Course Syllabus & Outline

Instructor: MT Staff, as assigned
Office Hours: As posted on office door, as scheduled, by appointment. Additional/Alternate times by appointment


This course covers the skills necessary to live and work safely aboard oceangoing research vessels. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the navigational and hydrographical techniques needed to conduct an offshore bathymetric survey. Upon completion, students should be able to accurately navigate a vessel, gather bathymetric data, and prepare a depth contour plot of a predetermined quadrant.

Course Hours per Semester:

1 Credit Hour , 48 hours of Lab


MSC 112


Be a full time Marine Technology student or permission of the Department Chair


None required. Reference books are on the vessel.

Course Objectives:

  1. MSC 114 provides a five day training cruise to provide Marine Tech students with the experience of living and working with others aboard an ocean going research vessel. 
  2. To provide students additional experience with scientific and navigational watch standing procedures aboard ocean going research vessels. 
  3. To provide students with an opportunity to conduct a bathymetric survey, offshore, using a grid coordinate system. 
  4. 4. To train the student on the classical and contemporary oceanographic instrumentation used to conduct the aforementioned survey. 
  5. 5. To provide students with an opportunity to conduct meteorological observations, determine and plot positions, reduce and display acquired data. 
  6. Provide the students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the duties and responsibilities of a hydrographic survey technician.


Class Attendance: According to CFCC policy, a student must attend at least 80% of the scheduled class hours in order to receive credit for the course. Attendance is marked at the beginning of the cruise. Those not present at that time will be marked absent. Tardies will be marked any time a student is late for a roll call or assigned watch assignment. Watch assignments missed may constitute absences if conditions warrant such action.

Withdrawal: A student wishing to not participate on a cruise should withdraw before the cruise date. This will be recorded as a W with no grade penalty applied. If a student departs the cruise, absences will be logged and a grade of "F" will be entered after the 10th hour missed (20%), after which a student may not withdraw passing (WP) if prior arrangements have not been made with the instructor.

Conduct: At all times cruising students will conduct themselves in a mature and safe manner. While on liberty they should remember they are representatives of CFCC and the Marine Technology program and should continue to behave accordingly. The ship's Captain and your Cruise Supervisor will discuss additional safety rules to be followed while aboard the ship. This will be done prior to departure from the dock and/or during the safety drills.

Safety: Students must follow safety requirements. Students who ignore or violate safety requirements will be subject to discipline, which may include dismissal from the course. The ship's Captain and your Cruise Supervisor will discuss additional safety rules to be followed while aboard the ship. This will be done prior to departure from the dock, during the safety drills and/or while on station. Students are required to wear proper footgear (no barefeet, sandals or open-ended shoes) at all times while on deck. Work vests and hard hats will be worn at all times when performing over the side operations.

Evaluation Criteria/Areas:

  • Students must stand all assigned daily watches throughout the duration of the cruise and must satisfactorily complete all work assigned in conjunction with these watches.
  • Student's ability to work with others aboard ship.
  • Attention to manipulative and mental skills necessary for safe working habits.
  • Correct implementation of various oceanographic, meteorological and navigational duties.
  • Reduction and display of data, as assigned.
  • Timely accomplishment of duties.


A grade for MSC 114 will be based on the aforementioned criteria as shown below.
Performance of Scientific watch standing duties and assignments
Performance of Navigation/Weather watch standing duties and assignments
Attitude, aptitude and overall participation [by Ship's Captain]
Attitude, aptitude and overall participation [by Cruise Supervisor]
A minimum average grade of 68% is required to receive credit for MSC 114
The following grading system will be used for this class.
Numerical Equivalency
Quality Points per Sem. Hr.
92 - 100
Superior 4
84 - 91
76 - 83
68 - 75
0 - 67

[Student failed to complete required course assignment due to extenuating circumstances]

Withdrawal Passing  
Withdrawal Failing, computed as a Failure on transcripts


A: Outstanding performance by student. Exceeds all basic requirements. Student demonstrates high level of competency in course material. Student capable of independent work in field
B: Above average performance by student. Student exceeds some requirements. Student demonstrates good competency in field.
C: Average performance by student. Student meets basic course requirements. Student demonstrates adequate level of competency in field. Students can work in field with supervision.
D: Below average performance by student. Student barely meets course requirements.
F: Unacceptable performance by the student. Student fails to meet course requirements. Student does not demonstrate proficiency in field.


As a field/lab practicum for skills acquired in other Marine Technology courses, this course has no structured outline of instruction. Skills to be covered include: Safety aboard an oceangoing research vessel; living and working aboard an oceangoing research vessel; Weather, Navigation and Scientific watch standing duties; proper use of various types of biological sampling gear; collection of biological samples; identification & preservation of biological samples; lab meter analysis of water samples obtained and log sheet maintenance.


Conduct: an intensive bathymetric survey of and develop a contour for a section of the continental margin offshore of South Carolina.

The bathymetric grid to be contoured is approximately 12.5 x 7.5 square nautical miles, with the longer sides running in an offshore northwesterly to southeasterly direction. The grid will consist of 15 Loran-C lines, each located approximately 2 nautical mile apart, beginning at the junction of line 7980-Z-59960 and line 7980-Y-45161, running along line 7980-Z-59960 to line 7980-Y-45080, then running back and forth along “Z” lines at 5 microsecond delay intervals to terminate at the junction of line 7980-Z-60030 and line 7980-Y-45080. Time permitting, vertical lines will also be completed beginning at the termination point and running back and forth along the “Y” lines at 3 microsecond delay intervals to terminate at the junction of lines 7980-Y-45161 and 7980-Z-59960.
Estimated Running Time: Approx. 2 hours each “Z” line x 15 lines = 30 Hrs.
Approx. 1.5 hours each “Y” line
Reference: NOAA Charts # 11520 & # 11480.


Navigation/Weather Team: (Nav: In transit to and from the Bathy Grid)
  1. Recommend to or advise the watch officer:
    1. Determination of and recommendation to the watch officer, courses and heading from station to station.
    2. Speed of the ship [within limits prescribed by the watch officer].
    3. Estimated time of arrival at new stations and corrected ETA’s when ETA change exceeds ten minutes.
    4. Course and heading changes when required. Course and/or heading changes will be three degrees or greater.
  2. The Navigation watch will maintain a plot, on Mylar, and submit it to the Cruise Supervisor at the termination of their respective cruise leg. The following information should be included:
    1. Dates and cruise number of the plots, along with respective chart data.
    2. All movements of the ship from the appropriate sea buoy [e.g. 2CF at Cape Fear River] to Charleston, SC and back.
    3. All position determinations and type of position.
    4. A continuous cruise track line with annotations of all stations and/or towing operations.
    5. Fixes by GPS and Loran at least once every 30 minutes when under way and upon arrival and departure of every station and/or towing operation. Visual fixes may also be utilized while in proximity to charted aids to navigation.
    6. Set and drift shall be determined on each transect of steaming that is two hours or more or when on a station for 30 minutes or longer.
  3. The Navigation Log Record of the ship’s movement should be maintained continuously while in open waters. All forms must be complete.
  4. Maintain the Weather Log. Measurements and entries should be made every hour on the hour, 24 hours a day.
  5. A running meteorological data graph vs. time should be maintained continuously for the entire cruise leg. Temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, and wind direction should be plotted on an hourly basis.
  1. Navigation Watch: Continuously monitor and direct the ship's course from the bridge deck using Loran-C to determine position and plot course at 5-minute intervals. This watch will also be responsible for steering the vessel and keeping it on the survey grid lines. Date, Time, Loran-C “Z” and “Y” microsecond interval times, Latitude, Longitude, and Depth will be observed and recorded every 5 minutes on the Bathy Navigation Data Sheet and correctly plotted and recorded on the special chart developed for this grid.
  2. PDR Watch: Operate the Precision Depth Recorder on the Bridge and record the Date, Time, Scale used, and the Loran-C “Z” and “Y” microsecond interval times on the PDR recording graph at 5-minute intervals. Date, Time and Depth will also be recorded on the PDR Data Sheet at 5-minute intervals.
  3. Contour Watch: Transcribe from the PDR Data Sheets all Time and Depth data for every 5-minute interval to the special chart and overlay developed for this project. The depths will be plotted in parentheses above the navigation fix marks. When depth points are plotted, the contour watch will lie the vellum overlay on top of the grid sheet containing the depth points and begin contouring. Preliminary contouring should be done at 25m intervals. The Cruise Supervisor will decide if further intervals are needed after all 25m contour lines have been drawn in.

All Navigation Plots, Navigation Logs, Weather Logs, Meteorological Graphs, BathyNavigation Data Sheets, PDR Data Sheets, and Finished Contour Overlays must be turned in to the Cruise Supervisor before termination of respective cruise legs.



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