Basic Ship-Handling Course Course

Basic Ship Handling Course: The Basic Ship Handling Course (BSH) is a five day course of instruction patterned after STCW training courses and consisting of about 10 hours of classroom and 30 hours of ship-handling simulator exercises. This course is intended for the inexperienced Navy novice seeking qualification as Officer of the Deck and Surface Warfare Officer but can be modified to match the experience level of any group. Class size is strictly limited to six students to ensure every student receives sufficient conning time. The course covers the very basic principles of ship-handling utilized in controlling the movement and positioning a basic Navy destroyer type ship. The course uses Barber's Naval Ship-handler's Guide, Naval Institute Press, as a textbook and includes nightly homework assignments in preparation for each day's instruction. In the final portion of the BSH course, as a form of "final exam" without instructor coaching, each student demonstrates a series of four ship-handling evolutions; getting underway from alongside a pier, making a landing, underway replenishment, and man overboard. These demonstrations are assessed by an experienced instructor and the assessment process may be observed or assessed by the ship's Commanding Officer. The BSH Course includes 10 ship-handling lessons:

  1. Introduction
    Classroom instruction covers course format and schedule, explanation of textbook and ship-handling fundamentals. Included are principles of physics; Archimedes, Newton, Bernoulli and Venturi. Discussion focuses on ship stability and buoyancy, laws of motion and the combination of art and science in bringing together the proficient use of forces to control position and movement of a ship. A one hour orientation provides an introduction to the ship-handling simulator.
  2. Forces on the Ship
    Classroom instruction covers the basic principles of controllable forces; propulsion, rudder, mooring lines, tugs and anchors and how these forces can be used to control and position the ship. Pilot status is included. Uncontrollable forces, wind and current, including tides, are discussed with explanations of determination of effects.
  3. Standard Commands
    Classroom instruction covers the need for and methods of using standard commands in steering, rudder position, speed control, mooring lines, tug control and anchor. Students then demonstrate ship control with standard commands in ship-handling simulator exercises
  4. Getting Underway from Alongside a Pier
    Classroom instruction covers methods of getting a ship underway from alongside a pier with considerations of wind and current. Instruction includes review of forces, preparations, use of mooring lines, twisting, flow past the rudder, pivot point and safe maneuvering in proximity to other ships. Each student then practices getting underway procedures by conning the ship under instruction in the ship-handling simulator.
  5. Making a Landing Pier Arrival
    Classroom instruction covers methods of bringing a ship from a channel into position alongside a pier with considerations of wind and current. Instruction includes review of forces, preparations, use of tug, rudder and speed control, approach, flow past the rudder, final adjustments, pivot point, use of mooring lines and safe maneuvering in proximity to other ships. Each student then practices making a landing by conning the ship under instruction in the ship-handling simulator.
  6. Basic Rules of the Road
    Classroom instruction covers the three basic Rules of the Road situations; head-on, crossing and overtaking. Instruction includes determination of stand-on or give-way status, sound signals, lights, distress signals, international and inland rules, and demarcation lines. Students then demonstrate appropriate Rules of the Road procedures in ship-handling simulator exercises. Homework includes an open book Basic Rules of the Road exam with classroom critique.
  7. Underway Replenishment
    Classroom instruction covers the importance of and procedures employed in conducting underway replenishment. Instruction includes preparation, approach, alongside and breakaway with emphasis on safety. Each student then practices conduct of underway replenishment procedures under instruction in the ship-handling simulator.
  8. Man Overboard
    Classroom instruction covers ship-handling maneuvers and procedures to be taken in man overboard situations. Instruction includes initial actions, four recovery maneuvers (Anderson, Williamson, Racetrack and Y Backing), recovery and pick-up procedures. Each student then practices maneuvering the ship for a man overboard by conning the ship under instruction in the ship-handling simulator.
  9. Tactical Maneuvering
    Classroom instruction covers basic formations and maneuvering of the ship in line formations. Students then demonstrate ship maneuvering in line formations under instruction in the ship-handling simulator. A NATO-like operation order and signal book sets the scene and provides the basis of delayed execution directive communications.
  10. Anchoring
    Classroom instruction covers; equipment, characteristics and piloting, selection of the anchorage, plotting the anchorage, executing the anchorage, and post anchorage procedures. Instruction includes terminology and emphasizes safety in this basic seamanship evolution.
Introduction0.5 hrMaking a LandingUNREPAnchoringContinue Final
4.0 hr
Simulator Orientation1.0 hrClassroom1.0 hrClassroom1.0 hrClassroom1.0 hr
Forces on the Ship1.5 hrSimulator3.0 hrSimulator3.0 hrTactical Maneuvering
Standard Commands0.5 hrClassroom0.5hr
Tugs and Pilots0.5 hrSimulator2.5 hr
Getting UnderwaySimulator2.0 hrSimulator1.0 hrFinal Demonstrations4.0 hrContinue Final
3.0 hr
Classroom1.0 hrBasic Rules of the RoadMan Overboard
Simulator3.0 hrClassroom0.5 hrClassroom0.5 hr
Simulator1.0 hrSimulator2.5 hrSummary and
1.0 hr
Test & Critique0.5 hr