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Movies don’t adequately cover the horror of bad ship navigation. A good crew can minimize a lot of the most common mistakes. But the bulk of professionalism is a team effort, especially when you factor in unavoidable accidents. In this situation, the best maritime accident attorneys in town may be your only hope in a hard case. Before it gets to that point, try to avoid putting your crew in a bad situation.
1. Radar Is Your Friend
Radar is not meant to completely remove navigation responsibilities. Use it to enhance your responsibilities, but not replace them. A radar system is not perfect and is prone to misunderstandings – just like in normal conversations. In an emergency situation, making a snap decision can put your entire ship in jeopardy. Processing information is just as important as the speed at which it comes in. To avoid being the cause of a major shipwreck, you should respect the limitations of technology in day to day operations.
2. Always Verify Data
One of the rules for successful ship navigation is to verify all data visually. If the radar says one thing, you still have to get visual confirmation before it is an actual threat. Radar mistakes also extend to radio communication between vessels and local law enforcement. A misunderstanding in this situation will cost you money, and wasted time. In a worst-case scenario, you could be the defendant in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit. If the lack of visual confirmation is the cause of the accident, you are in a losing position from the start.
3. Is Your Safety Management System Intact?
A safety management system extends beyond the equipment and is drenched deep in the protocol. When too many workers skip steps, the entire system is void. Crewman and officers have to keep a clear mind when dealing with repetitive tasks. One skipped regulation endangers all of the safety management, even if it improves productivity. If a future lawsuit requires going over your log, it is good to have a long record of utilizing the safety management system to its fullest extent.
4. Use Experience Over Educated Guesses
Accidents involving buoys happen more often than they should. It takes an experienced worker to assess all variables and to avoid common mistakes. In tight situations, a lack of concentration does not have to lead to fatal mistakes. A simple thing like a different colored buoy should not stump you during work hours. If it does, then sleep deprivation or work fatigue could be the primary cause of an accident. Unfortunately, this is still not a good excuse for bad navigation.
5. Keep the Rudder Angle Monitored
When the rudder angle is incorrect during a long chain of commands, it is due to a lack of communication. Depending on the situation, timing may not allow a correction to avoid collision with foreign objects. Workers that misunderstand orders in tight situations need to immediately ask for clarification before taking action. The sheer size of a large boat makes it impossible to immediately change directions when the rudder is facing the opposite way.
Navigating anything on water requires a well-oiled machine of leadership, capable workers, and a good system from the company. When all three of these are in sync, good things will happen. But even when accidents are on the horizon, a maritime attorney is only a phone call away.