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Equipment Class: Fishing technologyEquipment Type: Wheelhouse
Characteristics
The command console on a larger fishing vessel is at the centre of the bridge, with a clear view all around.

Electronic instruments
Electronic instruments
Courtesy of Fishing Boat World (April 2000)


The compass or a repeater is well- displayed for the benefit of the helmsman. The autopilot is built into the steering console with all the associated controls (i.e. rudder position, rate of turn indicator, etc.). On a fishing vessel the equipment is normally clustered around the skipper's chair but in the largest vessels an additional chair is provided for a co-pilot. Indeed, the layout is remarkably similar to the cockpit design of a modern aircraft, with the instruments surrounding the pilot and co-pilot. The main displays are shown on monitors in front of the control position and increasingly these are shown on one large integrated display. Instruments or monitors that are used more infrequently are mounted in the deckhead (i.e. ceiling). Probably the only differences from the layout of an aircraft cockpit is that there is more space available on the bridge of a fishing vessel and the bridge windows are tilted downwards rather than upwards as in an aircraft.

Electronic instrumentsThe vessel controls are situated in the central console where they can be operated by the skipper or the assistant
Electronic instruments
Courtesy of Fishing Boat World (April 2000)


The instruments spread around the skipper can be grouped into several relatively-loose categories. The first is navigational instruments which are used for the navigation of the vessel while at sea and in harbour. Other instruments are used in the search for fish and during the fishing operation. These are described under fish detection but also include electronic aids to the fishing operation. Radio communications are vitally important for the safety and for general communications, and as such are situated around the control position. Communications within the vessel are also provided at this point with links to the messroom, the skipper's cabin, engine room and key points on the working deck of the vessel.

Tension meters built into the winches allow the skipper to monitor the fishing gear and display information, which indicates any malfunction. Trawlers have the tension on both towing warps displayed so that if the gear comes fast on the bottom an immediate alarm is sounded. Differing tensions on the two warps indicate a malfunction unless this is caused by a change in course. In fact, modern computerized winch controls allow for changes in the warp length, to ensure that the trawl remains in a fishing mode throughout a change of course. In purse seine, sensors give the rate of sinking of different parts of the net during setting which can be important. Other types of fishing gear such as gillnets and longlines can be installed with automatic readouts fitted on the reels and drums which give an indication of the length of fishing gear which has been set.

 
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