SEAMANSHIP Avoid as­sump­tions. Mak­ing a list and check­ing it twice will elim­i­nate much of the po­ten­tial for un­ex­pected trou­ble un­der­way.

Soundings - - Contents - CAPT. DANIEL S. PAR­ROTT

In 2009, Har­vard Med­i­cal School pro­fes­sor Atul Gawande pub­lished The Check­list Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. The best­seller drew at­ten­tion to pat­terns of se­ri­ous and avoid­able lapses that highly trained, tal­ented peo­ple in the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion were mak­ing. His over­ar­ch­ing con­clu­sion? If they had only used a check­list.

Ordinary folks as­so­ci­ate to- do lists with week­end chores and gro­cery shop­ping, mak­ing Gawande’s epiphany seem pro­saic. But his in­sights have saved lives — lots of lives. His point of de­par­ture is that mis­takes are caused not so much by a lack of knowl­edge ( ig­no­rance) but rather by fail­ing to ap­ply what we know (in­ep­ti­tude).

His lessons ap­ply to boaters, too. Check­lists, both manda­tory and in­for­mal, have long been part of go­ing to sea. Ex­pe­ri­ence is a great teacher, but when it in­cludes run­ning out of food and wa­ter, or dis­cov­er­ing that es­sen­tial charts, sup­plies and in­stru­ments are not aboard, the school of hard knocks is not so ro­man­tic. It is also ir­re­spon­si­ble. A check­list is a com­mon-sense tool that solves these prob­lems.

A check­list serves as an un­chang­ing mem­ory prompt when de­tail and se­quence are crit­i­cal. No mat­ter how many times you have done some­thing, there will al­ways be days when dis­trac­tion, fa­tigue or im­pa­tience in­ter­feres. By stan­dard­iz­ing our ac­tions and de­ci­sions, check­lists help keep us on track when com- pla­cency beck­ons or we flirt with the no­tion of cut­ting a cor­ner.

Some check­lists might be used ev­ery time you get un­der­way. Oth­ers might be monthly, mid­sea­son or once a year. It de­pends on the com­plex­ity of your boat and cruise, and the con­se­quences of over­look­ing some­thing.

No one can pos­si­bly pre­scribe the op­ti­mal check­list for all boats, though there is a book that tries. The Bridge Pro­ce­dures Guide by the In­ter­na­tional Cham­ber of Ship­ping con­tains more than 20 check­lists for sit­u­a­tions rang­ing from nav­i­gat­ing in ice to aban­don­ing ship. And the most use­ful check­lists may not come off the shelf. They evolve or­gan­i­cally from ex­pe­ri­ence.

Pre­de­par­ture checks are a good ex­am­ple of a rou­tine pro­ce­dure that lends it­self to a list.

Al­most all com­mer­cial ves­sels use a pre­de­par­ture check­list to es­tab­lish a ba­sic level of readi­ness. These check­lists in­clude such things as: s FLUID LEV­ELS IN ALL MA­CHIN­ERY s FUEL LEV­ELS s BAT­TERY STA­TUS s 6(& RA­DIO FUNC­TION­AL­ITY s NAV­I­GA­TION IN­STRU­MENT AC­CU­RACY s RUN­NING LIGHTS AND FLASHLIGHTS s HORN s COOL­ING WA­TER AND OIL PRES­SURE s GEAR AHEAD AND ASTERN s STEER­ING s PRO­VI­SIONS ES­PE­CIALLY WA­TER s WEATHER RE­PORTS s FLOAT PLAN s SHORE COU­PLINGS

! PREARRIVAL CHECK­LIST IS ALSO A GOOD IDEA ES­PE­CIALLY IF YOU HAVE BEEN CRUIS­ING FOR AN EX­TENDED PE­RIOD (OW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR 6(& IS TRANSMITTING IF YOU HAVEN T USED IT FOR DAYS (OW DO YOU KNOW YOUR GEAR WILL OP­ER­ATE ASTERN ! FRIEND OF MINE EN­TERED A MA­RINA ONE TIME WITH­OUT FIRST TEST­ING IF HIS EN­GINE WOULD GO ASTERN (E DIS­COV­ERED THE DE­FI­CIENCY SHORTLY BE­FORE SLAM­MING INTO AN­OTHER YACHT

9OU LL PROB­A­BLY RE­MEM­BER MOST THINGS MOST OF THE TIME ! CHECK­LIST CAN IN­CREASE YOUR SUC­CESS RATE ,AMINATE IT FOR GOOD MEA­SURE !NYthing lam­i­nated com­mands re­spect!)

/FFSHORE VOY­AG­ING AND LONG RANGE CRUIS­ING IN­TRO­DUCE MORE ELAB­O­RATE CON­SID­ER­A­TIONS AND THERE­FORE MORE ELAB­O­RATE CHECK­LISTS !T SOME POINT THE ORIG­I­NAL CHECK­LIST MAY BE­COME UN­WIELDY IF SO BREAK IT INTO TWO OR THREE MORE SPE­CIFIC LISTS

#HECKLISTS CAN BE USE­FUL FOR TRACK­ING LESS IM­ME­DI­ATE CON­CERNS TOO &OR IN­STANCE A SPARE PARTS IN­VEN­TORY IS A TYPE OF CHECK­LIST 9OU MAY NOT NEED A DOZEN FUEL FIL­TERS BUT PER­HAPS YOU SHOULD AL­WAYS HAVE AT LEAST TWO !ND WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU RAN THE BILGE PUMP )S THE END OF THE AN­CHOR RODE AT­TACHED TO THE BOAT 0UT IT IN A LIST

3AFETY IS A CAT­E­GORY UNTO IT­SELF &LARES FIRE EX­TIN­GUISH­ERS AND MED­I­CA­TIONS ALL HAVE EX­PI­RA­TION DATES /THER ITEMS SUCH AS 0&$S FIRST AID KITS AND SEACOCKS ARE OF SUCH IM­POR­TANCE THAT A REG­U­LAR VIS­UAL IN­SPEC­TION IS WAR­RANTED ON AN IN­TER­VAL EVEN IF IT IS AN­NUAL

#HECKLISTS ARE A PROVEN MECH­A­NISM FOR DO­ING THINGS THE RIGHT WAY EV­ERY TIME BUT THEY ARE NO SUB­STI­TUTE FOR CRIT­I­CAL THINK­ING )F CHECK­LISTS BE­COME A PERFUNCTORY EX­ER­CISE IN PA­PER­WORK THEY WON T LIMIT NOR­MAL HU­MAN ER­ROR ! GOOD CHECK­LIST STRIKES A BAL­ANCE )T GETS THE BIG STUFF RIGHT WITH­OUT TAK­ING YOU DOWN A RAB­BIT HOLE OF EX­CRU­CI­AT­ING DE­TAIL SUCH THAT YOU NEVER GET OFF THE DOCK

.O CHECK­LIST CAN AN­TIC­I­PATE EV­ERY CON­TIN­GENCY )F IT DOES YOU HAVE PROB­A­BLY SPENT TOO MUCH TIME MAK­ING CHECK­LISTS AND NOT ENOUGH time out cruis­ing.

A check­list will help keep you on track, whether you’re cruis­ing for a week or spend­ing a day on the wa­ter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.