Join Date: Jul 2007
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Powers of Observation
Interesting post . . . couldn't resist. I've broken in a few deck watch officers as well, and it seems that the good ones, the ones that "get it", have good powers of observation. They use instruments and charts, but they aren't fixated on them. They're constantly, but pursposefully, scanning---the horizon, the seas, the aforementioned charts and intruments, and even their bridge team---and soaking up information. They use all their senses to assess the situation. You can't have situational awareness without the ability to observe.
Prior to an approach the observe what the wind and current are doing to other ships are and feel what the wind and current are doing to their own. They make approaches and departures look easy because they set the ship up properly and let the elements do most of the work.
To a degree, these powers of observation can be taught, but a person has to be willing to learn how to learn. Human performance gurus are now trying to come with measures for a person's situational awareness. Helicopter pilot trainng is probalby the best current example.