Carr: Technology Will Not Save You

By Michael Carr - SGT Homer (not his real name), fell overboard and drowned at sea. His death was preventable, it occurred due to a series of human actions and inactions, a mis-management of priorities, and a corporate culture which undervalued people. SGT Homer fell off an 128-foot ocean going tug in the vicinity of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Seas were rough and … [Read more...]

Limitations of Crew and Equipment: Almost Sinking in Ouzinkie Narrows Alaska

Life onboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Citrus (WLB 300), a 180 ft. ocean-going buoy tender was normal on Monday morning, 26 February 1979. Citrus was underway, steaming at 12 knots on the north side of Kodiak Island. Skies were clear and the weather pleasant for a February day. At 1734 their world, however, would change dramatically. By early afternoon Citrus was heading … [Read more...]

Loss of Confidence: Do You Know What You are Doing?

“Do you know what you are doing?” asked the Harbor Pilot in a loud and irritated voice. “Maybe I should take over, or maybe you have someone else who can do this?” he added, with emphasis. His last statement about someone else onboard who can do this caused me serious angst. My bridge crew heard his words. This was not appropriate I thought to myself, but it was also … [Read more...]

Up the Yukon River: This is Not a Game of Cricket

By Michael Carr - “Let's stab her into the bank and wait for morning,” the tug’s Captain finally said. “Thank God. Thank you Captain,” said the Chief Mate. They had been trying for several hours to push their 400 ft. barge loaded with equipment and vehicles bound for a fish camp, up the Yukon River at night. All they were accomplishing was running up on mud banks and into … [Read more...]

Carr: Boom Breaks and Challenge Ends

By Michael Carr - It’s difficult to describe the sound an 18 ft. aluminum sailboat boom makes when it fails under an immense load. Combine screeching, cracking, and exploding and you will come fairly close to this painful and terrifying sound. It was September, and we were broad reaching in the Atlantic Ocean, en route Newport RI from Norfolk VA. A strong cold front was … [Read more...]