Let me say that the Navy does many things right, and trains people in an amazingly short time to do complex jobs fairly well. The heavy procedural compliance allows this to happen, but we cannot be naive and think major problems do not exist in the seamanship, navigational and watch standing practices of naval vessels, especially compared with European navies and the merchant marine.
I love the Navy, and again have experience as both a naval and merchant marine officer. I believe in some hard truths to make us better, and will play devils advocate and explain some below.
Let me touch on training and experience first. Problem number one for the OODs is there are too many on a naval vessel trying to qualify. Too many to push through the PQS process, and depending on what phase the ship is in, the schedule may not be conducive to anything more than "talk throughs" on line items in the PQS. Yet SWOs still get qualified, and many with too little experience. Fallacies persist in this training, as rumors get passed down from trainer to trainee, and is believed to be truth, but instead may be false. One example I noticed being taught was "always maneuver for a vessel CBDR (constant bearing decreasing range), with no account on ROR or who was the stand on. The assumption was when more than one vessel was present (not even involving risk of collision), ROR didn't apply! This was passed on as fact. Pride can make it hard for some in the fleet to acknowledge fallacies.
Just imagine, a ship nearing deployment, with twelve first tour junior officers (JOs) onboard with maybe four weeks total underway time split between all twelve of them to get qualified. Also, they have had hardly any formal training before this. Basic Division Officer Course (BDOC) may scratch some rules of the road and basic conning, and they did what they could while on the ship for training and line items (PQS), and thats all they got! The ship has to get underway and has to have watch standers. The second tours come from various back grounds. Some with plenty of good experience, some with little! The Navy does a great job with the little training, but it can be little!
Do these officers standing OOD understand much about interacting with VMS (ECDIS), AIS, and ARPA? Not in my experience. (except for LCS sailors, as they go through a pretty extensive pipeline and simulators, learning how to use bridge equipment intimately, and are mostly taught by merchant mariners).
Why so many JOs on the ship? Attrition is the answer! They need that many because most get out or transfer, and only the remainder end up department heads (DH). These people may not even really have an interest in learning about SWO life and being a mariner, but simply want to check the boxes off to move on quickly.
What kind of experience now does the DH have? It depends, but it could be very little. They no longer stand bridge watch, eventually move on to shore tours, then maybe come back as an XO then CO.. again, with questionable experience.
Now just for one example I have seen, the OOD argues with a JOOD for them to conduct a moboard on a situation involving three vessels. The OOD grows agitated as the situation becomes worse and the JOOD could not complete said task. Per standing orders, he believes he needs to provide a contact report to the CO, but is not sure based on the incomplete mo board. He scribbles some stuff down with a grease pencil on a laminated cheat sheet for the contact report, and eventually calls the CO. Much time has passed, and one vessel changes course during the contact report, making the contact report irrelevant as the situation has changed. More time has passed... Another officer not even on watch, seeing the problem, finally gave a recommendation and the situation was adverted. One simple look at the ARPA vectors could have made the solution clear. Instead, it was a fiasco for something simple. Why? Lack of experience, training, and knowledge of the equipment. Same with the Porter. I sat in a simulation with audio overlay, and a quick glance of equipment, verifying with what I saw out the window, and I could easily asses the situation.
I would also argue that since 2000, there has been many groundings, collisions, and allisions due to a lack of proper seamanship. Take the USS Antietam not putting enough anchor chain out to even reach the bottom. The chaos on the USS Porter bridge, or the USS Port Royal missing a turn as a few examples. There is a reason the professional maritime world comes out swinging when naval vessels get in incidents that make the news. Why? Because of all the near misses they see first hand!
Now with that, I will say there are great ships and great OODs out there, but they certainly are not all great. The Navy does a lot of great things, but has room to improve.