When does the OOW call the Master
Guidance on specific circumstances for calling the master is given in the shipboard operational procedures.
Standing and bridge orders by the master support it.
All companies have a checklist giving circumstances and situations where the master should be called. A typical checklist could be in the following format:
• restricted visibility is encountered or expected;
• traffic conditions or movement of other ships are causing concern;
• difficulties are encountered in maintaining course;
• failure to sight land or a navigation mark or change of sounding at the appropriate time;
• conversely if sighted land or a navigation mark or change of sounding at an inappropriate time;
• breakdown of machinery, propulsion, steering gear or any essential navigational equipment failure;
• alarm, indicator of any malfunction especially radio equipment;
• heavy weather and suspicion of any damage due to it;
• navigational hazards encountered, e.g. ice or derelict;
• any other emergencies or if in doubt.
Once on the bridge, the master must take over the total control of the ship and inform the OOW in clear and unambiguous terms. The fact that the master has taken command on the bridge should be recorded in the logbook.