Watch Commander Review

Ahoy All , A “Deadman Switch” , is used on trains , to keep the engineer awake , or wake him if he falls asleep .

While open ocean sailing I have fallen asleep . Yes , I sleped right through my primary alarm , then sleped through the secondary alarm as well . After events like this I comforted myself with thinking that it takes both two boats , not on watch to have a collision at sea .

Eventually I learned that fatigue had similar symptoms as Hypothermia , that “Well Being” feeling , all is Ok , I don’t need a rescue , I am alright , that lulls me to cat nap, when It Is Not All Right to do so !

I had also mistakenly thought that after my two primary alarms set 20 minutes apart, that my radar proximity alarm , and my depth sounder alarm , would wake me , how wrong I was . These system alarms are just not loud enough to wake a fatigued solo sailor, IMO !

Comes the Dawn to a few other sailors about this problem , too , and the “Watch Commander” invention is now on the market.

I don’t get the Practical Sailor reviews anymore , drats , but maybe some of our forum members do .

So my question today , does anyone have a review of that “Emerald Marine’s” Company product called the “Watch Commander” ? , and will comment here ?

Douglas: Hi!

I cannot offer a review of Watch Commander, but a quick look at the company’s website shows that it’s designed to keep the duty watch of a well-crewed vessel on their toes, rather than provide a technological fix for the fatigued crew of a short-crewed blue water cruiser.

Note the research work from last year, when Orfeu Buxton published the fruits of team research showing that just 3 weeks of disturbed sleep screws up your metabolism - leading to higher than normal blood sugar (which might contribute a bit to that “I’m all right” complacency when we’re fatigued zombies) and increased risks for diabetes and obesity.

That research was focused on shift workers and people allowing their regular sleep cycle to be disturbed by work and recreation. And the research subjects got 9 days of regular sleep to recover from the equivalent of a 3-week voyage punctuated by the occasional squall or other emergency to fracture the watch routine.

See the abstract at: AAAS

The US Navy did similar research published as “Performance maintenance under continuous flight operations”. The USCG did their work as “Crew Endurance Management”. The International Maritime Organization did the same under the title “Guidelines on Fatigue”. You should have most of those on “Another Cruisers Bookshelf 2”.

Cheers

Bil

Ahoy Bil , T Y , for that reply . Yes , I do refer to the “Another Cruisers Bookshelf” , from time to time , What A Great Reference , That Is !

Currently, it looks like I don’t have to sail solo on our next few passages , Phew !

My wife has her own ideas about alerting a sleeping crew , for a MOB rescue, if she is washed off the boat.

I am the one who is afraid of waking up while still on watch and finding my finger nails have been mysteriously painted with red nail varnish .

So I am looking for a “Hedge” , better than my failed attempts to stay awake, before this .

I’ve just finished a single handed trip from Florida to Bermuda and then on to Martha’s Vineyard ( 19 days ). Prior to leaving Florida I though I’d install a Watch Commander to see if it would actually helped eliminate the danger of falling asleep while trying to stay awake while on watch.

While there are a few things I’m not fond of about the device I must admit that I found it to be very user friendly and that it did exactly as advertized.

It has three stages of alarm. The first being a small blinking light ( quite useless ), the second a very quiet audible alarm ( also quite useless ) and the last a VERY loud audible alarm which. No one could possibly sleep through the third alarm.

So while I’m not at all anxious to have many electronic gizmos aboard I personally consider this thing to be a pretty useful addition.

Baba Wrote:

I’ve just finished a single handed trip from
Florida to Bermuda and then on to Martha’s
Vineyard ( 19 days ). Prior to leaving Florida I
though I’d install a Watch Commander to see if it
would actually helped eliminate the danger of
falling asleep while trying to stay awake while on
watch.

While there are a few things I’m not fond of about
the device I must admit that I found it to be very
user friendly and that it did exactly as
advertized.

It has three stages of alarm. The first being a
small blinking light ( quite useless ), the second
a very quiet audible alarm ( also quite useless )
and the last a VERY loud audible alarm which. No
one could possibly sleep through the third alarm.

So while I’m not at all anxious to have many
electronic gizmos aboard I personally consider
this thing to be a pretty useful addition.

Baba
Loon BCC # 62
(
Lille1941&
#64;gmail.co&
#109; )

Although I can’t seem to find my own post I’ve just posted an offering to give my Watch Commander away for the cost of shipping.

Sold my boat and no longer have use for it.

Let me know if you’re interested.

Thanks