HUMAN FACTORS AFFECTING MERCHANT SHIP NAVIGATION SAFETY

Philip Dilloway

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: Introduction IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT, “When prehistoric man carved his first dugout-and got his mate to help paddle it-he created a design problem that engineers and naval architects are still working on; namely, command and control of a ship. “Like the early boatman, the capt.ain of a merchant ship wants a station where he can command his vessel and its crew, see where it’s going, and know everything concerned with getting there” [l]. In the solution of those design problems, it is essential that there be recognition and responsiveness to the human needs as well. When we speak of human factor problems just what exactly do we mean? Basically, we are concerned with man as an element in an assemblage of elements or machines. These are united by some form of interaction or interdependence which we commonly call a man-machine system. Our attention to the human element is in the search for ways in which man’s role may be more effectively utilized, thereby enhancing the overall system performance. We introduce man into the system when we have need for him to control or maintain the machine. When we do this, we create an interface where man monitors information about the system and exercises control. In this role, man is the decision maker; he causes the system to respond as required within its design limitations in carrying out specific functions. Human factors then is concerned with man’s information needs for effective control of the system. It is concerned with the environmental factors which may degrade man’s performance. It is concerned with the level within the system at which the decision making and control are introduced. It is concerned with the skills and training of the man in the system, his responsibilities, the procedures he follows, and the organization of which he is a part. So we begin to see that the study of human factors problems in a system can be quite extensive. Now let us define what we mean by navigation safety, or any kind of safety for that matter. Safety is an illusory term. We don’t measure safety. We measure accidents. So when we talk about navigation safety, we are really focusing our attention on the humane lementsin shipboard systems which have failed.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 14, Number 2
Pages: 174 - 178
Cite this article: Dilloway, Philip, "HUMAN FACTORS AFFECTING MERCHANT SHIP NAVIGATION SAFETY", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 14, No. 2, Summer 1967, pp. 174-178.
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