Human error has been a key area of concern for shipping as the major cause of navigation-related accidents, with 71 such occurrences recorded between 2015-2020, each incurring insurance claims of more than $10 million. Is human error in shipping navigation preventable?
new book by The Nautical Institute comes to remind how best practice in watchkeeping is the most vital asset for the industry to prevent irreversibly damaging incidents, acting as a must-have guide for newly qualified watchkeepers who take on their new, challenging responsibilities.
Authored by Captain Mark Bull, a Marine Consultant with an over-50-years-experience in navigational safety and a Fellow of The Nautical Institute, the updated ‘Bridge Watchkeeping’ is building on two previous successful editions but is now fully adapted to the new digitalized era of electronic bridge, to provide helpful tips for one of the most safety-critical tasks onboard.
What makes this book a worth-read is that it gathers accumulated knowledge on every aspect of safe navigation: Starting from fundamental navigational principles, including rules and documentation, it moves forward to the basic principles of good watchkeeping before and after arriving onboard while simultaneously highlighting potential pitfalls in the OOW’s work and ways to avoid them.
More importantly, ‘Bridge Watchkeeping’ provides a case-by-case guidance, from pilotage and the transition from coastal to ocean navigation, to anchoring, berthing and closing down the bridge, while it also emphasizes on challenging real-life scenarios that every experienced mariner has encountered, such as navigation in heavy weather, restricted visibility, congested waters, etc.
Using an eye-friendly format with illustrations, photos, tables and signs, as well as a logical, structured order of tasks, the author then brings all the activities for the various operating conditions together in the final chapter, forming a pleasant manual for shipping safety.
All these features make the book ideally addressed to both new and experienced bridge watchkeeping officers, highlighting the simple but everlasting ‘golden rule’ of navigation: Technology is helpful but relying on a single source of information can be too risky.