Use Of Collision Avoidance Equipment Being Taught At U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

Seniors at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y., were recently given first-hand information on the advantages of computerized collision avoidance equipment by industry representatives.

At the invitation of Capt. A.E. Fiore, head of the Academy's Department of Nautical Science, Lloyd Pearson, vice president of Iotron Corporation, lectured to the upper classmen over a two-day period on the use of his company's DIGIPLOT®, a fully automatic radar plotter.

14 The demonstrations were part of the Merchant Marine Academy's Radar Observation Course conducted by Lt. Comdr. Sam Bergman, USMS.

According to Mr. Pearson, the principal advantage of automatic radar plotting is that bridge teams can tell at a glance which targets on the scope will pose a collision threat.

Where it would take one man several minutes to determine the course and speed of an approaching ship, the fully automatic radar plotter can provide this information continuously on up to 40 ships at the touch of a button.

Information from Iotron Corporation's research shows that in most collision situations the seriousness of the ships' positions was recognized on radar no more than 10 minutes prior to impact. This means that bridge personnel have a very limited time to evaluate the movement of the other ship, decide on an appropriate maneuver, and execute it.

Realizing that six to nine minutes are required to determine another ship's course and speed, and that some ships take almost two minutes to make a 40° course change, it becomes evident that not much time is available for decision-making. Fully automatic radar plotting can save up to seven minutes of computation and decision-making time, often meaning the difference between a near miss and a disaster.

Marine operators have been under increasing pressure from environmental and governmental groups to make the use of collision avoidance equipment mandatory, and it is considered by many only a matter of time before all ships of any significant size entering U.S. waters will be required to have this type of approved computerized collision avoidance aid.

Other stories from July 1978 issue


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