The Johnson Curve

Each and every time you set out on the water there is the chance of something undesirable happening. Safe Boating is a constant duty that is extremely important to be achieved by experience and proper application of training.

There are basically 3 levels of Risk when it comes to vessel operations, regardless of your location and type of boat you are in charge of. This premise also incorporates the use of advanced marine electronics versus more of a visual method of directing the vessel. A comparison that needs to be understood adequately by anyone in charge of navigation and controlling the movement of a watercraft at all times.

The first is the GREEN sector to the left of the gauge, the beginning of the curve. Calm weather and smooth water, all systems functioning as designed, voyage plan being followed, the driver at the helm is capable and properly trained. Main method of piloting is visual reference, also utilizing GPS charting on a Multi-Function Display, practicing with other sensors if equipped to learn how they operate and in preparation for any scenario. Situational Awareness at high levels.

Second in line on the curve is the AMBER sector, positioned in the middle. It signifies the norm when it comes to boating. Seldom is the water surface completely smooth, weather causing some of the disruption, increasing traffic requiring more alert operation and risk assessment. This is where some boaters get complacent and unwanted events frequently follow. Recognizing the actual colored zone you are in on the curve is half the battle and will alert you to be increasingly aware of your surroundings and act accordingly. The use of advanced electronics is more pronounced. Decisions for safe navigation and collision avoidance are weighed more using this technology. Problem sometimes is that there is a lack of training or familiarity with the advanced sensors resulting in misinterpretation of the data. Situational Awareness is at moderate levels.

The last segment of the curve is ORANGE in color. Conditions for Safe Boating are greatly reduced due to restricted visibility, mechanical failure, injury, grounding, boats in close proximity, and other operational issues that could arise. This is where USCG license and Safe Boating training comes in handy. There should always be other methods of navigation in order to verify information and execute proper decisions to safely move on the water. Advanced navigation, communication electronics are used and relied upon almost exclusively, especially Radar if available. First action should be to slow down, don life-jackets, stop if necessary, to further assess your situation. Understanding the Rules of the Road is the key to reducing risk in this adverse environment. Situational Awareness is extremely difficult and at the lowest level.

To successfully operate in the last part of the curve will require concise attention to detail without distractions. Crew, even passengers, should assist where able or assigned. Always remember to plan, prepare for the eventuality you will encounter this scenario if you enjoy boating. Preparation instead of reaction is always the best way to counteract and avoid these situations. If you want to know more then contact me to discover how to expertly prepare for

...The Johnson Curve

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