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Ocean Technologies Group helps seafarers minimise onboard distractions

Raal Harris, group creative director, Ocean Technologies Group. Raal Harris, group creative director, Ocean Technologies Group.

Ocean Technologies Group (OTG) has created a new title giving seafarers advice on how to avoid potential distractions, which can lead to a loss of concentration and situational awareness.

The increased use of electronic devices onboard either personal or work related, a lack of procedures, seafarer stress and equipment alarm fatigue, are just some of the multiple factors that can contribute to crew not paying adequate attention to operational tasks.

The problem is so widespread that the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has included “Distraction” as number one in its tally of the “10 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements 2019-2020”.

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency has also published, in its human element guidance (part 3) MGN 638 (M + F), a notice to all shipowners, managers and masters warning them about the fatal dangers of seafarers using mobile phones and other personal devices when working.

The guidance indicates that “someone using a mobile devices may miss up to 50 per cent of other information that is in plain sight and might be critical.”

It is against this backdrop that Ocean Technologies Group has developed its eLearning title to help seafarers understand exactly what distraction is, recognise the link between distraction and a reduction in situational awareness, identify the common sources of distraction and learn how it can be effectively managed.

Raal Harris, group creative director, said: “It’s long been accepted that we all have a finite ability to concentrate on our surroundings and that multi-tasking can impair our situational awareness, reaction times and perception of risk. Digitisation brings many benefits, but it also gives our seafarers more and more channels of information to process. We also have our crews operating with an increased amount of personal stress and fatigue due to the ongoing pandemic. So, it is more important than ever that we are able to equip mariners to recognise the impact distraction can have on their situational awareness and performance. And, of course, some tips they can use to mitigate it.”

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