Seamanship is the art of operating a ship or boat.
It involves a knowledge of a variety of topics and development of specialised skills including:
- Navigation and international maritime law;
- Weather, meteorology and forecasting;
- ship-handling and Small boat handling;
- operation of deck equipment, anchors and cables;
- Ropework and line handling;
- execution of evolutions such as towing;
- Cargo handling equipment, dangerous cargoes and cargo storage;
- Dealing with emergencies; and
- Survival at sea and Search and Rescue.
The degree of knowledge needed within these areas is dependant upon the nature of the work and the type of vessel employed by a mariner. However, the practice of good seamanship should be the goal of all. There are several traditions of navigation. ...
Composite satellite image showing the progress of a hurricane weather system approaching the East Coast of the United States Weather comprises all the various phenomena that occur in the atmosphere of a planet. ...
Satellite image of Hurricane Hugo Meteorology is the scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and forecasting. ...
Watchstanding, or watchkeeping, in nautical terms concerns the division of qualified personnel to operate a ship continuously around the clock. ...
Ropework is commonly defined as the set of processes of making and repairing ropes; some, however, also include any other work that can be done with ropes, such as tying knots and splicing. ...
The term communications is used in a number of disciplines: Communications, also known as communication studies is the academic discipline which studies communication. ...
Wooden sailing boat Sailing is the skillful art of controlling the motion of a sailing ship or smaller boat, across a body of water using wind as the source of power. ...
An engine is something that produces some effect from a given input. ...
More than just finding a vessel's present location, safe navigation includes predicting future location, route planning and collision avoidance. There are several traditions of navigation. ...
There are several traditions of navigation. ...
A fundamental skill of seamanship is being able to manuver a vessel with accuracy and precision, hence a good mariner is a good ship-handler. Unlike terrestrial vehicles on the fixed surface of land, a ship is afloat on water that flows and all vessels are still subject to the movement of air. Another complicating factor is the often great mass (and therefore momentum) of a ship that has to be accounted for when stopping. At its highest form, ship-handling is about coming-to and departing a wharf, manuvering in confined channels and harbours, manuvering in close proximity to other ships and other fine manuvers that demand great precision. The ability to predict how the combination of wind, current, sea state and swell will affect a vessel is key together with an innate understanding of the vessels specific performance.
Progression in Seamanship
In the days before mechanical propulsion, a sailor was expected to be able to "hand, and reef, and steer." Training is more formal in modern merchant marines and navies, but still covers the basics.
The crew of a large ship will typically be organized into "divisions" or "departments", each with its own specialty. For example, the deck division would be responsible for boat handling and general maintenance, while the engineering division would be responsible for propulsion and other mechanical systems. Crew start on the most basic duties and as they gain experience and expertise advance within their area. Crew who have gained proficiency become "petty officers", "rated", or "mates" depending on the organization they belong to.
On smaller commercial craft, there is little or no specialization. Deck crew perform all boat handling functions. The officers of the ship are responsible for navigation, communication, and watch supervision.
Captains must pass formal examinations to demonstrate their knowledge. These examinations have a progression based on the size and complexity of the craft. In the U.S., the progression begins with what is known as "the six pack", a license that allows fishing guides to operate with up to six passengers.
Seamanship: A Guide for Divers, BSAC, ISBN