Situation Awareness and the Decision-Making Process in a Dynamic Situation: Avoiding Collisions at Sea

This study examines the impact of situation awareness (SA) on decision making by new watch officers in a simulated interaction situation. The watch officer trainees on a simulated ship bridge were shown an ambiguous interaction situation in which they could choose among several actions. The results showed that major variables of the decision-making process are the interpretation of the rules and anticipation of the other vessel's intentions. Level 1 SA (perception of the elements in the environment) tends to be of secondary importance in decision making. Four different trainee "profiles" emerged. The main difference between them lies in the distance at which they decided to change course, the direction of this maneuver (port or starboard), the way in which they interpreted the other vessel's intentions, and whether the trainees referred to the rules. Of the trainees, 55% performed a maneuver that was against regulations, and 34% did so in an unsafe manner. This finding suggests that the training course should put more stress on recognizing ambiguous interaction situations and choosing the appropriate reaction.


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  • Accession Number: 01104467
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 17 2008 9:24AM