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Old 19-06-2018, 16:52   #1
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Asleep on Watch

You’re crewing on a passage and you come on deck for a night watch and find the current watch keeper asleep, how do you handle it?
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Old 19-06-2018, 17:03   #2
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Re: Asleep on Watch

Assuming they aren't in my way I'd check our position and situation and assume the watch.
Once they wake up they either make excuses or man up and you know what you are dealing with.
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Old 19-06-2018, 17:04   #3
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Re: Asleep on Watch

Bucket of water.
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Old 19-06-2018, 17:40   #4
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Re: Asleep on Watch

Depends on whether you're a nurturer or a punisher.


Might be well to find out why first.
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Old 19-06-2018, 18:46   #5
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Re: Asleep on Watch

Another question is, where? Short coastal trip or ocean crossing? Did he/she have a timer set @ about 20 minutes laying next to him/her?
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Old 19-06-2018, 18:55   #6
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Re: Asleep on Watch

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Originally Posted by Red Sky View Post
You’re crewing on a passage and you come on deck for a night watch and find the current watch keeper asleep, how do you handle it?
Wake them up and tell them to go to bed.

People on watch rarely choose to fall asleep, they just couldn’t stay awake and there’s a path that caused that.
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Old 19-06-2018, 19:43   #7
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Re: Asleep on Watch

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Another question is, where? Short coastal trip or ocean crossing? Did he/she have a timer set @ about 20 minutes laying next to him/her?


My original question was hypothetical, just a thought that went through my head as I was laying in my bunk. We were within 100 miles of the central California coast, outside of the shipping lane, but certainly in an area frequented by fishing boats.
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Old 19-06-2018, 19:49   #8
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Re: Asleep on Watch

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Wake them up and tell them to go to bed.



People on watch rarely choose to fall asleep, they just couldn’t stay awake and there’s a path that caused that.


I think I’d treat it a little more seriously. Stand up, get something to drink or eat, walk around the cockpit. Pretty hard to fall asleep when you’re standing.
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Old 19-06-2018, 19:50   #9
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Re: Asleep on Watch

The skipper needs to know. Absolutely. If a man is undependable, then he has no business standing a watch. Maybe it is an isolated instance. Maybe not. But there should be an ironclad agreement among all crew and the skipper that anyone found asleep on watch, the first time or the fiftieth time, must be brought to the skipper's attention. This is nothing to be a nice guy about. If the skipper wanted someone asleep on watch, he wouldn't even bother with crew; he would single hand, and take 10 minute catnaps.
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Old 19-06-2018, 19:53   #10
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Re: Asleep on Watch

Light a cherry bomb, unless you've got good cymbals aboard.

You'd need the larger picture. Were they coming down with a sickness and fever? Had the crew been fatigued by a week of heavy weather? Did they put down a half bottle of ouzo after dinner?

Just being asleep doesn't tell you what the problem is, or how you should react. Could be a diabetic for all we know, who got the meds wrong after dinner.
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Old 19-06-2018, 20:12   #11
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Re: Asleep on Watch

Sailorboy1 has the right of this in my opinion. All the work of avoiding a similar situation is much better done after the exhausted one has had a sleep. I don't think it has anything to do with being a nurturer or a punisher. It is merely the best way to start to teach them to amend their behavior. A big row before being sent below to sleep would be counter-productive for both of you.

In addition, you might want to consider some options for helping yourself stay awake, and get their input after they have awakened, too, because their ideas may work well for both of you. Your whole watch schedule might benefit from being changed. [My Jim and I do 6 on 6 off, and I have things I do to help me if I start to feel sleepy.] The reason for the long watches is so that each of us gets at least one good sleep for each 24 hrs. Additional sleeps are optional. On that routine, we arrive fresh on long passages. Not so much on overnighters. It works for us because it suits our biorhythms. But you may want to consider longer or shorter watches. For instance, with a crew of 3, we did 4 on 8 off, and kept the same watch times each day. You don't just sit there like a lump if you're feeling drowsy, you have to do something to drive the drowse away.

I would want to know why they felt it was okay to go to sleep, which is the real problem. A responsible crew that could not stay awake should awaken the upcoming watch keeper or the skipper (skipper's choice) and inform them. S/He should have a good reason. "I just fell asleep", means the crew didn't get to their feet, move around, get cold, go get a cup of coffee or tea or hot chocolate, etc., etc.

Ann
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Old 19-06-2018, 20:51   #12
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Re: Asleep on Watch

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
Sailorboy1 has the right of this in my opinion. All the work of avoiding a similar situation is much better done after the exhausted one has had a sleep. I don't think it has anything to do with being a nurturer or a punisher. It is merely the best way to start to teach them to amend their behavior. A big row before being sent below to sleep would be counter-productive for both of you.

In addition, you might want to consider some options for helping yourself stay awake, and get their input after they have awakened, too, because their ideas may work well for both of you. Your whole watch schedule might benefit from being changed. [My Jim and I do 6 on 6 off, and I have things I do to help me if I start to feel sleepy.] The reason for the long watches is so that each of us gets at least one good sleep for each 24 hrs. Additional sleeps are optional. On that routine, we arrive fresh on long passages. Not so much on overnighters. It works for us because it suits our biorhythms. But you may want to consider longer or shorter watches. For instance, with a crew of 3, we did 4 on 8 off, and kept the same watch times each day. You don't just sit there like a lump if you're feeling drowsy, you have to do something to drive the drowse away.

I would want to know why they felt it was okay to go to sleep, which is the real problem. A responsible crew that could not stay awake should awaken the upcoming watch keeper or the skipper (skipper's choice) and inform them. S/He should have a good reason. "I just fell asleep", means the crew didn't get to their feet, move around, get cold, go get a cup of coffee or tea or hot chocolate, etc., etc.

Ann
Excellent advice.
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Old 19-06-2018, 21:14   #13
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Re: Asleep on Watch

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... All the work of avoiding a similar situation is much better done after the exhausted one has had a sleep....

...Your whole watch schedule might benefit from being changed...
+1 to Ann's entire response with an emphasis on the two points quoted. At one point we had a crew member who simply could not stay awake at night but who otherwise was quite valuable. We ended up putting them on a long watch that started at dawn allowing everyone else to sleep well into the morning. No problems after that and everyone ended up much better rested. Can't begin to tell you the value of a well rested crew.
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Old 19-06-2018, 22:14   #14
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Re: Asleep on Watch

You only get one chance on our boat, and yes we’ve had this senario play out twice. We do four hour watches and the watch person is expected to stay awake and be attentive... no excuses... period... end of discussion. My wife and I stand up if we get tired and don’t hesitate to wake each other up if necessary.

If you’re new on our boat, you can pretty much expect to have one of the two of us monitoring watch behavior the first few times until trust is established, if the watch falls asleep, the trust is broken.... don’t expect to do a watch or be asked back again. Might seem harsh to the uninitiated softies, but.... that’s the way it is. If you place everyone else at risk just because you fail to stand up or use some common sense... that’s it... you’re done.

Have I ever fallen asleep during a watch... no. Has my wife... no. Have other people... yes. Have they been asked to do a watch or crew again... no. Like the other fellow wrote, it’s pretty hard to fall asleep while standing up.”
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Old 19-06-2018, 22:30   #15
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Re: Asleep on Watch

+++1 Ken. If my life is in the watch keepers hands, they better be awake.
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