Sunday, June 1, 2008

Master's Standing Orders and Kaizen

I believe in constantly looking for ways to improve shipboard operations. Ideas for improvement come in different forms of course.

As an example I had a brand new third mate on his second sea watch ever ignore the tracklines on the chart (I had been on the bridge for his entire first watch). I assumed that it was understood that the lines were drawn on the chart for the vessel to follow but it didn't say so anywhere in the vessel procedures. (My post Steaming to Bamboola) Thus # 6 of my Master's Standing orders explicitly requires following the voyage plan :
Courses, speeds and fix intervals as required by the voyage plan or as otherwise approved by the captain. This should not prevent the watch officer from taking actions to comply with COLREGS or to avoid hazard to ship or crew.
On an earlier trip I had an experienced second mate, who also was a private airplane pilot. He had been told by his instructor that the priorities in the cockpit were "aviate, navigate and communicate". With that in mind I rewrote order # 3
Your primary duties are watchkeeping, and navigation. Secondary duties are communications, record keeping and may also include other duties. Secondary duties should under no circumstances interfere with the exercise of primary duties.
The vessel procedures, including the master's standing orders, are being tested constantly from two directions. From one end it is probed for loopholes by knuckleheads like that third mate, and being reviewed by officers with other background and experiences on the other. Sometimes the weakest members of the crew are the best source of discovery of weakness in your procedures.

No comments: