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    Re: A credible AIS track for the Costa Concordia
    From: Lu Abel
    Date: 2012 Jan 25, 09:53 -0800
    Especially if they are CHARTED rocks!

    I recently saw an ad (but wasn't in a position to visit the manufacturer's web site) for a new recreational boating navigation system that will automatically plot a "safe" course for your vessel.   After specifying your boat's draft (and a safety margin?), the system will automatically select the shortest course from your present position to a desired destination giving your vessel a guaranteed amount of water under her keel.   The ad didn't specify whether the system also takes into account tidal predictions which, in areas with large tides such as the NE and NW US, could affect course choices.

    I've heard of too many people who do the nautical equivalent of these airplane crashes -- they ask their GPS for a course from Point A to Point B and then don't check it for minimum depths, so this system sounds like a clever idea.

    On the other hand, I'm waiting for someone to blindly accept a course chosen by this new system rather than double-checking it.   

    There was a case in New Zealand last year where an experienced skipper (many Sydney-Hobart races under his belt) drove an 80' maxi-boat into a charted and visible reef with the loss of two lives, including his, because his chartplotter said he was 50 yards north of the tip of the reef, even though his crew on the rail saw the reef and was shouting to him that he was heading for it.


    From: Frank Reed <FrankReed@HistoricalAtlas.com>
    To: NavList@fer3.com
    Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 9:19 PM
    Subject: [NavList] Re: A credible AIS track for the Costa Concordia

    Derrick Young, you wrote:
    "I believe the term is “loss of situational awareness” would apply to this incident."
    It may. There's an aviation accident acronym that applies, too. CFIT, or, as I'm sure many NavList members know, "Controlled Flight Into Terrain". The captain here believed that he knew where he was and actively drove his vessel into the rocks. Accidents by CFIT were considered one of the major remaining sources of preventable casualties in commercial aviation back in the 1990s but as I understand it, better software, better GPS systems, and better training in these systems has significantly reduced CFIT. The maritime world may need to take a lesson from the aviation world again. If an automated voice in an airplane cockpit can issue "terrain" warnings based purely on GPS and software, then surely a cruise ship should have an automated voice announcing "rocks ahead: turn now!"
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