This issue of Safety Digest includes lessons learned from maritime accidents.
This latest edition of the Safety Digest contains 25 articles about mariners and vessels that had incidents with sometimes tragic consequences. The sole purpose of the Safety Digest is to present the lessons learned and prevent similar accidents from happening again.
Mainly, Andrew Moll commented that when he began command of HMS York, the squadron navigator gave him some advice that has stayed with him throughout his seagoing career.
Very simply, it was to check the emergency steering thoroughly before letting go to leave port or before entering pilotage waters on the way in.
Therefore, he would make sure that everyone was in their position, the communications worked, the rudder angle indicator and gyro repeater in the steering gear compartment were reading correctly and, importantly, the secondary and local steering systems actually functioned.
As he states 'The first time we did this it was a right pain. By the time we were doing it for the third or fourth time everyone’s confidence in and knowledge of the system had increased immeasurably. When one day the primary steering system did fail as we made our way into harbor, we took it in our stride and berthed as if nothing had occurred.'
He continued that he starts with this story because this issue of the digest has many examples of accidents that could have been avoided altogether, or at least somewhat mitigated, had the individuals involved spent a bit more time getting to know the reversionary operating modes of their safety critical systems.
When things don't go as expected, the human endocrine system has a tendency to flood the body with adrenaline.
It is useful if you need to run away from a sabre-tooth tiger, but damn all help if you are trying to read some small print instructions by torchlight when the alarms are sounding all around you. So, please take the time to thoroughly learn your systems before the fur starts flying, and make a point of testing them before you need them.
... Andrew Moll concluded.
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