Captain's Log: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Submitted by Campbell on Tue, 02/18/2020 - 07:15

Good morning, Followers –

As the TS Kennedy cruises towards Buzzards Bay, I am determined to answer as many student questions as possible.   

In a recent email, a high school student asked me to describe the Deck Logbook that is used on the TS Kennedy’s Bridge.  He had heard that all ships are required to maintain a legal and permanent record of a ship’s life and operation, and was curious about what information is written in it.

The Deck Log Book is of critical importance.  It is a record of our ship’s movements and activities throughout her voyage.  In any legal proceedings related to the TS Kennedy, it would be the only document accepted as evidence.  The Deck Log Book is a confidential document that may not be read, copied, or photographed without my permission. 

Due to its importance, cadets are not allowed to write in the official Deck Log Book.  Entries are made by the Officer Of The Watch every four hours.  The Officers sign their name and rank beside each entry.

Because this is a training cruise, however, a second book has been created specifically for cadets.  The pages of Cadet Deck Log Book are identical to the official Deck Log Book.  Throughout Bridge Watch, cadets make entries in the Cadet Deck Log Book as the Officers make entries in the Official Deck Log Book.  During class time, Third Class cadets are provided with sample log book entries and have an opportunity to write entries on their own. 

Entries in the Official Deck Log Book are made in black ink.  Some special entries that must be red ink such as arrivals, departures, drills, and inspections.  Erasing is not allowed.

I am sure that your teachers stress neatness when you are working on important assignments.  Neatness is key when making entries in both the Official Deck Log Book and the Cadet Deck Log Book.  Unlike a notebook that you may use in class, Post-it notes may not be added and pages may not be removed and discarded if a mistake is made.  Proper nautical terms must be used at all times.

The top of each sheet in the log books includes the ship’s name, where the ship is traveling from and to, the date, and the voyage number. 

The left-hand side of the log sheets include: the course, the wind direction, barometer reading, temperature, names of people in watch positions, the daily noon summary, and data related to fuel and water.

The right-hand size of the log sheets include: changes in course, changes in speed, information about Pilots who join the ship, time zone changes, changes in weather, and any accidents or fires.

There are many more details that are added to the pages – too many to list here.  As you can see, this is a very comprehensive document.  I read over the entries very carefully before signing my full name at the bottom of each page. 

I will ask that a photo of the Official Deck Log Book be included with this log so that you may see the size of the book and where it is kept.

Have a good day at school or an enjoyable day of vacation.  Thank you for following our cadets on the final leg of their voyage.

Captain Michael J. Campbell


bridge log work
offical book next to cadet book