I spend the watch in the cockpit
with quick trips to the head
, coffee/tea thermos, hourly log entries, and a quick look around.
I've never been comfortable reading. You're on watch; not reading, not snoozing, not hanging out below decks. On the boats I Captain
we have two on watch. One is the watch leader and responsible for navigation
and following the night orders. The other is the lookout, and just like the COLREGS, can have no other duties. No music
. No headphones/earbuds. No reading.
You're responsible for the safety
of the vessel, crew, and guests. That's a lot of responsibility and most off watch crew appreciate the fact you're paying attention.
As for watches we do 4-hour daylight ad 3-hour night watches. That means you stand watches during different parts
of the day. Some watch lists use set times, thinking that getting into a set routine makes standing watch easier. I don't know about that but I do know that 2-hour watches should be avoided at all costs.
I have, as a singlehander, done mini naps of about 20 minutes provided certain conditions are met and sleep in the cockpit
. I have a screaming meanie (aka very loud and obnoxious) alarm
clock that gets me right up. If I'm in a traffic area or see traffic either visually, on the AIS
and within the CPA requirements I specify, or hear them on the VHF
- no sleep. If I'm well off the shipping
routes and everything looks clear, I'll take a power nap.