Passage Planning on Ships

Passage Planning on Ships


Passage Planning is a comprehensive berth-to-berth guide developed and used by the bridge team to determine the most favorable route and to identify all the potential hazards and risks along that route.

Passage Planning consists of 4 basic key elements:



Execution and


Appraisal :

Appraisal is the process of gathering all the information required for the proposed passage.

A checklist must be available to the navigating officer to assist him in gathering all the information required for the passage.

In appraisal, information is gathered or extracted from nautical charts and publications.

Appraisal includes the information from the following:

  • Admiralty Sailing Directions
  • Admiralty List of Radio Signals
  • Admiralty List of Light and Fog signals
  • Admiralty Distance Tables
  • Admiralty Tide Table
  • ADMIRALTY Mariner’s Handbook (NP100)
  • Admiralty Chart Catalogue(NP131)
  • Navigational charts
  • Loadline Charts
  • Routeing Charts
  • Ocean Passages for the World (NP136)
  • Ship Routeing (By IMO)
  • Tidal stream Atlas
  • Notices to mariner
  • IALA Maritime Buoyage System (NP735)
  • Navigation and weather warnings
  • Guide to port entry
  • Information from owner/ master/ charter
  • Personal experiences

Planning :

After gathering all the information required for the proposed passage the OOW can act upon master instructions to prepare a detailed plan of the passage.

This plan should cover the whole passage from berth to berth and including any water where pilot will be onboard.

In the Planning stage courses are actually laid out on charts and all other markings are marked on charts such as :

  • Courses and distances
  • Waypoints
  • Wheel over Points
  • Parallel Indexing
  • Transit bearings
  • Clearing Bearings
  • No go Areas
  • Contingency Anchorages
  • Abort Points
  • Point of no -returns
  • Position Plotting Intervals (PPI)
  • Reporting Points
  • Calling the Master Point
  • Squat, bridge manning level etc

Execution :

In this stage the bridge team will execute the passage plan after it has been reviewed and approved by the master.

Speed of the vessel will be decided by master depending on the ETA, traffic density and sea&weather conditions etc.

Due consideration shall also be made to the available quantity of fuel, Freshwater and food rations, etc, so as not to encounter any shortage during the voyage.

Monitoring :

In this stage bridge team will use their expertise and good seaman ship to monitor the safe passage of the ship.

Monitoring is the checking of vessel positions by more than one available means to ensure that vessel is at a safe distance from any danger and navigational hazard during the passage.

Good seamanship ship means using GPS, Visual bearings, radar bearings, territorial object, transit bearings, HSA, VSA, Celestial Observations, etc. to verify ship positions.

After the voyage is completed a debriefing meeting is carried out in which all the lessons learned and experiences during the voyage are shared which can be included in future passage plan.

Example of Appraisal Checklist and Passage planning Table for Reference:


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *