cordage--the wire splice is left to experts and then load tested and usually tagged as tested. Although the new way in the throw away society is to use the spare !!


Some of us can still splice wire mate. Yes, it is preferably left to the riggers on a job card but that's no good when your flight deck mag-loop goes in the middle of the South China Sea or somewhere. ...
I've always made sure all my young sailors have been taught the basic's in splicing and whipping, but sadly, as pointed out by yourself and the others, Seamanship is a dying art.
PB, Unfortunately, to some degree I have to agree with you. On the seamanship side, with the H&S mindset being based around 'Full Risk Assessment' as opposed to the old maxim of 'Acceptable Risk', I am surprised that anything gets done!

At one time, an Able Seaman would be obliged 'to do whatever was required by the necessity of the situation to ensure the safety of the vessel and the crew'. In other words, he was a fully-skilled all-rounder, who could turn his hand to (almost) anything, and would be able to assist any other discipline in an emergency.

With todays 'tunnel-vision' approach, everyone is trained to be an 'expert' in their own discipline, rather than become a 'journeyman'. Given a choice between someone who is has to stand by because he cannot do anything, or one who can muck in, I know which I would rather have as an oppo!

I even managed to piss off 1SL a few years ago, because I could do some things that he wasn't allowed to, due to the fact that I have a full RYA ticket, and can drive RIBs and he hasn't and can't! However, for some reason he would not allow me to park Invincible! (I don't think that anyone would be able to find yet another dent if he'd let me!) :twisted:

OSD
 
Re: Is Reliance Upon Electronics Killing The Art Of Seamansh

I would hardly call seamanship an art...... the basics of nav can be taught in a few days, of course, to be proficient requires experience.
As far as GPS goes, it is alway used on the vessels I work on, we output the navigation screen for the marine crew, however the bridge team always confirm all coordinates with a compass reading and plot on a chart, this way any error can be double checked. Sure it is not as accurate as diff GPS but it get's you home.
GPS always has the chance to give you errors anyway, all depends on your shipboard equipment, receivers / decoders etc.
Belt and braces is the order of the day of course.
 
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