Jeff Parfitt, director (maritime) CHIRP. Credit: CHIRP
CHIRP Maritime and University College London (UCL) have released a booklet and accompanying video outlining the findings of their scoping study into the impact that vision, perception, and fatigue can have on decision-making by crew.
It includes information about the limitations of the human eye, such as the fact that humans can track a maximum of four moving things at a time – highlighting the need to work with crewmates to flag what most needs attention. It also covers how we make decisions, stressing the importance of group decision making to minimise errors, and understanding fatigue and how it can make it difficult to accurately focus on radars, ECIDS, or screens.
“The research shows that simple changes such as having red lights on the bridge at night could help to [adjust] quicker to the dark light. Often when you walk on the bridge from light to dark you see nothing at all while your eyes adjust, then there is a quick exchange of information and your perceptions can be confounded,” Capt Jeff Parfitt, director (maritime) at CHIRP, told SAS. “Simple things can be taught to crew, for example that it takes longer to assimilate information when scanning the horizon [by] tilting the head up compared with lifting the head completely.”
Among the booklet’s other recommendations are making sure you have exposure to some daylight during your day to help your body clock adjust, and having a culture on board that promotes the questioning of decisions, “including those of senior crew members”.
Pending a decision on further funding, UCL will embark on a three year study into perception, decision making, and fatigue at sea.