Monday, August 30, 2010

Is mobile phone usage on the bridge a problem?

Both Dennis Bryant and Michael Grey have written about mobile phone distractions on ships.  Is it really a problem?  As Mr. Grey reminded us on Clay Maitland's blog there have been several cases of mobile phone distractions on the bridge.  They include:
  • A watch officer on a bulker who was talking to his wife and failed to make a course change
  • A master talking with his agent drifted out of the channel in Southampton
  • A master of a supply vessel leaving a Scottish port in thick fog did not hear the Port Operator warning him of an approaching break wall because he was on an urgent call on his cell phone
  • A master on a passenger ship being hounded by the press on his cell phone about the engine trouble his vessel was experiencing

The National Transportation Safety Board has even issued an advisory on the use of mobile phones and wireless devices when operating vessels.  But mobile phones aren't the only distraction on the bridge.  Ryan Skinner revealed you can watch your favorite YouTube video on the ECDIS machine!

Bridge distraction is something we take seriously at Amver.  One of the reasons we encourage the use of the Amver/SEAS software is to help cut down on the amount of paperwork and reporting vessels must do in order to actively participate.  There are other ways to report to Amver as well.  If you are a subscriber to the Pole Star Fleet Management software product you can elect to have your position reports sent automatically (link to pdf) to the Amver center.

What do you think is the biggest distraction on the bridge?

Photo credit: Fotolia


Barista Uno said...

Hey, whatever happened to multi-tasking?

Seriously, the situation is worse when the fellow is texting his girlfriend and not making a voice call on his mobile. Even if he has nimble fingers.

Good post.

Amver Maritime Relations said...

Thanks for chiming in Barista. I think, like with cars and other modes of transportation, you will see increasing attention placed on driver distraction. It is common sense that drivers (of cars, airplanes, or boats) shouldn't be texting OR chatting it up on their mobile phones.