Last year, I was inbound to a port-that-will-remain-nameless, with the local pilot at the conn. As we maneuvered up a winding channel, the channel curved to port, yet the pilot ordered starboard rudder as we approached the next turn. Our 3rd officer, who had been onboard for over two months already and well-drilled in bridge resource management theory piped up and said, “Mr. Pilot – the channel goes to port, why are you using starboard rudder?” The pilot responded by glancing at the rudder angle indicator and out the window. He then turned and told the helmsman, “Midships,” followed shortly by, “Port 20.” The pilot then turned, smiled at the 3rd officer, and said, “Thanks.”
That answer may be familiar to enclosed space victims.
The air we breathe consists of several major components. Oxygen, critical for human life makes up about 20.9% of that air. That majority of air is made up of nitrogen – close to 78%! The remaining 1% largely consists of argon (~0.93%) and carbon dioxide (~0.04%). It doesn’t seem that much could go wrong with this atmosphere, but taking away critical components or adding toxic substances can kill us in an instant.
Let’s talk about near miss reporting. If there is a subject sure to get eyes rolling and profanities muttered under people’s breath in the maritime industry, it’s the topic of near misses and their reporting. Near misses, near miss reporting systems and accident investigations are of great interest to me and in my humble opinion, should be of great interest to mariners as a group. As the readers start rolling their eyes and muttering under their breath, the prevailing thought is likely, “WHY?!” The answer is something I say quite often, “I’d much rather learn from someone else’s mistakes or near misses than make them myself.”
Then again, as colleague of mine will often say, “Sometimes you have to realize that your purpose in life is to be a cautionary tale for others.”
It’s up to you to decide which path you might follow.