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  • Checklists and Emergency Response

    Checklists are often misused, underused, overused or dismissed in the maritime industry. A major part of the problem is how generic that checklists can be, and almost irrelevant. I am attempting to re-write our checklists to be more usable. Thankfully we are exempt from ISM, so this is all an internal process for us.

    At the same time, I'm involved in training junior officers and cadets, which is where I want to tie in the checklist process. I have the luxury of being able to go to sea and practice steering gear failures, man overboards and search and rescue exercises without having to justify the cost and time involved. One of the problems is trying to train a junior officer how to properly react.

    What I'm trying to create is a 'two part' checklist, and that is the checklist is broken into 'Memory' and 'Follow Up'. OK, so how does this work? Well the memory items in a Man Overboard checklist are the initial actions you should take without prompting, and which you should know from your training, but have been placed into a 'flow' so that the items are in the correct order for the bridge and commensurate with the planned manning for that vessel.

    Immediate MOB Checklist
    Memory
    Manoeuvre stern away from MOB
    Press MOB button on GPS
    Order release of MOB Buoy
    Press automated MOB sound signal
    etc?????.

    Follow Up
    Announce: ?Man Overboard, Man Overboard, Man Overboard, Safeguard, Safeguard, Man Overboard crew to Rescue Boat, Medical Team Close Up, MCR Close Up?
    MCR Standby
    Thrusters Online
    Stabilisers Retracted
    Broadcast Channel 16 ?Mayday, Mayday, Mayday????.
    Contact any vessels in close proximity to advise them to reduce speed and assist search.
    etc??.

    This is just an example, and the ?Memory? items are to be completely revised in order, and all officers should be able to repeat and carry out these actions immediately. The knowledge of these memory items for all emergency checklists should be tested frequently to ensure compliance. In an emergency the OOW would not consult the checklist for these items. I would also expect a competent officer to have already completed many of the Follow Up items, however when additional officers arrived at the bridge, or the Master relieves the conn, the follow up items can be called out and checked to determine any items which have not been completed.
    So in essence, the checklist isn?t there to blindly read through and tick off, it exists to ensure that the important actions aren?t missed. In the heat of an emergency, it can be easy to panic.

    I?d like to know the opinions of different people on this, and perhaps this system is already in use in one form or another with some companies.

  • #2
    I really like the idea of separating the 'memory' from the follow up, never seen that before (our checklists are dire to say the least). Our Chief Eng. believes checklists are only for those can't to their job, I think he's to some degree correct but for my part believe there's nothing wrong with support whether it's in person or on paper. We did have a third mate though who was unable to do anything without a checklist- very frustrating as with generic checklists not everything applies and he didn't quite understand this. Checklists are good as a quick reference but no replacement for knowledge, it would be good if people could understand their limitations as in the mate I have described and not need to follow them to the letter as circumstances dictate otherwise. Otherwise I really like the system you're suggesting, it makes sense and followed up with training very adaptable to real emergencies as well as drills.

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    • #3
      I always used to use Checklists like an aide-memoir. I knew what I had to do, but it was there for me to go through to make sure I hadn't forgot anything. For example, on a tank entry, I know what items, who and other essential bits of kit are needed, I just use the checklist to make sure it's all there and that nothing is missing.

      We used to have something similar for preparing the main engine on one ship, nothing official, just a laminated bit of card with the tasks listed. It was great thing for a first trip cadet to use to learn how to prepare the Main Engine....
      I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.....

      All posts here represent my own opinion and not that of my employer.

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      • #4
        On the QM I remember we had emergency checklists just like you're describing, and we'd have regular bridge team drills where the Officers would have to reel off the "primary response actions" before the checklist would get pulled out to check they'd not missed anything, and then go over the "secondary response actions". IMHO, that's the ideal way to do these things.

        Size4riggerboots

        Moderator
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        • #5
          Originally posted by size4riggerboots View Post
          On the QM I remember we had emergency checklists just like you're describing, and we'd have regular bridge team drills where the Officers would have to reel off the "primary response actions"
          Ah yes - who can forget being huddled around the center console listening to some Staff Captain or other on a power trip explaining for the 4th time that month how to switch into emergency steering...

          Actually S4 - I have a funny feeling that I was 1/O on Qm2 when you were there...
          Cruise ship Captain with experience on-board Passenger Vessels ranging from 5500-150000 GRT.

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          • #6
            Really?

            Size4riggerboots

            Moderator
            Blog tWitterings Flickr Tumblr Faceache

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            • #7
              If you were there with Trinity house with another female cadet then yes...
              Cruise ship Captain with experience on-board Passenger Vessels ranging from 5500-150000 GRT.

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