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Updated on May 12, 2014

What is passage? It is the movement of someone or something from one place to another. What is Passage planning in shipping? If you want to sail the ship from Port A to Port B you should make a plan before you do this & it is known as passage planning. This plan is to be printed before you sail your ship. The passage planning is basically divided into four categories. They are Appraisal, Planning, Execution & Monitoring.


What is appraisal? In general appraisal means you consider about something carefully to form an opinion about it. Observations & testing involve in appraisal.

In shipping appraisal means you gather information as much as possible for the intented voyage. The following information is generally required.

A. Distance from port A to port B. The distance can be found through distance table, routine charts etc. If you are on a new vessel fitted with ECDIS just by plotting you can find the distance at a glance.

B. Information about port A & port B. This can be found in Guide to port entries. You can also get the information through local agents, Charterers etc.

C. Cargo to be loaded /discharged etc. This can be found in Voyage orders.

D. Ship’s draught, Under Keel Clearance to be calculated by the Chief Officer.

E. Tidal streams & height of tide to be calculated using Tide Tables. You can use tide software as well.

F. Dangers & weather associated with the voyage to be analyzed. You can use Sailing Directions etc.

G. Check whether you have all the paper charts for the intended voyage including large scale charts. Check whether all charts are corrected & up to date. If you are having an ECDIS fitted check for corrections.

H. Check whether all of your navigational publications are available & up to date.

I. Check the bunker requirements with Chief Engineer. In case if you need bunker decide where & when to do the bunker operations.

J. Check whether you have enough fresh water & provisions.

K. Check all of your navigational equipment whether they are functional & in order.

L. Check for your LSA & FFA equipment’s status.


Normally planning is done by the second mate under the supervision of the Master. The plan should be done in such a way that the shortest & safest route to be established. The intented voyage to be plotted on chart from birth to birth.

The way points, course & distance of each leg, Parallel indexing, No go areas, ROT at alterations, WOP, Notices, Plotting intervals & methods, contingency anchorages, radar conspicuous object etc should be marked on the chart as required.

Constant radius turn technique is based on the following formula

Rate of turn (Degrees/ minute) = 57.3/60 x V/R

where V= Ship’s speed over ground, in knots and,

R= Radius of the turn in nautical miles

Distance of wheel over line from the new course line = F sin Ө + R (1 – cos Ө) where,

F = one ship’s length (usually),

R = Radius of the turn

Ө = Change of course angle.


Executing the passage plan is done once the Master checks & approves it. The master should check the ETA, all the appraisals, traffic density during the passage where to deviate in heavy traffic & how to come back to original course etc. Once this is done the Master will execute the plan.


Ship’s position to be plotted as required on the chart which was made earlier by second mate. All navigational officers to take careful monitoring until you reach from port A to port B. The departure report, Arrival report & the noon reports to be prepared by the Second mate. If there is any deviation then the deviation report also to be sent to company. Any other optional reporting can be done e.g. AMVER. Second mate has to do all the noon tests. All appropriate check lists to be filled by all Officers.


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