Great thread. But many tangents possible.
While riding aboard many cruise ships and watching the whole “cockpit concept” evolve the last several years, there is much to be learned about what was done right and as important, what is wrong. The errors in design by Naval Architects and electronic engineers and designers are too numerous to even begin listing here. So Deck officers do what they can, in spite of bad design. I give credit to those working aboard cruise ships that have to suffer through the necessities forced upon them, attributed entirely to bad design and cockpit layout.
In general cockpit design for ships has been mostly horrific. Have you seen the layout of most Royal Caribbean ships? Putting the Pilot aft of everyone else in the “cockpit” as if his presence was an afterthought. Placing the helmsman in a hole in the deck (literally) so that he sits down while driving, so his head is NOT in the way of the “navigator” and “co-navigator” sitting in the cockpit behind him.
Or my favorite … throttle controls so small the person handling them has to lower his head down within inches, usually squinting, to see what he has set the throttles at?! “Look at the screen!” to see the RPM’s some people always shout. I would, but frequently the glare from the sun makes it hard to see.
Long story short, how is it that those who design control systems are so disconnected from its actual use??
I rarely go aboard ANY type of ship and the Master/Deck officers do NOT complain about some piece of bridge equipment that is NOT user friendly, poorly laid out, hard to use for the most routine tasks.
Do designers even go aboard a ship and see the end result of their work? From what I can see … the answer is a resounding, NO!
After countless accidents and even more “near miss” incidents, how is it that the shipping industry continues to suffer from poor design of the basic instruments and their layouts? Its easy to see why so many accidents are blamed on “human error”. It was probably an error of design or technical or instrument related problem. But in the end, its easy to blame those handling that piece of junk, eh?
How many times do I have to keep walking on a bridge of a ship and see round dials, all the same size and type, with similar colors, and struggle to decipher which one is showing me the rudder angle, RPM, rate of turn, propellor pitch or direction, wind speed, vessel speed, etc … oh, in the dark of night even better!
It defies all common sense that any man/woman going to sea can’t agree on what a “standard” basic information instrumentation package and display on every ship should be. It’s NOT that hard … is it?