Another interesting article by Capt. Livingstone. Ships: A Risky Business
The main point of the article is that if risk is mitigated by avoiding difficult situations then mariners will never gain good skill that they would if they have to dodge disaster.
The problem with that approach is that it ignores the consequences of something going wrong.
For example say there is a tug and barge alongside a pier on the river due to sail. It’s night time, winds are brisk and the current is unfavourable.
More than a little skill will be needed, the question is should the vessel sail?
The answer is it depends on the consequences of failure. If it’s an oil barge and the river hazards are rock ledges, than some mitigation is called for.
On the other hand if it’s a empty gravel barge an the river banks and bottom are mud it might be OK to sail.
If the river is mud and it’s a gravel barge the person piloting the tug is going to get just as good experience successfully getting the tug and barge out to sea but with out the risk of an oil spill.
Risk management requires we consider the consequences of failure.