When to call Master on the Bridge? OR State the circumstances under which you will call Master.

When to Call Master on Bridge


A Ship’s Master is always responsible for all decisions on board is the ship. Master has the overall authority to take actions with respect to the safe conduct of navigation and protection of the environment and safety of the ship and its crew. And the Officer In-charge should always call the Ship’s Captain in case of an emergency.

Chp VIII- Part III of Section A of STCW, explains the circumstances when an OOW must call the Ship’s Captain. That list is given below

  1. When in Doubt, call master. This includes:
    • Doubts regarding the position of own ship,
    • the safety of courses laid out for the watch,
    • erratic or comprehensible movements of other ships that cause concern, etc.;
  1. In case of a sudden change to the passage plan that requires immediate approval by the Ship’s Captain;
  2. In case of breakdowns of:
    • Main Engine,
    • Propulsion Machinery Remote Control,
    • Steering Gear or
    • Problems related to essential Navigational Equipment, Alarm or Indicator
    • Significant reduction in Engine RPM
    • Failure of Navigational Equipment
    • Inability to maintain Course,
    • Sudden development of List,
    • Approaching or Leaving Port;

The Master to be called on the Bridge for the following reasons:

  1. When the visibility has dropped or is suspected to drop to limit stated in Masters Standing Orders.
  2. Failed to sight a Navigational Mark.
  3. When any Navigation Mark is found unexpectedly.
  4. Failure of Navigation or Radio Equipment.
  5. Failure of main engine or reduction in RPM.
  6. Failure of auxiliary engine or steering.
  7. When atmospheric pressure dropped three hPa below normal or as directed by the Masters in the Standing Orders.
  8. When the position of own vessel is doubtful.
  9. On receipt of any Urgent Message received from company or owners or Charters or agent, etc.
  10. In case of an emergency.
  11. When any vessel of person is in distress.
  12. When traffic is causing concern, the other vessel not complying with COLREGS, or if own vessel needs to deport from the Collision Regulations necessary to avoid immediate danger.
  13. Failure to make landfall or in case of an unexpected landfall.
  14. When soundings are not obtained as expected or when sounding is found unexpectedly.
  15. When CPA or TCPA cannot be achieved as per the Standing Orders.
  16. When wind force increase to the limit stated in Master’s Standing Orders.
  17. When difficulties are experienced to maintain the course.
  18. When the vessel is pounding or pitching heavily.
  19. When shipping sees on Forecastle deck.
  20. During the heavy weather when there is any doubt regarding the possibility of heavy weather damage.
  21. Whenever unsafe practices are being carried out on board.
  22. If the relieving watch-keeper/s is/are unfit for the watch.
  23. If any navigational warning, metrological warning, piracy report is received and is concerning own vessel.
  24. If any suspicious craft or object is sighted.
  25. When any oil spillage is sighted.
  26. When the vessel’s speed dropped unexpectedly without a reduction in RPM.
  27. If any danger message needs to be sent as per SOLAS Chp V.
  28. If an unusual change in list or trim is observed.
  29. Whenever your own vessel is suspected to go into the No Go Area.
  30. When your own vessel is suspected to contravene Company’s UKC policy.
  31. If any important instruction received from VTS or Port control etc.
  32. Whenever the vessel reached the point marked on the chart or ECDIS by Master himself. The Master will write “Call me”.
  33. When at Anchorage, should you have any reason to believe that your own vessel is dragging anchor.
  34. When at anchor, if another vessel is going to drop anchor or already drop the anchor very close distance to own vessel. The master must mention the distance in his Standing Orders.
  35. Should you have reasons to believe that the own vessel had a near-miss situation with other vessels or collision.
  36. If the deck cargo is suspected to be washed overboard.
  37. If the gyro error or Compass deviation is greater than the limit mentioned by the Master.
  38. Any other instructions as per Master Standing Orders or the company Standing Orders or SMS procedure or night order / Bridge order book.
  39. If the presence of Master is required for any reason not stated anywhere (Masters or Company’s Standing Orders may not be exhaustive.).
  40. Call the master whenever in any kind of doubt comma an early call is better rather than calling at last moment comma adjustment of night vision should be taken into consideration comma till Master reaches the bridge appropriate action to be taken full stop.

3. When the safety of your own ship and its crew is a concern. This includes:

    • During Restricted Visibility,
    • Navigation is Ice derelicts,
    • Debris,
    • Large Oil patches,
    • Sudden change in atmospheric conditions,
    • Approaching storm,
    • Heading towards the Eye of Storm;

4. When the Safety of another ship and its crew is a concern. This includes:

      • When received a distress call,
      • Sighting a ship that has suffered or suffering
      • Fire, Grounding, MOB, Sighting of small boats in the middle of the ocean
      • In the event of dense traffic and it is causing concern
      • In case of a close-quarters situation is likely to develop with other ship.
      • On failure to the sight of land, a navigation mark or to obtain soundings by the expected time;
  1. If, unexpectedly, land or a navigation mark is sighted which is not mentioned on the chart or a change in soundings occurs.


  • Despite the requirement to notify the master immediately in the foregoing circumstances, the officer in charge of the navigational watch shall in addition not hesitate to take immediate action for the safety of the ship, where circumstances so require.
  • The Officer-In-Charge of the navigational watch shall give watchkeeping personnel all appropriate instructions and information which will ensure the keeping of a safe watch, including a proper look-out. Watchkeeping under different conditions and in different areas