Wednesday Afternoon- You Too, Can Steer This Ship
We took a tour of the ship’s bridge, where all steering and navigational decisions are made. The information we learned was fascinating. Did you know, for example?
The ship’s radar can pick up objects from 12 nautical miles away. Even so, individual crew members are still used as “lookouts” since some objects such as wooden ships might not appear on radar.
The QM2 has the capability of being 100 percent on autopilot. This means that at least in theory, a “captain” isn’t needed for steering and navigation unless problems arise. (I emphasize “in theory” the captain is ever-present and very much in command of his vessel.)
In the event that danger is spotted on the route ahead (icebergs, etc.) the ship can stop or change/reverse course in less than one mile. For a ship this size, that’s the equivalent of “turning on a dime.”
Speaking of icebergs, we “mirrored” the route of the Titanic almost the entire transatlantic route. This was per “captain’s choice” – this (northerly) route is sometimes more dangerous late in the sailing season (i.e., near year’s end) but is usually not problematic in October. In the event of any concerns, the ship can switch to a “southerly” route, which takes it into warmer waters.
And lastly, if you were to fall off the ship’s deck into the North Atlantic, would the ship turn around to get you? Probably not, but don’t panic, a small jetty and the equivalent of a “SWAT” team would be quickly dispatched to pick you up, then rendezvous back with the QM2. However, the First Mate assured us that no one had ever fallen off the deck into the ocean. (But just to be safe, no more than one bottle of wine prior to that moonlight deck stroll, please.)