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View Poll Results: Where do you keep watch?
Stay at the helm or in the cockpit only 23 82.14%
Pop out from salon or below decks at a regular interval to scan the horizon 5 17.86%
Stay inside all the time 0 0%
Voters: 28. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 21-04-2014, 07:23   #1
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Where to Keep Watch?

Other threads have discussed how to keep watch, but I'm curious as to where you keep watch, especially at night.

Do you:

1 - Stay at the helm or in the cockpit only
2 - Pop out from salon or below decks at a regular interval to scan the horizon
3 - Stay inside all the time
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Old 21-04-2014, 07:37   #2
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Where to keep watch?

Mostly in the cockpit with full enclosure, so it is dry and somewhat warm and much better than an open cockpit with weather gear">foul weather gear. I monitor radar, AIS and course using Autopilot between waypoints about 3 to 3-1/2 hours apart to keep me focused. At times, I am below but if so, set a timer and go to cockpit every 15 minutes to check visually and radar, AIS. I find moving around I am less likely to go to sleep in the cockpit, which is very easy to do sitting still. When I have been in open cockpit boats in heavier clothing, I tend to stay put to stay warm and dry, so I am a believer that the enclosure is also a safety device because I dress lighter and move around, avoiding the stillness that makes me sleepy in open cockpit. I still have all the heavy clothing in case the enclosure should get torn away, but I try to avoid weather that would do that.

I am also able to monitor radar and AIS below, but prefer a visual scan to be safe. We run our generator and HVAC full time so when below, it is a chance to knock off the chill and get coffee or a snack.

If any target or visual contact is made, it is COCKPIT ONLY until ANY possibility of collision is clear. We have seen boats drifting in our course with anchor lights on, presumably sleeping.
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Old 21-04-2014, 20:14   #3
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Re: Where to keep watch?

In the cockpit most of the time, occasionally below to log a position, get coffee or food, etc.
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Old 21-04-2014, 20:24   #4
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Re: Where to keep watch?

If you have to ask a question like that...

Personally I hang upside down from the spreaders, and just make sure to get below before the sun comes out.
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Old 21-04-2014, 22:16   #5
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Re: Where to keep watch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If you have to ask a question like that...

Personally I hang upside down from the spreaders, and just make sure to get below before the sun comes out.
We got a winner
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Old 22-04-2014, 08:42   #6
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Re: Where to keep watch?

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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
In the cockpit most of the time, occasionally below to log a position, get coffee or food, etc.
This is what I do too. I think it's important to spend the vast majority of your time on watch.......watching! That means scanning all around but primarily looking ahead to make sure you don't run into something and you notice any other changes in your situation before they become a big problem. It's hard enough at night even if you're trying very hard to see everything so to not even try is asking for trouble.

On my last boat I usually sat in the cockpit with my feet on the top step of the companionway where it was warmer and I was well protected from wind and rain by the dodger and could see and control the radar which was located there as well as seeing the depth/speed/wind instruments. Every 15 minutes plus/minus one minute, I turn on the radar for several sweeps, check the course/navigation, stand up and stick my head outside the dodger/enclosure for an unimpeded look around, check that the bilge pump indicator lights are not lit, and if the motor is running, check that the temp and oil pressure is unchanged. If I miss my plus/minus one minute window to check all those things, that means I'm not staying alert enough so my "punishment" is to stand up for the next 15 minute period. I only go below to use the head or get food/coffee but 99% of the time when on watch, I'm in the cockpit.
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Old 22-04-2014, 09:20   #7
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Re: Where to Keep Watch?

Like most polls here, this one is flawed by simplicity. Are you offshore; How's the visibility?....fog, night,weather..... What's the traffic? Isolated, shipping lane, harbor area. Are you single-handed? What are your support instruments? ....radar, AIS, etc.

Most people don't behave the same way in all situations.
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Old 22-04-2014, 10:55   #8
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Re: Where to keep watch?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If you have to ask a question like that...

Personally I hang upside down from the spreaders, and just make sure to get below before the sun comes out.

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Old 22-04-2014, 11:00   #9
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Re: Where to keep watch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If you have to ask a question like that...

Personally I hang upside down from the spreaders, and just make sure to get below before the sun comes out.

Hahahaha Hilarious....
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Old 22-04-2014, 11:20   #10
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Re: Where to Keep Watch?

Not all boats are the same and not all conditions are the same, so I don't think there is any single most appropriate answer.

If your wheel, chartplotter, radar, gps, etc are in a pilothouse with good visibility, it certainly makes no sense to go sit in the cockpit on a cold, rainy night.

I've been on a catamaran where the visibility from the salon was far better than the visibility from the cockpit.

I've spent more than one cold night on Lake superior Sitting in the companionway with just my head sticking out above deck.

Usually, I've been in the cockpit by the wheel because that's what my boat and conditions dictated.
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Old 22-04-2014, 12:14   #11
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Re: Where to keep watch?

I appreciate everyone chiming in with the thoughts that all circumstances and boats are different. I certainly recognize that and my intention was to get a feel for where everyone does their watch as standard practice in most circumstances. Special conditions such as traffic, weather, etc would mean a variation in routine and rightfully so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If you have to ask a question like that...

Personally I hang upside down from the spreaders, and just make sure to get below before the sun comes out.
Methinks boating was a bad choice of a hobby for you. Hopefully you just sparkle rather than burn...
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Old 22-04-2014, 12:37   #12
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Re: Where to keep watch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post

Personally I hang upside down from the spreaders, and just make sure to get below before the sun comes out.

F'ing vampires



I spend most of the day in the cockpit. I usually sleep below.
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Old 22-04-2014, 12:39   #13
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Re: Where to Keep Watch?

i keep watch from the boat. sometimes under the dodger, occasionally aft by the wheel, I've even done watches on the foredeck......
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Old 22-04-2014, 13:02   #14
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Re: Where to Keep Watch?

Night-Often sitting in the companionway with feet on the ladder with protection of the dodger. or in the cockpit up close tothe cabin in the protection of the dodger. Egg timer set at 15-20 mins. Ocassionally scan on the radar for any blips.
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Old 22-04-2014, 13:17   #15
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Re: Where to Keep Watch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
Like most polls here, this one is flawed by simplicity. Are you offshore; How's the visibility?....fog, night,weather..... What's the traffic? Isolated, shipping lane, harbor area. Are you single-handed? What are your support instruments? ....radar, AIS, etc.

Most people don't behave the same way in all situations.
That of course is the answer. I've spent all night looking at the lights of fishing boats to figure out what they were doing, and then I've spent the whole time reading a book and every once in a while looking around to see if something has suddenly appeared.
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