In Command: 200 things I wish I'd known before I was Captain

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Published Date

September 2007

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In Command: 200 things I wish I'd known before I was Captain

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Entertainingly written by Captain Michael Lloyd, and drawing on his own extensive experiences from 50 years at sea (retiring in 2007), this book will amuse, provoke and inform on the subject of commanding a ship.

This book provides insight into the challenges faced by the new Captain. Scattered throughout with checklists, 'must do' lists and 'whatever you do, don't forget' lists, the book manages to be both useful and highly readable.


1 Shipping Companies

1.1 The Company and Your Relationship
1.2 Your Contract
1.3 The Department
1.4 Charterers and Charter-Party

2 Joining the Ship

2.1 Questions for the Leaving Master
2.2 On Your Own

3 Relationships

3.1 The Chief Engineer
3.2 The Chief Officer
3.3 The Catering Department
3.4 The Crew

4 Sailing

4.1 Gangway Notice Board with ETD
4.2 Crew Lists Ready
4.3 Other Forms
4.4 Stowaway Search
4.5 Draught Read
4.6 Pilot Boarding
4.7 Weather Reports
4.8 Tide States
4.9 Testing Navigation Equipment, Steering and Engines
4.10 All Crew Onboard
4.11 One Hour Before Sailing
4.12 Draught and Stability Information
4.13 Squat
4.14 From the Agent
4.15 Sailing
4.16 The Pilot
4.17 Tugs
4.18 Berth Clearance
4.19 Anchor
4.20 Bridge Orders
4.21 Lights
4.22 Leaving the Harbour
4.23 Disembarking the Pilot
4.24 Speed

5 At Sea

5.1 The Fairway
5.2 Securing the Anchors
5.3 Securing Ship
5.4 Full Away
5.5 Standing Orders
5.6 The Night Order Book
5.7 The Watches
5.8 The Lookouts

6 Your Ship

6.1 Items for Attention
6.2 Engine Room
6.3 Weekly Inspection

7 Ship Management

7.1 Defects - Deck Safety
7.2 Safety Training
7.3 Bunkering
7.4 ISM

8 Discipline

8.1 Assault
8.2 Theft
8.3 Drugs
8.4 Disobedience to a Direct Command
8.5 Insolence and Verbal Abuse

9 Safety

9.1 The Paperwork
9.2 The Safety Committee
9.3 Your Equipment
9.4 The Fire Detection System
9.5 Emergencies
9.6 The Stations Bill/Muster List
9.7 Exercises
9.8 Fire
9.9 The Emergency Party
9.10 Radio Medical Assistance

10 Difficult Circumstances

10.1 Port of Refuge
10.2 Abandon Ship
10.3 Grounding
10.4 Piracy
10.5 Medical Emergencies

11 Collisions

11.1 Why Collisions Really Happen
11.2 The Ideal Situation
11.3 The Prevailing Situation
11.4 STCW (Politics)
11.5 The Financial Dimension
11.6 The Human Element

12 Man Overboard

12.1 The Present Predicament
12.2 Preparation
12.3 Mob - The Plan
12.4 The Execution

13 Welfare

13.1 You and the Ship's Company
13.2 Social Relationship
13.3 Newly Joined Personnel
13.4 Dependants
13.5 Provisions
13.6 Bedding
13.7 Work Clothing
13.8 Alcohol
13.9 Bond
13.10 Wages
13.11 Medical
13.12 Shore Leave
13.13 Crew Mail
13.14 Cash Advances
13.15 Visitors
13.16 Uniform
13.17 Unions
13.18 Animals
13.19 Bullying
13.20 The Chaplain

14 Communications, Letters and Reports

14.1 Communication
14.2 Letters
14.3 Reports
14.4 Meetings

15 Surveys and Inspections

15.1 Port State Control
15.2 ISM Audits
15.3 Security Audit
15.4 Charterer's Inspections
15.5 Flag State Inspections
15.6 P&I Inspections
15.7 Class Inspections

16 Breakdowns

17 Helicopter Operations

18 Stowaways

19 Passengers

20 Ethics

21 Portage Accounts, Budgets and Stores

22 Ocean Routeing

23 Weather Conditions and Ship Handling

23.1 Poor Visibility
23.2 Weather
23.3 Seas
23.4 Taking Water
23.5 Heading Into the Sea
23.6 Running Before the Sea
23.7 Turning the Ship
23.8 Heaving To
23.9 Severe Weather in Port
23.10 Precautions
23.11 Cold Weather Conditions
23.12 Extreme Weather
23.13 Extreme Weather at Sea
23.14 The Rogue Wave

24 Drydock

24.1 Responsibilities
24.2 Safety
24.3 Security
24.4 Pollution
24.5 Fire Control
24.6 Shipboard Management
24.7 Catering
24.8 Crew Welfare
24.9 Completion

25 Port Entry

25.1 Port Planning
25.2 Forward Preparation
25.3 The Agents
25.4 Note of Protest
25.5 Ship Regulations

26 Anchoring

26.1 Regulations
26.2 Manoeuvrability
26.3 Anchorages
26.4 Positioning
26.5 Responsibilities
26.6 Anchorage Design
26.7 Anchoring Your Vessel
26.8 The Anchor Watch

27 Arrival at the Port

27.1 The Port Approach
27.2 Pilotage
27.3 Port Navigation

28 In the Port

28.2 Official Visitors
28.3 The Port
28.4 Cargo Management
28.5 Ship Management
28.6 Personnel
28.7 Port Services
28.8 Pollution Control
28.9 The Berth
28.10 Berth Preparation
28.11 The Gangway
28.12 The Watch in Port

29 You and the Law

30 The Final Word

Michael started his career on the training ship HMS Conway and went to sea as a Cadet with P&O.

He was promoted to master on a deep sea tow vessel at the age of 32. He then commanded a wide variety of ships including general cargo, passenger, reefer, heavy lift, container, bulk carriers, anchor handlers, supply vessels, response and rescue vessels in the north sea, oil field support vessels in Nigeria, middle trade multi-purpose vessels in the Black Sea and Baltic.

Michael served 35 years in the Royal Naval Reserve and for 10 years he represented shipmasters on the Council of Numast. He is a Fellow of the Nautical Institute and a Younger Brother of Trinity House.

Michael retired from the sea in March 2007 after 50 years seagoing and 35 years in command. He now works with Witherby Seamanship International as a Senior Advisor and Technical Author.

Title: In Command: 200 things I wish I'd known before I was Captain
Number of Volumes: 1
Number of Pages: 229
Product Code: 4364
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-85609-353-8 (9781856093538), ISBN 10: 1-85609-353-0 (1856093530)
Published Date: September 2007
Binding Format: Paperback
Book Height: 240 mm
Book Width: 160 mm
Book Spine: 10 mm
Weight: 0.50 kg

Customer Reviews

Useful, interesting and worth Review by Captain Nikolaos Chalaris
Captain Nikolaos Chalaris, Greek captain just have finished reading your book “in command”. My congratulations for it, I found it really interesting, helpful and worth. Even though I am in command 5 years already (book was supposed to be for first time captains), I have to admit that your work really fascinated me, I learned new things but mostly I felt that I am not alone in disappointment caused by the evolution of our industry, which is pushing us strongly down. I see that an experienced and honorable captain like you, after so many years in command with such an experience is seeing the everyday ship’s life, especially through the eyes of a Master, the same way I do.
I already gave your book as a present in some colleagues that are now promoted or soon will be, and also I don’t lose a chance to promote and suggest it, because I believe it is really worth
(Posted on 02/12/2011)
In Command. 200 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Was Captain Review by The New Zealand company of Master Mariners
appears both entertaining and informative...will be recommending it to our members. (Posted on 01/09/2007)
In Command. 200 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Was Captain Review by Fairplay magazine
The book is aimed at newly appointed masters, although many of long standing will find much to savour in its pages...he intersperses his remarks with personal anecdotes that underline the points he makes.
The book is illustrated with cartoons and photographs that add to its readability. And readable it is. This reviewer found it an engrossing account of the practical decisions and responsibilities that face a master on any voyage.
(Posted on 01/09/2007)
In Command. 200 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Was Captain Review by Sea Breezes Book of the month, Dec 2007
A rather marvellous last someone has written the 'rough guide to command'... a book as this could only be written by an experienced seafarer and in essence it should be compulsory reading by all those who either aspire to be Master or those who wish to understand what makes a senior officer tick. Littered with humour...It was with a great deal of satisfaction that I closed the book after reading it cover to cover. Three cheers for the author - a job well done.
(Posted on 01/09/2007)
In Command. 200 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Was Captain Review by Nautilus Telegraph
...its contents make rather fascinating reading for anyone. Ambitious in its scope, the book covers all aspects of the captains role from seamanship to management... it certainly serves to underline the amazing level of 'multi skilling' required of contemporary captains.
(Posted on 01/09/2007)
In Command. 200 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Was Captain Review by The Honourable Company of Master Mariners, London.
He pulls no punches in his criticism of the way in which some ships are administered, managed and operated today...but, this book is not about negativity, it offers much positive advice to make life easier for the newly promoted master and his crew, not only in terms of how a ship is administered, managed and operated but also in respect to the safety, wellbeing and morale of the crew. It is not a novel for 'bedtime reading'
it is not a novel, but the story that is told it is certainly not fiction. It is not a textbook, nor is it a comprehensive guide on how to be the good shipmaster. It merely reflects the thoughts of one shipmaster who has accumulated a wealtho of command experience and who wishes to pass on that experience to others.

(Posted on 01/09/2007)
In Command. 200 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Was Captain Review by The Company of Master Mariners, Canada
This is not a text book on how to be Captain...but an excellent guide for officers aspiring to command and for younger Masters...but I know from experience that once you become the "old man" you learn a lot and you learn fast. Now the book has been written. He is right up-to-date, having retired last year...nobody could be better qualified than he to advise on how a master can avoid the rocks and shoals which are not always out at sea. The many references to capt. lloyds own experience gives the narrative authenticity as well as making you feel as if you were in his shoes in so many situations. For those at sea, here is a guide to best practice in every conceivable situation.
(Posted on 01/09/2007)

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