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Passage Planning

Time spent in planning is the most vital part of a safe and smooth voyage.  It develops awareness of the factors affecting a safe passage, and what to do when something does not go according to plan.  If you get tired or in difficulty, the plan saves time and helps to prevent mistakes.  SOLAS regulations (below) now include pleasure craft, and an extract of the regulations as they apply to professional mariners is given below. 

Click here for Passage Planning forms    

Passage Planning Checklist   Click here for Word version -    

Weather
Build up picture in advance.
Forecasts.
Wind strength and direction.
Sea state.
Update en route.

Route
Tracks, Distances, times, hazards, depths – update en route.
Clearing lines.
Separation schemes.
Waypoints – entered and checked
Ports of refuge.
Light list

Tides
When are they favourable.
Where and when are the tide gates.
Limits on entry and exits to ports.
Arrival times.

Pilotage
Port of departure
Port of arrival
Important lights
Constraints en route
Plotting lists
VHF Channels

Food requirements
Pre-prepared meals
Drinks and snacks

Watches
Necessity of sleep during/after overnight passages.
Requirement for watches.
Watch keeping duties and r
ota.

Safety
Crew briefing – safety and passage.

For the boat – Flares, Fire extinguishers in date etc
Engine checked, spares, oil, fuel, batteries

Seasickness
Prevention/Medication / treatment

Supplies
Food
Water
Fuel (inc outboard)
Gas
Spare batteries

Crew
Plan passages within competence of  the crew
Take note of possibility of bad weather in planning.

Be aware of any time constraints.
Don't sail to deadlines
Clothing

Documentation

  • Customs - EU to EU, EU to non-EU, Non-EU to EU

  • Personal - Passports, ICC, Insurance (E111….), Crew Radio licences.

  • Ship’s papers - Registration, Insurance, Boat Radio License , VAT receipt.

  • Money

Health
Crew  - known conditions eg diabetes, asthma, seasickness

Ships Log
This is a legal document which will be used after any incident.
Standing orders.
Update log and position at least hourly.
Check positions independently.

Coastguard Safety Scheme CG 66
To help the coastguard, join the yacht and boat safety scheme CG 66.

Crew briefing - see Crew brief
For the crew –
First Aid, lifejackets, harnesses, liferaft,
Standing
orders

  • VHF – Ch 16,

  • Mayday

  • Personal safety

  • MOB

  • Engine start / stop

  • Fire

  • Flares

  • Gas

  • Heads

  • Seacocks

SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 34 (Safety Of Life At Sea) - Safe navigation and avoidance of dangerous situations - See leaflet on passage planning:  http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/digitalasset/dg_185781.pdf

You must carry the list of SOLAS Approved Distress Signals,  here:

 http://www.direct.gov.uk/prod_consum_dg/groups/dg_digitalassets/@dg/@en/documents/digitalasset/dg_185583.pdf

SOLAS V Summary

The voyage plan shall identify a route which:

Small vessels and pleasure craft - Regulation 34 applies to all vessels.

For small vessels and pleasure craft the degree of voyage planning will be dependent upon the size of vessel, its crew and the length of the voyage. The MCA (Maritime & Coastguard Agency) expects all mariners to make a careful assessment of any proposed voyage taking into account all dangers to navigation, weather forecasts, tidal predictions and other relevant factors including the competence of the crew.

Components of a Voyage Plan

Appraise – all available information: boat, crew, weather, tide, route, hazards en route, passage times, aids to navigation

Plan – departure and arrival, constraints, critical times such as tide gates, pilotage plans, ports of refuge

Execute – make the passage according to the plan, taking into account the prevailing conditions.

Monitor – progress against the plan continuously, particularly weather forecast, tides and position.

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22nd April 2013