Ship Incident Rate Steady Despite New Technology

Post in gcaptain about the book: [I]Maritime Error Management: Discussing and Remediating Factors Contributory to Maritime Casualties,[/I]available today via Amazon.

In the last few years research on human cognitive process has revealed the the human mind uses two different systems to “make sense” of the world. This two system approach was the subject of the 2002 book “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman - a NYT review is here.

There is an article about the two systems in Scientific American here.

The major distinction responsible for these internal disagreements is the one between automatic and controlled processes. System 1 is generally automatic, affective and heuristic-based, which means that it relies on mental “shortcuts.” It quickly proposes intuitive answers to problems as they arise. System 2, which corresponds closely with controlled processes, is slow, effortful, conscious, rule-based and also can be employed to monitor the quality of the answer provided by System 1. If it’s convinced that our intuition is wrong, then it’s capable of correcting or overriding the automatic judgments.

A Safety Management System is in part an attempt to force mariners out of system 1 thinking into system 2 methods. For example enclosed space entry rather then go into a tank you “feel” is safe you have to follow the testing steps in a methodical way, filling out the blanks in the form.

While navigating, ask yourself: “Which of your senses are you using, or what part of your brain is using you?” Just finished a course for another endorsement, where the instructor introduced a useful phrase: “ECDIS assisted grounding.”

Yes, like a radar (arpa) assisted collision!

Interesting research. It may finally quantify the problem with the overuse of electronics.

We can do a lot of things on the bridge these days without requiring thought. In fact there’s a whole branch of engineering that leverages psychology to make things as “fool-proof” as possible things like taking a gage and supplementing the numerical dial with a colored sector. It will be interesting to see how that may change with this new information.

I think it reinforces that the most dangerous thing is complacency. When your position is calculated and plotted on a map for you, when your radar tells you when to worry about someone it is easy to feel at ease. When we’re at ease we aren’t likely to question our situation.

The electronics are very good tools we just clearly need to figure out how they can be better integrated into our thought process.