Pilots Emergency Procedures Course

Course Duration - 20 Hours

Course Aim - To enable participants to develop their skills and understanding of the principles and practices of ship handling with emphasis on emergency procedures and manoeuvres.

This aim will be achieved through a concentrated period of practical exercises in the Manned Models supported by a series of lectures.


Course Timetable

Day One

                             0815             Taxi to lake

                             0830-0900     Registration and Introduction

                             0900-1030     Familiarisation with Manned Models

                             1030-1115     "Revision of Principles" Lecture / Workshop

                             1115-1300     Practical consolidation Exercises

                              1300-1345     Lunch

                             1345-1430     "Engine / Rudder failures" discussion

                             1430-1715     Manned model exercises involving equipment failures

                                                 and channel emergencies

                             1515-1715     Manned Model Exercises

                             1715             Taxi to Hotel


Day Two

                             0815             Taxi to Lake

                             0830-0930     "Escort Towage" discussion

                             0930-1300     Manned model exercises involving escort towage

                             1300-1345     Lunch

                             1345-1715     Manned model exercises involving towage

                             1715             Taxi to Hotel

Day Three

                             0815             Taxi to Lake

                             0830-0930     Interaction Lecture and "General failures in

                                                 basin/dock discussion

                             0930-1215     Manned model exercises involving failures in confined

                                                 waters including interaction

                             1215-1230     Course Debrief

                             1230             End of Course. Taxi as required.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course selected aspects of the following ship handling and emergency procedures will have been addressed.

1        Revision of ship handling principles to include slow speed control, critical manoeuvring and effect of wind.

2        “Stop and Hold” in adverse conditions, demonstrating the ability to maintain a safe position until clear to proceed.

3        Evaluation of the effects of the use of engines ahead and astern with the rudder disabled to keep the ship in safe water.

4        Response to engine failure in channel approaches.

5        Response to thruster failure when manoeuvring the ship.

6        Response to selected above manoeuvres with the addition of current.

7        Revision of ship manoeuvring with anchors.

8        Arresting the drift of a disabled ship.

9        Aborting an approach.

10      Response to selected above manoeuvres in confined situations.

11      Interaction related difficulties.

12      Emergency response using escort towage.


Optional Objectives

The optional objectives are available to meet the varied demands of individual participants.  Courses will be adapted, where appropriate, in order to address specific techniques and/or areas of specialization.  These may include but are not limited to:-



                              (I)      Shiphandling limitations based on relative weaknesses in the anchor system.

                            (II)      The safety parameters that must be maintained to enable the effective use of anchors for ship handling.

                          (III)      Dredging one anchor to aid berthing.

                          (IV)      Laying an anchor to aid berthing and departure.



a)   Passing

b)   Overtaking

c)    Being overtaken

d)   The effect of the close proximity of banks and shallows

e)   The effect of shallow water and banks during berthing


Course Outline

Manned Models are a form of simulation and, as such, are subject to some limitations and differences compared with a real ship, which have to be taken into consideration :-

  • Time - Due to the scaling factor, ship handling manoeuvres are carried out in a shorter timescale than the real ship (or a real time ship simulator). This permits each participant on the course to conduct a large number of individual berthing and channel manoeuvres, including re-runs when difficulty has been experienced. It also means that an individual has to think very quickly and thus the concentration and observation that is important to the ship handler is emphasised.

  • Speed - The scale of the model also means that speed is low in real terms. The scaling factor is the square root of the scale. Therefore on a 1:25 scale model the scaling factor is 5, so if one is doing 1 knot in the model, this equates to 5 knots on the real ship. Therefore, if approaching the berth with 0.5 mile to run making good 1.5 knots, this will equate to 7.5 knots on the real ship, much too fast !In fact an approach speed at this type of distance needs to be down to 0.1 - 0.2 knots equating to 0.5 - 1.0 knot on the real ship. It is therefore quite normal for course participants to experience problems on the first day in adjusting to this low scale speed. These problems, however, are overcome relatively quickly as excessive approach speeds are very obvious and the results are often spectacular !

  • Distance - The need to estimate distance is a fundamental factor in establishing correct approach speed, and can be aided by using "ships lengths" as a yardstick. At the pre exercise brief, the candidate will be given a chart of the lake with the course and an indication of distance to run marked up.

  • Wind - The wind cannot be scaled, but the lake has been laid out to give optimum berth and channel protection from various wind directions. Even in gale conditions areas of calm can be found behind screens of trees and hedging, where useful exercises can be conducted. The effect of wind on a ship is an integral objective of a shiphandling course and it is not advantageous to work exclusively in calm conditions. Every effort is made however, to start with basic manoeuvres in sheltered waters. As individual participants progress they will be subjected to stronger winds to concentrate on specific objectives in this subject area. Instructors will endeavour to conduct shiphandling operations in the most appropriate scaled wind conditions for a particular objective.

  • Briefings / Debriefings - All participants will be fully briefed by their instructor before each exercise commences to enable them to formulate an exercise plan. Once an exercise is underway the instructor remains on the jetty (or in an accompanying launch) and does not intercede unless absolutely necessary. This is to avoid breaking the concentration required during the exercise and allows participants to learn, if necessary, by observing the results of his actions. When the exercise is completed, a comprehensive debriefing is conducted on the quayside to discuss the results. Such debriefs are considered to be a most important part of the course.

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