Another disagreement I have with the article is the assumption that “risk management” is something new. It’s not, mariners have been doing risk management since man first went to sea.
Using the more general term “risk management” and calling heavy seas and fog “risk factors” does not change the simple good seamanship of recognizing risk and doing something about it. The only thing that changed is the use of more generic language to describe what is happening.
This is from the article.
There is some discussion that suggests overall risk can be managed, almost entirely, by changing the philosophy of how work is accomplished. ‘Management’ is the key word in this argument for reducing risk in marine transportation. The focus moves away from professional skill and toward overall managing risk through strict control. The basic concept is to simplify actual maneuvers and keep from doing work that has higher risk, thus reducing risk.
Following along this line, individual evolutions are canceled if elevated risk (wind, fog, etc.) is determined to exist. Upon initial reflection this seems to have merit, if the situation is more closely controlled through management, it would seem to follow there would be a reduction in risk. This has appeal and there is no shortage of proponents for it.
Calling off boat operations when the swell works up or putting out extra anchor chain when the wind increases, taking more frequent fixes in restricted waters are all examples of risk management. Nobody believes that taking standard precautions somehow eliminates risk.
Experienced mariners need to be able to communicate how they think about risk. It is helpful to have the language and terms such as “risk management”, “risk factors” and “mitigation” to communicate to less experienced mariners and shore-side staff how risk affects shipboard operations.