Nautical Institute’s Wake calls for new watchkeeping system

In the latest issue of Seaways from the Nautical Institute, CEO Philip Wake discusses Bridge Resource Management, noting that the Institute has long campaigned against the existing 6 on / 6 off Master/Mate watchkeeping system. Wake notes that the current system is “flawed on many levels, of which fatigue is the most obvious”. He notes recent research from Warsash Maritime Academy and others, which compare 6 on / 6 off with 8 on / 8 off and 12 on / 12 off systems Research shows that the 8 on / 8 off system is “better for quality of rest than the others”, but Wake says that we should question “the desirability of promoting any form of a two watchkeeper system”.

Wake suggest that it is time that flag states and shipowners put safety as well as quality of life for their people first. “We should ensure all ships are manned such that the Master can support the watchkeepers at any time, and that all the many other tasks of running the ship are taken properly into account in meeting the hours of work and rest regulations”, he wrote.