The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Don’t Play With Your Phone When On Watch

I think we would all agree that smart phones are seductive and, as a gadget freak, I’m as susceptible to their siren call as anyone.

Here’s a really good reminder to me, and everyone else, from none other than the US Coast Guard, of why we should not give in to smart-phone temptation:

For approximately half of the two-hour transit, the Pilot on board the container ship placed and received numerous calls, texted messages, and drafted emails on their personal cell phone right up until the incident…

…The Pilot was drafting an email on their personal cell phone in the minutes leading up to the planned turn south, when the vessel sailed through its waypoint and grounded.

If a professional pilot can get sucked into his phone like this, are we immune?

Better to have simple rules. Being on watch is just that. No:

  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reading
  • Texting
  • Games
  • Emailing
  • Or general phone-wan….

I’m not even a fan of listening to music when on watch, because hearing something amiss has saved me huge grief on several occasions.

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