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Watch keeping On Board Ship

Watch keeping On Board Ship

Watch keeping is integral to the Engineer’s duties on board a vessel. An efficient watch keeping by Marine engineers in the Engine room will reduce unwanted breakdown and maintenance. Many serious accidents may be averted by expertise and efficient watch keeping. This guide on Watch keeping On Board Ship will explain in detail the engine room watch keeping, the importance of watch keeping at sea, engine room watch keeping checklist, and what must the watch keeping Engineer do periodically while on watch

Importance of Watch keeping On Board Ship

The Importance of watch keeping is to recommend a systematic routine, which, if Perused, will save the watch keeping engineer many jolts, the chief engineering Officer’s extravagant headache, and the vessel proprietor’s hefty amount.

The duty engineer must understand that he has an important task to perform and must always be alert while on this most responsible duty.

Basic Principals of Watchkeeping On Board Ship

Knowledge;- Engineer should have adequate knowledge of machinery. The in-depth knowledge of machinery will give the confidence for successful watch-keeping duties.

Intuition; – To become a perfect watchkeeper, an engineer should visualize and feel through his senses. Judging through the senses is the best and easiest practice to understand a machine’s operating condition.

 These senses are listed below.

  1. Smell 
  2. Hearing
  3. Touching
  4. Taste
  5. Visual Observation.
  6. OEM manual reference.

Smell;- Smelling is one of the most potent senses and helps detect any burning part, instrument, oil, or chemical leakage.

Touching;-By hand touching, one can feel the temperature of any part, and the high temperature clearly indicates a severe abnormality in the machine.

Hearing: hearing the sound in the engine room and detecting any unfamiliar sound indicates an abnormality in the machine. If such a strange sound is overlooked in the engine room may lead to some catastrophic failure. 

Taste;-  Tasting in the case of water will help identify the difference in seawater and freshwater as both mediums are used to cool the machine directly or indirectly. In addition, this type of test will help identify one medium’s leakage in the other medium.

Always maintain your energy levels by eating healthy snacks during watchkeeping.

Visual Observation for the best results of for the proper Watchkeeping by Marine Engineer on the Ship


visual Observation is the most used sense in detecting the problem in a machine. Under this category of following observations are the most commonly used?

1. Close Observation of exhaust gases of the Main and Auxiliary Engines.

2. Overboard discharges of various cooling water.

3. Wind direction

4. Position of ventilators for Engine room

5. Sea State

OEM manual reference ( Watch keeping On Board Ship)

This is the most authenticated action if the engineer’s gut feels about the observed abnormality in the engine room and machinery. 

For all the machinery, Equipment manufacturers provide the instructions manual. It is always good practice to refer to these manuals from time to time for diagnosing the problems instead of jumping to conclusions. Engineers should have the practice of reading the manuals regarding the operation and maintenance, including fault diagnosing procedures mentioned in the instruction books.

Log Books

interpretation of logbook readings compared to previous and present readings will help identify any abnormal behavior of any machine. Further comparing the logbook reading with test results approximately at that particular load will help diagnose the problem in the engine and guide for the immediate action to be taken in case of difference is very high.

System Communication and MIS (Management Information)

Watch abnormalities. Engineers also should follow the best latest techniques of management information systems. Practices of precise commutation will help in the immediate action of taking the call to attend the abnormal machine. These systems also help prevent any catastrophic failure resulting in massive savings by protecting the significant components from loss. keeping engineer must communicate the observed

Going around all the machinery (Watch keeping On Board Ship)

Though all the ships are equipped with the latest control system for all the machinery, it is still always favorable to follow human surveillance to detect and predict faults with due diligence.

Not to oversight the alarms

Alarms indicate the pre-warning of any abnormality in the machine. Engineers should be able to visualize the difference between faulty and natural alarms.

Engineers should repair the faulty alarm at the first opportunity to bring it back to normal working condition.

Ask for Help;-  Many times, the problem is more significant and can’t be handled by a single person. In such cases, always ask for Help. Teamwork always yields the best results. 

Watch keeping Protocol

Always obey the orders and instructions passed on by seniors. During the watch, if some doubt arises, it is always advantageous to consult the seniors.

No Alcohol Policy:-   as per the modern trend in shipping, no alcohol policy is followed and adopted. Under the influence of alcohol decision-making ability of individuals diminishes. In the light of old experience, many accidents have taken place under the intoxication of alcohol.

Working under fatigue;- While doing Watch keeping On Board Ship

Never undertake the responsibility of jobs under fatigue. It has been found that many blunders have taken place due to the employment of personnel under fatigue. Under fatigue, a person is likely to fall asleep and will not be in a position to carry out the duties responsibly.

Checklist during the Rounds of Watch keeping

Close observation of the Main and Auxiliary Engines

The exhaust gases from the Main and Auxiliary Engines must be precise and sparkle. The clear sparks and exhaust gases at normal temperatures are indications of healthy conditions inside the cylinders.

Taking Over the watch 

Meet the retiring Engineer and take over the watch from him. 

  1. There should be no ambiguities over any observed abnormality.
  2. In case there is a dispute, should report the matter to the Chief Engineer.
  3. Any marked abnormality should be entered in the rough log sheet.

Important machine and areas to be inspected for the proper -Watch keeping On Board Ship

  1. Steering gear
  2. Fuel settling tank
  3. Cylinder cooling system
  4. Cylinder head valves
  5. Fuel Valves
  6. High-pressure fuel injection pumps
  7. Bottom of cylinders
  8. Knocking-in cylinders
  9. Crosshead guides
  10. Bottom plate forms
  11. Piston Cooling
  12. Bearing lubricating oil
  13. WHRB ( waste heat recovery boiler)

Steering gear

The steering gear is the first machine to be inspected in a series of inspections—the following points to be reviewed In the Electro hydraulic type steering gear. 

  • Replenishing tank oil level
  • Electric motor and pump temperature
  • Commuter for sparking
  • Hydraulic cylinder pressure.
  • Leakage from gland
  • Telemotor replenishing tank for the non-freezing liquid.
  • Steering gear and telemotor response.

Fuel Settling Tanks

  • Level of fuel in settling tanks
  • Drain of water by opening the drain cock

Moving the float indicators manually to check for proper function

On reaching the engine room, the relieving Engineer should carry out the following observations on engines .

Cylinder cooling system

  • The temperature of each cylinder
  • Temperature feeling by hand touching.
  • Note the cooling water outlet recorded in the scrap log book.
  • Position of cooling water regulating valve.
  • The temperature of seawater cooling from cylinder jackets and pistons.
  • Flow of water 

Cylinder head valves

  • Opening and closing action of the cylinder head valves.
  • Fuel valve for the movements relative to the cylinder head.
  • Feel the fuel pulsation by manually touching the fuel injection pipe to judge the action of the fuel injection pumps.

WHRB (Waste heat recovery Boiler)

Check the water level in both LP and HP drums. If the level has gone down remarkably down as compared to the previous day’s level, than it is the indication of leak in the HT system.


Check the functioning of the Centrifuges. Check the auto sludge discharge function. Check for any leakages.

Compressed Air Starting System

Check the oil level in the compressor. Drain the air bottle for the water and keep it draining till the air is free of water.

Best Books on Marine Engineering

Fundamentals of Medium/Heavy Duty Diesel Engines

Fundamentals of Medium Heavy Duty Diesel Engines 1

Based on the 2014 National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) Medium/Heavy Truck Tasks Lists and ASE Certification Test Series for truck and bus specialists, Fundamentals of Medium/Heavy Duty Diesel Engines is designed to address these and other international training standards. The text offers comprehensive coverage of every NATEF task with clarity and precision in a concise format that ensures student comprehension and encourages critical thinking. Fundamentals of Medium/Heavy Duty Diesel Engines describes safe and effective diagnostic, repair, and maintenance procedures for today’s medium and heavy vehicle diesel engines, including the most current, relevant, and practical coverage of: • HD-OBD emission diagnostics • Common rail injection systems

Pounder’s Marine Diesel Engines and Gas Turbines

Ponders 11

Pounder’s Marine Diesel Engines has served seagoing engineers, students of the Certificates of Competency examinations and the marine engineering industry throughout the world.

Now in its ninth edition, Pounder’s retains the directness of approach and attention to essential detail that characterized its predecessors. There are new chapters on monitoring control and HiMSEN engines as well as information on developments in electronic-controlled fuel injection. It is fully updated to cover new legislation including that on emissions and provides details on enhancing overall efficiency and cutting CO2 emissions.
After experience as a seagoing engineer with the British India Steam Navigation Company, Doug Woodyard held editorial positions with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Institute of Marine Engineer

* Helps engineers to understand the latest changes to marine diesel engineers
* Careful organisation of the new edition enables readers to access the information they require
* Brand new chapters focus on monitoring control systems and HiMSEN engines.
* Over 270 high quality, clearly labelled illustrations and figures to aid understanding and help engineers quickly identify what they need to know.

Lamb’s Questions and Answers on the Marine Diesel Engine

Lambs Questions and Answers 8

The book is comprehensive and includes almost all topics needed to understand marine diesel engines. The book explains the role of heat in engineering science, the principles behind internal combustion engines, the role of fuels and lubricants, the cooling systems, the lubricating systems and the heat exchangers.

The book also explains the various parts of the marine engines and their functions. Air-storage tanks and air compressors are also dealt with in the book. Information on balancing and vibration, various instrumentation and control methods, along with the safety measures are covered in the book.

Lamb’s Questions and Answers on the Marine Diesel Engine was published by Butterworth-Heinemann in 1990. The eighth revised edition is available in hardcover.

A Pocket Book of Marine Engineering: Questions and Answers

A Pocket Book webp 8

A Pocket Book of Marine Engineering: Questions and Answers is a book that covers the topic of air filter for engine in great detail. This book is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about this topic. The author, John Myatt, is a world-renowned expert on marine engineering. In this book, he covers everything from the basics of how these engines work to more advanced topics like choosing the right air filter for your engine. If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to air filter for engine, this is the book for you.

This handy pocket-sized guide is filled with hundreds of questions and answers on marine engineering, covering all the basics from engines and propulsion to steering and safety. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to learn more about this fascinating subject, whether they’re studying for a qualification or just interested in how boats work. With clear explanations and plenty of diagrams, this book is an essential reference for anyone with an interest in maritime engineering.

Introduction to Marine Engineering

Introduction to Marine Engineering webp 5

This second edition deals comprehensively with all aspects of a ship’s machinery from propulsion and steering to deck machinery and electrical equipment with a strong emphasis upon correct and safe procedures.

Material has been added and revised to reflect the greater weight now being placed upon the cost-effective operation of ships; in terms of greater equipment reliability, more fuel-efficient engines, the ever-increasing shift towards automatically operated machinery, and the need for fewer engineering crew. This is an invaluable guide for professionals but equally covers the requirements for Class 4 and Class 3 Engineer’s Certificates of Competency, the first two years of the Engineer Cadet Training Scheme, and the Engineering Knowledge syllabus for the Master’s Certificate.

Diesel Generator Handbook

Diesel Generator Handbook 1 8

Diesel Generator Handbook meets the need for an authoritative reference work covering the range of mechanical and electrical topics embodied in the practical design and application of diesel generating plant. It will be particularly welcomed in many parts of the developing world where the diesel generator is basic to the electricity supply system.

The discussion covers, in fifteen chapters, the prime mover, power ratings, synchronous generators, load assessment, control principles and systems, switchgear and controlgear, standby power, fuels and lubricating oilss, installation and commissioning, noise reduction, and plant operation and maintenance.

The book thus caters for all who are concerned with the selection, specification, testing, commissioning, operation and maintenance of diesel-based generator systems: not only the practising plant or services engineers, but also non-specialist engineers and users. The young technician or trainee engineer who is embarking on a career in the supply industry will find this handbook an invaluable investment.

L L J Mahon, FIEE, FBIM, after an engineering apprenticeship with BTH in Rugby, gained over 30 years’ experience in the design, development, manufacture, installation and commissioning of both stationary and highly specialised mobile diesel generator plant for a range of applications.

Marine Engineers Tools and working gears

Rechargeable LED Flashlight

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The Rechargeable LED Flashlight is the perfect gift for anyone. With its color A LED light, it is perfect for illuminating the darkest places. The powerful beam can easily illuminate the surroundings and can provide you with a farther and clearer vision. The included bulb can provide you with a max of 10,000 lumens, making it the perfect choice for an emergency lighting needs.

Vibration Meter

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The Vibration Meter, High Accuracy Split Type Digital Vibration Meter is the perfect tool for measuring vibration levels in the environment. With a wide measurement range of acceleration: 0.1~199.9m/s2 peak, it can measure the environment temperature with 2 temperature units (℃ and ℉). The vibrometer gauge adopts piezoelectric acceleration transducer transfer the vibration signal in to electrical signal, analyze the input signals, and show the vibration level.

Men’s Long Sleeve Zip-Front Coverall

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The CQR Men’s Long Sleeve Zip-Front Coverall is perfect for a work environment. The mix of polyester and cotton fabric is breathable, wrinkle-free, and comfortable. The fabric is opaque and hidden stains. TheCQR Twill Coveralls Series is designed for work and utility essentials for hands-on professionals.

Timberland Men’s Pit Boss 6 Inch Steel Safety Shoes

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The Timberland Men’s Pit Boss 6 Inch Steel Safety Shoes are a must-have for any safety-conscious man. Made with 100% leather and imported from the USA, these shoes are perfect for Work, Play, or any other activity where you need a pair of shoes that will keep you on your feet all day long. The heeled design provides a secure grip on your foot while the padded collar and ankle collar keep you comfortable all day long. Plus, the rugged nubuck leather will keep you looking sharp while you work or play.

Blog Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed our article on Watch keeping On Board Ship. We know that there are many questions that come up when it comes to this topic, so we hope we were able to answer some of your questions.

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