Relieving the bridge watch is a formal process deeply rooted in naval custom. Details vary, but certain steps are always present: Make a round through the ship to determine material condition, capabilities, and any limitations. Review logs from the previous watch to identify significant events. Ensure that orders and guidance to the watch are read and understood. Evaluate the navigation and tactical picture to identify present and future challenges.
The bridge-watch relief process is a fitting model for preparing the oncoming 154-foot Sentinel-class fast-response cutter (FRC) to relieve the offgoing 110-foot Island-class cutter (110) of the wide-ranging, complex duties carried out by the Coast Guard’s patrol-boat fleet.
The Island class has stood a taut watch over three dynamic decades and established a legacy from Alaska and the mid-Pacific to the Persian Gulf. The FRC is a more capable, next-generation platform that will confront even greater challenges and redefine the patrol boat’s role in the Coast Guard fleet.