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bridge watches

Merchant Marine vessels maintain a standard bridge watch very similar to active duty Starfleet vessels.  Furthermore, Department of Transportation regulations state that any registered merchant vessel must have at least two bridge personnel on duty at all times supervised by at least one further merchant line officer.
23rd century Merchant Marine bridge layout (w/defensive systems)
Merchant bridge watches are centered around the Watch Officer who occupies the bridge command chair and supervises the bridge when the Ship's Master is not present.  When the Master is on the bridge, the watch officer relinquishes the command chair, but stands by to assist the Master.  On many smaller merchant ships, it is not uncommon for the Watch Officer to occupy another duty station. such as the Helm, while also serving as Watch Officer.
The Communications and Engineering Stations are mandatory watch positions for all merchant vessels.  Helm and Navigation stations also must be present; in the mid 24th century, these two positions were combined into a single Conning Officer watch station.
Right: Merchant Communications Station
Tactical Stations only exist on merchant vessels which possess either a defensive shield grid, offensive weaponry, or a combination of both.  A final merchant watch station if the Bridge Science Station which is only present onboard civilian science and research vessels.


The Engineering Watch of a merchant vessel is closely modeled on the Starfleet design, consisting of a Bridge Engineering Station, as well as watch stations in Main Engineering.

Federation Department of Transportation regulations state that a registered merchant vessel must maintain at least two engineering watches while underway: an Engineering Watch Officer and Engineering Systems Monitor.  The Watch Officer is usually a licensed or warranted engineering officer who maintains the command watch of the Main Engineering section and serves as a liaison to the engineering station on the ship's bridge.

The Engineering Systems Monitor is typically a junior member of the engineering department who stands a watch at the master systems display for the ship's engineering readouts.  On larger merchant vessels, a third member of the engineering watch team (known as the Sounding and Security Rover)  physically tours the ship's engineering spaces during a watch, taking hands-on readings and maintaining an hourly systems status log.


The Communications Watch, considered one of the more important watch stations onboard a merchant vessel, is divided into two watch stations: the Bridge Communications Station and the Watch Radioman.

Apart from the communications station on the ship's bridge, which provides communications information to the underway command watch, the Watch Radioman is stationed in the ship's Transceiver Array Control room, which monitors both the subspace radio and conventional transmitter operations. 

Communications watches are typically six to eight hours in length, rotating through qualified personnel for twenty four hour coverage.

Scientific WATCHES

Scientific watches are unique specifically to civilian science vessels and are maintained in shipboard science labs while a vessel is underway.  The two primary science watches are that of Lab Watch Officer and Lab Watch Supervisor

The purpose of these two watches being to provide 24 hour manning of scientific laboratory spaces for the monitoring of experiment modules, sensor data, and other tasking as may be ordered by the Bridge Science Station.


An Inport Duty Section is maintained onboard most merchant vessels when the ship in question is docked at either a shipyard, spaceport, or starbase where some internal operation of the vessel must still be maintained.  This is separate from a "Lay-Up Status" which occurs when a vessel is completely powered down and the entire crew disembarks.

When a merchant vessel stands up a In-Port Duty Section, approximately one third of the crew remain on-board as Duty Section members - for lengthy periods of in-port time, the ship's crew rotates through three or four Duty Sections, in much the same manner as a regular Starfleet vessel. 

The Duty Section is headed by a Duty Section Chief, most often a licensed or warranted merchant officer, and is assisted in maintaining the vessel by several In-Port Department Heads.