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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Do I need a reality check?

It is easy to sit here at my office and have comments on other persons risk taking and I really try not to judge peoples actions. I want to be constructive and help to improve safety and security work further. But off course also I wonder “what would I’ve done” or “how would I’ve reacted” when hearing stories from the real world outside my office.
After now spending a couple of weeks at sea with loved ones and captain of the boat (both sail and power boats) I now have some resent empirical actions and events to reflect upon. Doing this I can see that reviewing my own vacation risk management at sea meets many of the same challenges as I meet in my regular research such as:
-          What is/was the probability of the occurred events,
-          what is “inventible” and what is a result of my own actions and choices, and
-          I don’t really have good documentation on what actually happened.
But I can also recognize the tradeoffs I do between risks and rewards especially in my choices of anchoring places (as we do it in Sweden with the stem towards land and anchor at the stern).
The rewards is to get to beautiful places on small islands without other boats and people and the risk is the shallow waters with a lot of rocks below the water surface in combination with at times challenging wind and weather.
To the left chart over typical waters for secluded mooring and below to the right the rewarding tranquility that the efforts and risk can lead to.

In hindsight I see my preparations in the form of a daily risk analysis were I actually consider applied scenarios and possible consequences including probabilities and beforehand define suitable risk control options with contingency plans as well as things that are risk drivers that I should not do. So far it has been working!
And when analyzing the groundings I’ve seen this summer (by other boats) it is clear they all have common aspects:
-          The skipper is somewhat unfamiliar with the situation
-          Something small happens (incident A) that interfere with the intentions
-          The actions taken to fix incident A are ”effective” in regards to that incident but creates other bigger problems (the actions are risk drivers)
-          The skipper loses control over the situation
But luckily the consequences are small even though the event is embarrassing for the skipper and crew.
I can at least draw one conclusion: A big percentage (more than 50%) of the groundings I see every year (by vacation boaters) could be eliminated with a risk aware planning which only would take minutes.
If I had more time I would do a research paper on this!

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