How to read a Mariners Routeing Guide
There are five mariners routeing guide charts. The most commonly used is Chart 5500, Routeing Guide to English Channel and Southern North Sea. Other areas covered are the Baltic, Suez Canal, Malacca Strait. You cannot navigate on this chart.
There overall value is that they collect information from pilot books and ALRS and combine them into an area wide information base. The original source should be visited when making a specific enquiry.
Each of these ‘Guides’ follows a similar format. Section 1 shows how to plan a passage and use of the guide. It is based upon Solas V Annex 24 ; Appraisal and Planning and Annex 25; Execution and Monitoring. The advice given is specific to the charted area and does not replace the requirement of Solas Ch V and your ISM to do a full passage plan.
General rules and recommendations in respect of IMO routeing (TSS) are shown in section 2. Special rules for SOLAS vessels over 300gt are in section 3. Whilst section 4 gives special rules for vessel types such as deep draught vessels and tankers, this reflects their special treatment within IMO routeing. Other sections of the chart are:
Section 5 – Oil and dangerous cargoes – marine pollution
Section 6 – Radio reporting systems applying to through traffic
Section 7 – Reporting to a port of destination in the area
Section 8 – Maritime radio services including MSI sources
Section 9 – Radio beacon services or racon transmitters
Section 10 – Tidal Information and services
This includes a chartlet to allow the mariner to determine the actual time and height of tide at his position mid channel. Another chartlet shows the maximum strength of tide at springs.
Section 11 – Pilot Services
This shows the through channel pilots only with no specific port information.
The main body of the chart shows passage planning charts to be used in conjunction with ordinary charts. These show the overall routeing scheme and pilot boarding areas for major ports. Another chartlet identifies the paper charts available for the area and applicable sailing directions.