All at Sea - The Navigator Issue 14

01 Feb 2017 The Navigator

The previous issue of The Navigator about error management has reminded me to re-evaluate myself and my attitude towards errors. We navigators are well aware that we are exposed to many forms of mistake. For example, in navigation, we are mandated to use all available means to maintain safety at all times. That includes our minds and thinking – we need to be always aware of the dynamic and ever-changing condition of safety. Good error management means that to err is human, but to avoid errors is sublime. Who knows, maybe this reminder could save our lives in future.
Jason Pedregosa, Second Officer, MV Warnow Whale

I would like to acknowledge the author of the article ‘Error management: teamwork’, Captain Paul Armitage. He was my captain way back in 2004 in one of the Vela ships. He was a very good captain. I salute you, sir! And thank you for being a good training officer to us all.
Joe Ventac

I’m a deck cadet and, as I am new to this career, I have so much to learn and so much knowledge to absorb. It helps that we are trained early in our career to always be safety-minded. Safety should be a lifestyle.
Don Carlo Gerard Pastor, MV Holstein Express

Much of this issue of The Navigator looks at matters raised by the wide variety of ECDIS systems available. The Nautical Institute asked the members of its Seagoing Correspondence Group for their advice on moving between different systems. Here are some of the responses received.

"Effectively, our fleet is almost totally paperless. This does limit your ability to move around the fleet. This ship I’m on is one of 22 sisters built five years ago. The whole bridge is from one company, but the commands and view panels for the radar and the ECDIS are not the same. It’s quite frustrating at times."

"As a pilot, I encounter many different types of ECDIS without type-specific training for any of them. Some are much more ‘user friendly’ than others. Probably the most important bit of advice I would offer is to get familiar with the settings menu and where the various safety depths are input, as well as what each of those values does to the depths and contours that are displayed on screen. Seafarers often associate certain colours of chart background with different levels of risk, for example white meaning deeper water and darker blue less deep water.  It is vital that the user knows if the system is altering the background colour based on values input by someone else."

"We have found a thorough on-board familiarisation checklist to be most effective. This checklist requires the newly-joining officer to demonstrate that they can perform a series of specified tasks. They demonstrate these tasks to the Navigation Officer, and then their familiarity is double-checked by the Master."

"Even if you do a type-specific course prior to sailing with the system, you only truly figure the system out when you start using it on board. Best thing when first joining is to speak to the other officers who have been using the system, as they might have ship-specific knowledge and practical experience. It is always handy to speak to a new officer too, as they will have completed training more recently and can remind you of things that you may have forgotten due to not using them on a day-to-day basis."

We are always interested in hearing your views on the important topics discussed in this publication.
Contact the editor, Emma Ward at, or look out for the LinkedIn discussion
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