Upon receipt of the voyage order, what are all things that a 2nd officer must prepare? Any detailed/step by step course of actions please?

The first few things that a second mate must prepare and know upon receipt of voyage instructions are

Do the destinations ports have enough water depth in relation to the ship's drafts at these ports? Do the UKC calculation for the destination ports and its approaches to check that. If UKC does not comply with the company UKC policy, inform Master.

The approx distance between each of the destination ports (First information that everyone would ask for sending ETAs and fuel calculations etc) 

Do the vessel have all the charts (or ENCs) to reach the destination ports? Softwares like Chartco and Digitrace help in finding this. If these softwares are not provided on board, use Admiralty chart catalog. Order any ENC, charts, and publication that is not on board.

Finally, 2nd mate needs to check if the vessel can reach the destination ports. Following resources helps in doing that

  • Ocean passages of the world
  • Sailing directions for that area
  • Your company circular on any related port information
  • Planning charts (small scale charts) 

After you have laid down the courses on the planning charts, you can then take out the large scale charts and lay the course on these charts.

Prepare the passage plan in the company form and keep it ready for navigating officers after getting it approved from the Master.

I will cover this topic in more details in my future blogs.