Navigation safety: a quick-reference mobile app to learn the ColRegs NavLights and Shapes
Costa Concordia Photo Credit: Europa Press on Flickr
As we approach the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic this April, safety at sea remains a topical and important subject that will no doubt dominate the syllabuses of nautical qualifications like the RYA coastal skipper, day skipper and the fast track courses that exist for a growing number of professional skippers.
You know the fear
Those who have skippered at sea know the paralysing effects of an impending collision. Planes, trains and automobiles all crash and collide, yet sea collisions feel different. Somehow, they seem to happen in slow motion and that’s what makes them so tragic: a sense that they could be avoided.
The Costa Concordia is one such an example of an accident in which the fear that gripped the skipper was such that it stripped Captain Schettino of his ability to make informed, rational decisions. The man is well trained and experienced, yet the collision that unfolded before him and his crew paralysed him completely.
More operators, more skippers, more courses, more dangers; shorter, tougher exams
The rapid expansion of commercial boating in the last decade coupled with the increasing demand for qualified skippers and crew has resulted in training centres running faster track courses and qualifications. On such courses, skippers are under immense time pressure (sometimes online 16 weeks) to get the knowledge. On these courses trainees struggle to learn the collision rules, forcing examiners to mark down heavily on poor knowledge or lack of application of the rules.
The need for more navigation safety
The need for greater vigilance and regard for safety at sea is underlined in the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) Safety Digest 1/2011 where poor application and knowledge of the COLREGS (cases 2 and 19) reinforces the need for greater knowledge and application of the rules.
ColRegs, navigation safety and why Safe Skipper published the Colregs NavLights & Shapes mobile app
Navigation Safety is based almost completely on the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (Colregs).
Knowing that the ColRegs are difficult to learn and to put into practice we set about developing Colregs NavLights & Shapes, the first in a series of easy-to-use learning and reference tools to help skippers and crew develop a more instinctive knowledge of the rules.
For a video demonstration of the app click here.
What users say about the ColRegs NavLights & Shapes mobile app
We’re delighted with the rapid wide-spread adoptions and endorsements we’ve received from instructors and skippers alike in what is now over 35 countries including the UK, Australia, the United States, China, Canada, Russia, Panama, New Zealand, Qatar, Turkey, Sweden the Falkland Islands.
The feedback we’ve received sums up the benefits of the app:
– ”Very easy to use, wish I’d had this when I was doing day skipper!”
– ”….excellent graphics, really first class clean design and accurate info…”
– ”Beautifully produced and very simple to use, a cool learning tool”
– ”Good app for anyone to use, especially when you are training for a Yachtmaster or Boatmaster etc.”
– “Much easier than flip cards”
Mobile versus traditional print based resources
As the world goes mobile, our vision is that Safe Skipper apps will sit comfortably alongside other formats and help skippers and their crew feel more confident on the sea but one advantage the mobile app has over conventional sources of information like almanacs, flip cards and books, is that it can be opened instantly, anytime, anywhere on a mobile device (iPhone, iPod Touch, Android phone) and without a mobile or internet connection.
Our next app in the series is Colregs Rules Of The Road.