New Book Highlights Human Performance Limitations


By MarEx 2015-11-15 15:31:01

The Nautical Institute’s latest book, Human Performance and Limitation for Mariners, builds on a concept first introduced in the aviation industry that was responsible for a massive reduction in accidents. 

Launching the book in Manila on November 13, Captain Robert McCabe FNI, the Institute’s President, said it will give mariners insights into physical and psychological difficulties they may face.
“In aviation the concept of human performance and limitation has been credited with great advances in safety,” he explained.  “Pilots came to understand the realities of human limitations and their implication for delivering consistent overall performance.  This publication will help seafarers to benefit from those advances.

“Although we seek to learn and benefit from these lessons out of the aviation industry, we recognize two major differences with the maritime industry,” continued McCabe.  “First, on vessels, we are subjected to different motions and effects such as noise, heat and vibration. The second, and more significant difference that this book describes is the ship is home for our maritime professionals for many months at a time. There are challenges to life on board, including living in a multicultural environment.” 

One of these challenges is fatigue, which is often implicated in casualty reports. “This book sets out exactly what is going on if mariners face fatigue and the dangers it can put them in. It has been written to help individuals gain an insight into physical and psychological traits and help mariners understand the limitations of their bodies and minds in this special environment.

“These insights will help to protect mariners and ensure that they are able to contribute effectively to the special team that is the ship’s crew,” says McCabe.

There are practical examples of human performance limitations in the book, from explaining the effects of fatigue to the time it takes eyes to adjust to the change from light to dark – particularly crucial for reading the bright displays on bridges. 

“If this sounds intimidating and technical, then I can assure you it shouldn’t be. The book’s style is personal and written in seafarer language,” added McCabe.

All crew members have a part to play in the safety and commercial success of their vessels. Crews are responsible for the lives of all those on board, for millions of dollars of company assets in the form of the ship itself, hundreds of millions of dollars in cargo value and billions of dollars in terms of liabilities and environmental impact. 

All mariners need to be aware of how to protect themselves physically and mentally and to make the best use of their physical and mental abilities to manage modern ships in what is an increasingly complex and dynamic maritime environment, says McCabe.

Human Performance and Limitation for Mariners is available from The Nautical Institute ISBN: 978 1 906915 34 6