9/1/2015: Safety alert – When fatigue catches up

The Coast Guard issued marine safety alert 8-15 to address fatigue as a potential causal factor in a number of recent groundings involving uninspected commercial fishing vessels.

To prevent these types of casualties, the Coast Guard recommends that owners of fishing vessels take advantage of the existing technology that can help prevent persons from falling asleep at the helm. Such technology may include the installation of watchstander alarms which sound and require silencing at preset intervals or the use of various safety and warning features associated with GPS, Radar, depth sounding and other electronic equipment. However, it is critically important that such equipment should only be used as backup measures and not as a methodology to facilitate a navigator’s sleep while underway.

The best defense against a fatigue-related navigation casualty is a well-rested watchstander who is later relieved by another watchstander that has had adequate time to sleep.

The Coast Guard recommends that all fishing vessel owners and captains learn about Crew Endurance Management, which is a system for managing the risk factors in maritime work environments that can lead to human error and performance degradation.

View Marine Safety Alert 8-15 for full details.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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