Thursday, April 10, 2008

Steaming to Bamboola

In Steaming to Bamboola by Chistopher Buckley the captain visits the bridge to discover the mate has made a large course change for no apparent reason. The captain hauls the ship back on course only to have the mate again make a unplanned and unexplained course change. According to the book, The captain claims the mate was "steaming to Bamboola".

I had a steaming to Bamboola incident myself once with a new third mate. Afterwards I was writing a letter of warning and I couldn't figure out what order or procedure he had actually violated. The new third mate had found a loophole. The master and the navigator create a passage plan, the navigator lays down track lines, but where does it say the mate on watch has to follow them?

The solution was to tighten up the relationship between the master's standing orders, the passage plan, and shipboard procedures. I now view these three documents as closely interrelated and dependent. The standing orders now require the mate on watch to follow the passage plan (or notify the master if unable), the passage plan defines itself as both the list of waypoints and the tracklines as drawn on the chart.

Just as a fire needs three connected points of the fire triangle, all three elements, the passage plan, shipboard procedures and, at the top, the masters standing orders, are required to avoid being bamboozled.

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