Interaction between 2 ships in Narrow Channel : Passing Each Other

The recommended procedure for two ships passing each other in a narrow channel is to stay on the centerline of the channel. Here are the main points:

  • The ships should reduce their speed to steerage way when they are about a ship’s length from each other.
  • Both ships should put their rudder to starboard and then ease the rudder to turn their bows to the right.
  • When the bows of the ships are level with each other, they should bring their helms to port to bring the ships parallel to the centerline of the channel.
  • The ships should increase their engine RPM and put their rudders to starboard in good time to counteract suction from the channel bank.
  • When the ships are alongside each other, they will both be affected by the cushion effect from the channel bank and turn to port.
  • When the ships are abeam of each other, the port turn must be controlled and stopped with the rudder.
  • When the stern of the ships are abeam of each other, the engine RPM should be increased to full ahead, and the ships will move towards the centerline of the channel while the rudder is used to bring them back to the centerline.
  • It is not recommended for ships to execute the passage in such a way that both ships move to the right of the centerline of the channel in good time and approach each other on a parallel course before passing each other, as it may lead to uncontrolled turning to port due to the channel bank effect.
  • Maneuvering in a narrow channel in this way is strongly warned against unless the breadth of the channel is sufficiently large.


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