Yacht Officer Exam Guide
Officer of the Watch Oral Examination OOW for Yachts less than 3000gt
Objectives of this Wikibook
The United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) officer of the watch exam is not an easy exam and often frighten the students. The student will be expected to have a thorough knowledge on a lot of different subjects that we will try to reference here. This book is based on the syllabus the examiner will follow during the examination and which is defined in the MSN 1802 (M).
Extracts from the officials documents
From the MSN 1802 (M) : Certificates of Competency: Yacht Deck Officers Training and Certification Guidance
This Merchant Shipping Notice (MSN 1802) is part of a series, which gives guidance regarding the application of the Merchant Shipping Regulations. This Regulations implement in the United Kingdom the requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping 1978, (STCW) and its associated code (STCW Code). Masters and deck officers serving in all UK-registered yachts and sail training vessels of 24 metres and over in loadline length and under 3000gt must be qualified in accordance with the Regulations or the LY2.
Given the nature of the yacht industry, the MCA has invoked these equivalency arrangements for Yacht restricted qualifications under the Merchant Shipping (Vessels in Commercial Use for Sport or Pleasure), for use in UK registered large yachts operating under the LY2. Privately owned yachts as described in the Summary on Page 1 may also apply the manning scales and qualifications as given under the LY2 as an alternative to the full requirements of the Regulations.
This notice details a route for certification restricted to yachts that is structured to provide a progressive career path for those in the professional yachting industry. Candidates meeting the requirements will be issued with a STCW certificate of competency (CoC) limited to service in yachts and sail training vessels. Oral examination
The out-line syllabuses for the Yacht Deck Officer MCA oral examinations are annexed to the MSN 1802(M) and are available from the MCA website. All references to oral examinations in this notice mean those conducted by MCA examiners to the MCA syllabus.
Since higher level training relies on the underpinning knowledge of the lower level training, it is expected that a candidate will have obtained the previous qualification prior to commencing training for the next higher qualification. Candidates should be aware that questions in the oral examination may, in addition to the published oral syllabus, include topics that should have been covered in previous training. It is generally expected that all training modules and short courses will be completed before attempting the oral examination, as these provide the knowledge on which the examination is based.
Oral examination passes for each level of certification are valid for three years. The oral examination pass must be in date at the time of issue of the CoC.
""From the LY2""
Plan and conduct a passage including position determination
The passage plan ensures that the bridge management team is fully aware of the vessel intended voyage and of the contingency plans. The plan is from berth to berth and any changes to the intended voyage must be amended in the plan. The master is overall responsible for the plan but may delegate the task of creating it. The plan is consigned into a passage plan book and always available on the bridge.
The 4 stages of a passage planning are:
From consulting all relevant publications, all the potential dangers on the voyage are clearly identified. After considering existing routeing schemes, environmental factors reporting systems and vessels traffic services a clear indication of a safe route can be obtained.
The passage planning shall take into consideration:
- The condition and state of the vessel.
- Any special characteristics of the cargo.
- The provision of a competent and well-rested crew.
- Requirements for up-to-date certificates.
- Appropriate scale, accurate and up-to-date charts and publications.
Tracks can be laid on the chart from berth to berth indicating the predetermined margins of error. Danger areas are marked on the charts, as are points, which could be useful for navigation. In the event of an emergency, contingency plans are also considered. The plan is approved by the master prior to sailing and must be kept on board of the vessel for 12 months.
The detailed voyage or passage plan should include the following factors:
- The plotting of the intended route or track of the voyage or passage on appropriate scale charts.
- The main elements to ensure safety of life at sea (Safe speed, speed and course alterations, clearance under the keel, contingency plans)
- The details of the voyage or passage plan should be clearly marked and recorded.
Each voyage or passage plan as well as the details of the plan, should be approved by the ship’s master prior to the commencement of the voyage or passage.
Once the departure time is known, the estimated time of arrival at the destination can be found. ETA's at critical points in the plan can also be determined. Time of high water and clearer identification can be gained of the conditions the vessel is likely to face the throughout the voyage. Factors which should be taken into account when executing the plan, or deciding on any departure therefrom include:
- The reliability and condition of the vessel's navigational equipment;
- Estimated times of arrival at critical points for tide heights and flow;
- Meteorological conditions, (particularly in areas known to be affected by frequent periods of low visibility) as well as weather routeing information;
- Daytime versus night-time passing of danger points, and any effect this may have on position fixing accuracy;
- Traffic conditions, especially at navigational focal points.
The vessel progress is continually checked against the planned route. Any necessary deviations are amended in the plan and the bridge management team advised. The navigational equipment is monitored and checked on passage and prior departure. The plan should be available at all times on the bridge to allow officers of the navigational watch immediate access and reference to the details of the plan.
Mandatory Bridge Publications
- Up-to-date charts
- ALL Admiralty List of Lights and Fog Signals
- NP100 The Mariners Handbook
- NP202 Tides tables
- ASD Admiralty Sailing Directions
- Chart 5011 Symbols and Abbreviations used on Admiralty Charts
- Nautical Almanacs
- Tidal Stream Atlas
Official international regulations
Admiralty List of Radio Signals
- Volume 1: Coast Radio Station
- Volume 2: Radio Navigational Aids
- Volume 3: Maritime Safety Information
- Volume 4: Meteorological Observation Stations
- Volume 5: Global Maritime Distress and Safety System
- Volume 6: Pilot Services and Port Operations
MGN : Marine Guidance Notes
- MGN 40 (M): International Safety Management (ISM) Code
- MGN 71 (M): Musters, drills, on-board training and instructions
- MGN 78 (M+F): Launching Crews for Lifeboats, Rescue Boats, ...
- MGN 149 (M): Approval of Crew Agreements – Yachts
- MGN 166 (M+F): Guidelines for Voyage Planning
- MGN 195 (M): Training and Certification Guidance
- MGN 211 (M): Fatigue
- MGN 280 (M): Small Vessels in Commercial Use for Sport or Pleasure
- MGN 315 (M): Keeping a safe Navigational Watch on Merchant Vessel
- MGN 364 (M+F): Navigation: Traffic Separation Schemes
- MGN 369 (M+F): Navigation In Restricted Visibility
- MGN 379 (M+F): Use of Electronic Navigation Aids
- MGN 393 (M+F): Navigation Light Units
- MGN 422 (M): Use of Equipment to Undertake Work Over the Side
MSN : Merchant Shipping Notices
- MSN 1767 (M): Hours of Work, Safe Manning and Watch keeping
- MSN 1769 (M): ILO 178 International Labour Organisation Convention
- MSN 1781 (M+ F): Distress Signals and Prevention of Collisions
- MSN 1792 (M): The Large Commercial Yacht Code (LY2)
- MSN 1802 (M): Certificates of competency for deck officers
Magnetic variation is the difference between True Bearings and Magnetic Bearings and is caused by the different locations of the Geographic North Pole and the Magnetic North Pole plus any local anomalies such as iron deposits. Variation is the same for all compasses in the same location. Variation is based on geographical and time. The term Magnetic declination is a synonym but magnetic variation is more used in navigation.
Magnetic Deviation is the difference between Magnetic Bearings and Compass Bearings. Deviation varies for every compass in the same location and depends on such factors as the magnetic field of the boat, wrist-watches, etc. The value will also vary depending on the orientation of the boat. Magnets and/ or iron masses can be used to correct for deviation so that a particular compass will accurately give Magnetic Bearings.
To make the conversion between the compass heading to the true heading, variation and declination must be added or subtract. From True to Compass correction, West should be added, East should be subtracted.
Dead reckoning (DR)
Dead reckoning is simply a prediction of a future position based upon a course steered and a speed from a known present position. The DR position is only an approximate position because it does not allow for the effect of leeway, current or compass errors.
Estimated position (EP)
An estimated position is a DR taking into account the amount of predicted tidal stream, current or the effect of the leeway.
Course to steer (CTS)
A course to steer is predicted course in order to reach a destination taking into account the speed of the vessel, the predicted tidal stream, current or the effect of the leeway.
A running fixe is a method of fixing the position when only one know fixing point is available, the time, head- ing any leeway and the speed of the vessel through the water.
Transits or Leading lines
Transits or leading lines are natural and visual bearings that allow a safe navigation by sight and/or compass.
Clearing marks are bearing draw on charts that allow a safe monitoring of navigational hazards. (Not More Than, Not Less Than)
IALA system of maritime buoyage A and B
The IALA system is predicting six kinds of signs which it is possible to take in all sorts combinations. Side signs are different in 'A Region' and 'B Region', however five remained kinds of signs are shared for both of regions.
Lateral buoys and marks are being put in harmony with accepted direction for marking the right and left page of fairway. In 'A Region' a green colour is obeying into the day and at night for marking the right side of the fairway, and for the left hand the colour red.
IALA System A
- N quadrant: A White,Very Quick or Quick continuous
- E quadrant: A White,Very Quick 3 every 5 sec or Quick 3 every 10 sec
- S quadrant: A White,Very Quick 6 + 1 long every 10 sec or Quick 6 + 1 long every every 15 sec
- W quadrant : A White,Very Quick 9 every 10 sec or Quick 9 every 15 sec
Marks indicating Isolated dangers are being put directly above small obstacles which water is navigable around. They have the columned, bar or free shape different but not colliding with lateral buoys. They have the black colour with horizontal red belts. Two black spheres placed vertically are a highest sign. The light characteristic is White flash group Fl(2)
Safe water marks
A safe water mark is normally placed as the outer marker to a conventional buoyage system. It shows safe water all-round If there is an installed lighting it has the white colour and his rhythm can be: • Long Isophase • Long Occulting The letter Morse 'A' : Long Flash at 10 s intervals
Special Buoys and Marks
Special Buoys and Marks aren't making the navigational help. Pointing the special area or the object out is setting them which are informing maps or different right documents and nautical publications of. Additional characters are being painted yellow, they have the highest sign in the shape of lying cross (X) painted on yellow. Light if is installed, is also of yellow colour. Since a possibility of mistaking the yellow colour exists during the weak visibility with white, yellow lights of additional characters cannot have the rhythm adopted for white lights.
New Danger Buoy
The new buoys will be blue and yellow vertical stripes with an alternating blue and yellow occulting light. The shape is a pillar or a spar buoy, the size dependent upon the situation. The colour is between 4 and 8 vertical blue and yellow stripes, these stripes will be of New wreck buoy.equal width. The abbreviation of the colour will be BuY. Light is an alternating blue and yellow flashing light, the blue and yellow 1 second flashes are alternated with an interval of 0.5 seconds. Bu1.0s+0.5s+Y1.0s+0.5s= 3.0s
IALA System B
Only the colours of lateral and preferred channel markers are inverted from system A (a Port lateral marker is now green, instead of red). The shapes and light sequences remain the same.
a) Passage planning with respect to use of navigational publications including position determination, navigational charts (including ECDIS and RCDS), sailing directions, light lists, tide tables, radio navigational warnings and ship routing information
IALA system of maritime buoyage A and B
c) Electronic navigational systems – limitations and sources of error and methods of correction
d) Limitations of electronic chart systems including ECDIS and RCDS navigational chart systems
e) Radar and ARPA – practical use of, modes of operation, limitations, sources of error and parallel indexing, including radar plotting techniques
f) Use of a sextant and identification and correction of errors
g) Use an azimuth mirror, pelorus (bearing plate) or other instrument for taking bearings
h) Sources of meteorological information, ability to use and interpret information obtained from shipboard meteorological instruments, and knowledge of characteristics of various weather systems
i) Interprets weather forecasts including knowledge of characteristics of various weather systems
j) Understands the importance of regular checking of the vessel’s position and action to be taken if found off track
k) Applies variation and deviation to convert true course to compass course and vice versa; understands the basic causes of variation and deviation
l) Fixes a ships position on the chart given magnetic bearings and/or radar ranges and quotes position by latitude and longitude
m) Finds the magnetic course to steer and the ETA at a given destination given the starting position and log speed
n) Knows how to obtain and use weekly notices to mariners in order to correct charts
o) Finds the time of high and low water, and predicts intermediate heights and/or times for standard and secondary ports
p) Find and predict set and rate of the tide from tidal reference points on the chart, and tidal stream atlas
a) A thorough knowledge of the principles of navigational watchkeeping at sea, including under pilotage, and watchkeeping at anchor and in port
b) A thorough knowledge of the contents, application and intent of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (ColRegs)
c) Understand the use of bridge equipment, including rate of turn indicators, course recorders, echo sounder and NAVTEX
d) Knowledge of steering control systems, including automatic pilot and operational procedures and change over from manual to automatic control and vice-versa, and adjustment of controls for optimum performance
e) Knowledge of application of ICS Bridge Procedures Guide and STCW Code A-VIII
f) Understand the principles, limitations and modes of operation of AIS
g) Maintain navigational records
h) Knows the principles for handing over and relieving the navigational watch
Manoeuvre the Ship
a) Preparation for getting underway, duties prior to proceeding to sea, making harbour, entering a dock, berthing alongside quays and jetties or other ships, and securing to buoys
b) Use and care of mooring lines and associated equipment
c) Helm orders, conning the ship, effects of propellers on the steering of the ship, effects of wind and current, stopping, going astern, turning short round, interaction, and squat, and embarking and disembarking a pilot
d) Action in event of failure of bridge control, telegraph or steering gear, and emergency steering arrangements
e) Procedures for anchoring
a) Initial action following: manoverboard, collision, grounding, flooding or major mechanical damage, and receipt of a distress message, initial damage assessment and control, protection of the marine environment
b) Use of the International Aeronautical and Marine Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual, distress and emergency signals, and search and rescue around the UK and worldwide
Response to Other Emergencies
a) Understand the organisational procedures for emergency parties and drills
b) Knowledge of fire prevention, use and care of fire-fighting appliances, the shut-down and isolation of plant and equipment, escape and breathing apparatus, fire and safety plans
c) Knowledge of classes and chemistry of fires
d) Use and care of lifesaving appliances and equipment including hand held radios, EPIRBs, SARTs, immersion suits and thermal protective aids, and rocket and line throwing apparatus
e) Meanings and markings on survival craft and associated equipment; correct use of distress signals
f) Launch and manage survival craft, recover rescue boats at sea
g) Precautions for the protection and safety of passengers in emergencies
h) Basic principles of survival
i) Sources of medical information available
a) Use of distress and emergency signals, International Code of Signals and the IMO Standard Marine Communication Phrases
b) Emergency communication with the GMDSS regulations
Onboard Ship Operations
Pollution Prevention Requirements
a) Precautions to be taken to prevent pollution of the marine environment as required by MARPOL conventions, including Special Areas and the disposal of pollutants
b) Basic understanding of the SOPEP manual, Garbage Management Plan and anti- pollution equipment
Seaworthiness of the Ship
a) Understand fundamentals of watertight integrity, and the closing of all openings including hatches, access hatches and watertight doors
b) Preparations for heavy weather
c) Describes the effect on stability of:
- i. raising and lowering weights
- ii. low freeboard
- iii. obstruction of deck freeing arrangements and scuppers
- iv. slack tanks
a) Contents and use of Merchant Shipping Notices (MSNs), Marine Guidance Notes (MGNs), Marine Information Notes (MINs) and Annual Summary of Admiralty Notices to Mariners
b) Knowledge and application of current Merchant Shipping Health and Safety legislation, and the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seamen
c) Basic knowledge of relevant IMO conventions concerning safety of life at sea, and protection of the marine environment
d) Purpose and application of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code
e) Purpose of Flag and Port State Control
f) Purpose and application of the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code
Business and Law
a) Understand the content and application of the applicable Codes, namely ‘Small Vessels Code’2 and Large Commercial Yacht Code (LY2)3
b) A knowledge of the requirements for musters and drills including fire, emergency, and abandon ship drills
c) Understand the legal obligation to ensure a seaworthy vessel
d) A basic understanding of the laws of salvage
e) Understand the requirements for safe manning, hours of work and watchkeeping
f) Understand the circumstances when a vessel requires a crew agreement