Best Practice – An error corrected


Whilst under pilotage an error by the helmsman is picked up by both the pilot and the bridge team.

What the Reporter told us:

Recently, whilst piloting an inbound vessel, I gave a helm order of Port 10. The helmsman responded, “Port 10”, but only put 5 degrees of helm on. This was immediately noticed by myself and the master, and in order to rectify the matter I said, “Port 10” and pointed at the rudder angle indicator. The master also corrected the helmsman at which time the helm was adjusted to Port 10 and the helmsman apologised.

CHIRP Comment:

This is a very simple example but is worth highlighting since it shows that we also receive examples of good practice with a pilot and bridge team working in harmony.

We often talk about the importance of “closed loop reporting” when discussing communications.   Repeating back an instruction (or in this case the helm order) so as to ensure that the message has been clearly received is very important. The underlying lesson therefore is always to double check by an independent means. Here, the bridge team did so, since both the master and pilot noticed the error and corrected it.

CHIRP also notes that the language being used is important – are both parties speaking in their native or second language and are the orders being given in “standard marine vocabulary”? These are important factors to take into account when considering the closed loop communications cycle.


Report Ends……………..