February 2018

As American parents, my wife and I went through the usual terrors of teaching the offspring to drive.

 

Once we were reasonably sure our youngest could drive on her own, she asked us if we would pay for her Street Survival class. We had never heard of this program, and this is a shame, because it turned out it is one of the greatest training programs I have ever seen.

 

Street Survival was the brain child of sports car enthusiast in the US who realized that, because young drivers never had driven their car at the performance edge, they were bound to fail if they found themselves at a performance edge emergency.  (Think of a young driver flipping the car while trying to avoid a deer crossing the road.)

 

With support of a number of automotive supply companies, these sports car enthusiasts developed a one day program that they run themselves. For very little money ($95), young drivers will be exposed to an effective and fun learing experience that can truly save their lives, but, besides that, the program also provides useful training ideas for other training programs, including maritime.

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Capt. Terry Ogg published a thoughtful article on safety culture and training on LinkedIn. The title is “Why it's time to deep-six our current safety culture,” but within the article he provides an even better meme: The Whac-a-Mole Safety Game.

 

The meme explains the tendency to simply hit at every possible human error that occurs and to paper it over with new procedures. Capt. Ogg, instead, advocates the cognitive approach. He is speaking about training highly functioning humans who have a desire to stay alive and can figure out how to do that regardless of the situation they find themselves in. To me that is the classic definition of a mariner: A human who goes away on ships and through training, experience and intelligence manages to deal with the natural unpredictability and complexity of the seas and make it back in one piece, and does this time and time again.

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