Hazzard to Navigation

Over the weekend I received a video about a large US warship ordering a lighthouse to change course to avoid collision.
While the video was funny, I didn’t laugh too hard. Having done something similar myself, and indeed, as have many a young Royal Navy radar operator. After basic training I spent two years aboard HMS Cockade in the Far East. During that time I had shown an interest in becoming a radar operator. I trained on Cockade and was rated “Radar Plotter 3(U)” Please note the (U) stood for unqualified! In order to qualify I had to take a six month course at the RN Radar School HMS Harrier.
Now back to the Cockade, we were on a course for home after being away for two years, it was an exciting time for the crew. As we neared Lands End I was the duty radar operator and keen to impress the bridge with my skills. I spotted a firm contact on the screen and reported it to the bridge. They replied “very good radar we have it visual”. But I wasn’t finished, I worked out the course and speed of the contact and reported that to the bridge. Once again they replied, “very good radar”. I continued to report the movement of my contact, it was doing 15 knots on a course for Gibraltar. I continued to report the distance of the closing contact, and continued to receive the reply from the bridge”very good radar”. As the contact passed two miles on our port side, the bridge said, Radar, the Eddystone Lighthouse has just passed us doing 15 knots!!!!
When we arrived in Plymouth I joined another ship and had to wait a year before finally going on my radar course at HMS Harrier. You might wonder what I did wrong in giving the lighthouse a course and speed??? easy really and often a mistake made by young inexperienced operators. I did not allow for the course and speed of my ship we were doing 15 knots and coming from the direction of Gibraltar. I only made that mistake the one time, that was how one gained experience in those far off Navy days .
God Bless and keep reading

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in HMS Cockade, The Royal Navy & Me, veterans and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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