Now in its 4th edition, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Bridge Procedures Guide details the best navigational practice on merchant ships operating today.
The Guide also includes a helpful bridge and emergency checklists for use by ships’ masters and navigating officers. To provide additional value and utility, this new edition is also accompanied by a CD version of the book.
When the first edition of the Bridge Procedures Guide was published in 1977, it rapidly became acknowledged as the principal industry guidance on the subject. Today it is used by ships worldwide, and is referred to in the footnotes of several IMO Conventions. Keeping the Guide up to date is thus a major responsibility, and an important example of the work which ICS undertakes on behalf of the international shipping industry.
This new edition thus embraces the concept of “continuous improvement”, which is one of the key principles embodied within the IMO International Safety Management (ISM) Code. The successful implementation of the ISM Code is, of course, one of the more significant developments since the publication of the last edition, and account has therefore been taken of the need to adhere to ISM Safety Management Systems. In addition, this new edition reflects the requirements of the new Chapter VIII (Watchkeeping) of the IMO Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), and the latest changes to the Radio Regulations.
This new edition also addresses the increasing use of modern electronic navigation and charting systems which, on new ships, are often integrated into the overall bridge design. Safe navigation is the most fundamental attribute of good seamanship, and is clearly vital to the protection of safety of life at sea. However, an increasingly sophisticated range of navigational aids – most recently supplemented by the introduction of Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) – now complement the core skills of navigating officers which have developed over the previous centuries.
This increased sophistication brings its own dangers and a need for additional precautionary measures against undue reliance on technology. Experience continues to demonstrate that properly formulated bridge procedures and, most importantly, the development of bridge teamwork are critical to maintaining a safe navigational watch.
For the first time, the topic of Dynamic Positioning of ships has also been addressed, having become a more widespread and heavily used technology, requiring different techniques and competencies from conventional watchkeeping, together with different organisational strategies and procedures.
Seafaring will never be without its dangers, but the maintenance of a safe navigational watch at all times, and the careful preparation of passage plans, are at the heart of good operating practice. If the ICS Bridge Procedures Guide can help encourage such good practices, it will have continued to serve its primary purpose.
- Marisec Publications