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Old 12-06-2018, 19:01   #61
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

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When your wife is both seasick and trying to care for three small children (the youngest of which was less than a year old), and you're making a squirrely, squally passage, the watch schedule is: Me for all boat stuff, she for the children.
Letting this situation develop is, IMO, easily as bad seamanship as wearing headphones on watch. This is a singlehander with responsibilities far beyond his own safety.

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Old 12-06-2018, 19:09   #62
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

On the first page of this thread, someone with a large motor vessel asked about techniques for avoiding boredom. One thing I have done, when feeling drowsy, is to leave the steering station (the cockpit, in our case), and take a tour all around the boat, looking and listening. Usually this makes me colder. The combination helps keep me awake, and especially so, if conditions are bouncy. Taking a turn hand steering also works. I am not in the watch a DVD crowd, too distracting for this soul; plus it takes a long time for me to recover from light (glare recovery does vary somewhat among individuals.)

I must just be a cautious soul, because when I'm on watch that's what I do. I don't do other jobs. Sometimes I sing (poor Jim!). I contemplate my insignificant spot in the universe. I discipline myself to stay awake. And we have long night watches: 6 to 8 hours on. Sometimes I make a cup of tea, one eye closed, to preserve its night vision. Far out at sea, I have even done the dishes at just after 0300, for a break, sometimes, but not often. Because I really belong out there, keeping watch. Boredom is a choice one ought not to make.

It might be the only advantage we have over Boatman 61: One of us keeps watch while the other gets his/her beauty sleep. Sometimes, though, it is necessary to wake the skipper. I try to avoid it, but there are some things we just do together, and one of them is reefing. Won't apply to a motor vessel, for sure, but I am sure there are some circumstances when one might need to get the skipper up: loss of oil pressure, overheating, steering problem, running over a crab pot. That skipper whose rest was interrupted will need to try and make it up during the day if they are on a series of overnighters.

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Old 12-06-2018, 19:31   #63
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

Ah I don't know.. I can imagine being thankful for headphones drowning out the sounds I THINK I hear (while motorsailing at night anyway.)
Did you hear that engine?
No.
Didja hear those people talking, right over there?
No.
Are you sure? Right there?
Yes I'm sure. You're imagining things.
Man, I AM SURE I heard something over there.
Look, ya wanna go over there and check?
NO! They'll run into us!
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Old 13-06-2018, 00:59   #64
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

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After 30 hours, you can fall asleep doing almost anything.
Done similar solo - 36h motoring across Biscay with no wind for the Aries & a bust tiller pilot. Do-able but not much fun, though headphones don't help much I find. Those hours just before dawn are the tough ones.. That was due to a severe lapse in seamanship by having a calendar onboard.. otherwise would have been drift and wait for some wind.

Re headphones, coastal - big no, after a week without touching a sheet or seeing another boat on a beautiful trade wind passage - why not?
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Old 13-06-2018, 05:01   #65
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

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Letting this situation develop is, IMO, easily as bad seamanship as wearing headphones on watch. This is a singlehander with responsibilities far beyond his own safety.

Jim
"All rise for Judge-mental..."
Jim, if one is going to cruise at all, one weighs options, calculates risks, and decides what is acceptable. What some would consider foolish--indeed what would be foolish for some without the proper skill and confidence--is perfectly doable by others who know what they're about.
Using a real-life situation as an example relevant to the topic does not mean I was complaining of it: I went to sea as I did knowing full well there would be bumpy multi-days where the children would need care, and knowing I could safely manage those situations. Sure, it was hard, and exhausting at times, and required all the seamanship I had and begot more on the way, but my family and the boat were never in danger. No one came close to being lost or to dying from bad seamanship.
We were certainly in danger every time we stepped into a taxi in Cartagena, and are in greater danger even when we get on the freeway here in RI, but I don't hear anyone saying ought about that.
I have not cruised as long or as far as you, but I certainly have cruised enough to know whether I have done foolishly or well.
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Old 13-06-2018, 10:37   #66
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

This, to me, is so much like the alcohol debate. We have the impression that everyone is exactly like us and therefore if it works for us then it should work for everyone.

The variation in hearing probably varies more with age then it does with the use of headphones. Should an 80 yr old really not stand watch because his hearing is getting bad? Of course not. Would someone with great hearing that can hear the radio through their headphones need to refrain from headphone use just because he/she can hear even better without them? The old guy with hearing loss would hear better with a hearing aid but we don't require it. Why require the young guy to remove his headphones?

Basically everyone needs to determine if they are safe. Listening to headphones obviously distracts you. One G&T would probably distract you. Being upset with your spouse will distract you (and that actually has evidence showing an increase in auto accidents). The role of seamenship is not to put all these rules into your brain/computer and pop out a behavior. It is to process all the things around you and ask yourself "am I safe". It is not to ask "am I as safe as I can be". You can always be safer by changing your risk/reward ratio. I need to be as safe as I feel I need to be to satisfy my sense of risk vs reward. That should be your goal and if headphones get in your way of that don't use them.

Jim
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Old 13-06-2018, 10:51   #67
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

The day you die is when you meet yourself coming the other way.
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Old 13-06-2018, 14:37   #68
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

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Originally Posted by Benz View Post
"All rise for Judge-mental..."
Jim, if one is going to cruise at all, one weighs options, calculates risks, and decides what is acceptable. What some would consider foolish--indeed what would be foolish for some without the proper skill and confidence--is perfectly doable by others who know what they're about.
Using a real-life situation as an example relevant to the topic does not mean I was complaining of it: I went to sea as I did knowing full well there would be bumpy multi-days where the children would need care, and knowing I could safely manage those situations. Sure, it was hard, and exhausting at times, and required all the seamanship I had and begot more on the way, but my family and the boat were never in danger. No one came close to being lost or to dying from bad seamanship.
We were certainly in danger every time we stepped into a taxi in Cartagena, and are in greater danger even when we get on the freeway here in RI, but I don't hear anyone saying ought about that.
I have not cruised as long or as far as you, but I certainly have cruised enough to know whether I have done foolishly or well.
Ben, the point is that you deliberately made a choice that increased risk, not so much to you, but to your family, and I was comparing it to the chap who wears headphones on watch. All the folks who reported using 'phones can make the same statement that you did (bolded above).

I agree that we all make this sort of value judgement multiple times on every voyage. The degree of increased risk that is acceptable obviously varies greatly amongst us.

Eternal vigilance is easy to prescribe for others!

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Old 13-06-2018, 14:49   #69
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

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The day you die is when you meet yourself coming the other way.
I do enjoy mirrors on the ceiling!
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Old 13-06-2018, 16:52   #70
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

I use them in my phone but one in and one out so I can hear audible systems alarms
I won't hear the engine from another vessel as I am running one myself
I also have an alarm set on the phone for ten minutes just in case I doze.
Every ten minutes I do a walk around the wheelhouse for an outside visual
Every hour I walk around the engine room to a quick visual.
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Old 13-06-2018, 18:00   #71
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

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Ben, the point is that you deliberately made a choice that increased risk, not so much to you, but to your family, and I was comparing it to the chap who wears headphones on watch. All the folks who reported using 'phones can make the same statement that you did (bolded above).

I agree that we all make this sort of value judgement multiple times on every voyage. The degree of increased risk that is acceptable obviously varies greatly amongst us.

Eternal vigilance is easy to prescribe for others!

Jim
Just to be clear though, I wasn't admitting to bad seamanship--I was saying that there was no bad seamanship, therefore no one got hurt.
In some cases (to the point of the thread), it can be the most seamanlike option to wear headphones that will help you keep awake and alert. There are probably more times when headphones are a bad idea, but headphones can have their place in being helpful--which is why I can't endorse an inflexible "not ever under any circumstance" policy.
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Old 13-06-2018, 21:53   #72
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

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In some cases (to the point of the thread), it can be the most seamanlike option to wear headphones that will help you keep awake and alert.
With rationalisation like that one can only wonder if wearing a blindfold helps to protect night vision on watch.
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Old 13-06-2018, 22:02   #73
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

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With rationalisation like that one can only wonder if wearing a blindfold helps to protect night vision on watch.
Can you imagine a virtual reality headset with a little boat motion thrown in?
Probably wouldn't stay on too long before the inner ear response would incapacitate you though.
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Old 14-06-2018, 03:48   #74
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

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With rationalisation like that one can only wonder if wearing a blindfold helps to protect night vision on watch.
And now you have become ridiculous.
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Old 14-06-2018, 13:49   #75
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Re: Using headphones on night watch?

Much ado about not much at all, assuming we are talking about mature adults listening to music/pod cast/book at low volume such that ambient sounds are easily heard through the headphones? And we’re not talking about blasting said music/pod cast/book at volume set to 11?

The loss of hearing comments seem over the top and the ‘never on my boat’ very dogmatic, but hey, each to their own.

IMHO it’s not necessarily the mild loss of hearing that’s the problem but rather the distraction. But distraction is also a problem for those engrossed in their deep thoughts or involved in a close inspection of deck gear or involved in a torrid PDA with a fellow crew member while on watch - true story, a situation like this lead to the sinking of a large passenger and car ferry in B.C. a few years ago, along with the loss of two lives.

Pointing the finger at headphones as the primary indicator of the inattention devil is silly, just as land-based laws against using a mobile phone while driving are silly. The problem is not a particular technology - it is distraction, regardless of cause.

And seriously, head phones bad but cockpit speakers OK? Same (minuscule) loss of hearing acuity.
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