There are few concerns in shipping as important as the manning of the bridge and the activities of those involved. The matter has been studied by numerous experts and their detailed studies have evolved a number of bridge manning guidelines variously described as Bridge Team Management.

However the uncomfortable fact remains that IMO has sanctioned the manning of the bridge by a single person by day – provided conditions are suitable but a single person in no way constitutes a ‘team’. So bridge team management shrinks in relevance in the light that single manning has been authorised (in suitable conditions) and this has now become the generally accepted standard.

It has been interpreted as ‘one man on the bridge during daylight’ is quite sufficient. And from that official standard it is only a small step to considering that, if one man can do the job by day, one man can do the job by night.
It is curious that IMO should have sanctioned a one man bridge watch by day as it is much more difficult to see small craft by day, especially as yachts are often painted white and fishing boats are commonly painted blue and white – as a matter of traditional disguise, Thus the need for an alert bridge watch by day is often of greater importance than it is by night when ships and coastlines are often marked by electric lights.
However IMO has approved single bridge watches by day and it is by now the widely accepted and common practice.

Full article, ELNAVI magazine, Issue 450, Page. 92

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