Officer’s Log: Vessel on anchorage with poor visibility

While I was on anchorage, in a situation with strong rain, the visibility was less than a mile. For this reason, I decided to inform captain about the situation and I called him to his Office.

Captain came to the bridge and evaluated the situation. Then, testing me, he asked me which was the signal for a vessel on anchorage on a poor visibility situation. That question was a tramp in case you haven’t realized it yet.

I answered without hesitation that we should put a signal that, on intervals on not more than 2 minutes, will sound with one short blast, one long blast and another short blast, but, if we go to the COLREG’s rule 35 (g), we can read:

A vessel at anchor shall at intervals of not more than one minute ring the bell rapidly for about 5 seconds. In a vessel of 100 m or more in length the bell shall be sounded in the forepart of the vessel and immediately after the ringing of the bell the gong shall be sounded rapidly for about 5 seconds in the after part of the vessel. A vessel at anchor may in addition sound three blasts in succession, namely one short, one prolonged and one short blast, to give warning of her position and of the possibility of collision to an approaching vessel.

Lesson learned: Blasts is only if a vessel is approaching, it is not necessary to put them if you are alone, you will only get yourself killed by your crew mates because they cannot sleep. Keep the bell ringing sounding and a sharp lookout on AIS, RADAR and by eyesight and only put blasts when needed.

Alvaro Jimenez
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Alvaro Jimenez

Merchant marine Officer, author of: www.SafetyCultureAtSea.com
When you will read this, I will be sailing probably.
Alvaro Jimenez
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