How to make smarter choices when boating under pressure
Every experienced boatie knows being on the water isn’t always smooth sailing. After all, there are endless variables – from changes in the weather, to equipment malfunctioning to human factors, like other boaters driving dangerously nearby.
Today, we’re delving into the five main reasons boaties make poor decisions under pressure, so you know what to avoid and stay safer onboard.
- Making good time
It’s no secret that making good decisions under pressure is difficult. Elite athletes use professional psychologists to learn how to compete under pressure, so they have every chance of success. When it comes to boating, the stakes are arguably much higher – poor decision making can result in the loss of life.
The RMS Titanic is probably one of the most infamous examples of this. When Captain Edward John Smith relented to his superiors, and exceeded safe speeds through the icebergs of the north Atlantic, the Titanic tragically crashed and sank. It’s not uncommon for captains to succumb to the demands of those higher up, and increase speeds to make time and save money. But, making good time is never worth the risk.
- Ignoring the weather
When you’re heading out to an incredible destination, and guests are excited about the adventure ahead, it can be hard to break the news about a change in plans because of bad weather or other conditions. Seeing them disappointed is tough, and can also cause you to second-guess your decision to stay safe.
This kind of pressure is common for captains, and is just one more example of how pressure can cloud normally good judgment. However, making the responsible decision is the safest move, and your guests can always venture out another time, when conditions are more favourable.
- The perfect catch
Every angler knows the thrill of finding the ideal spot, and then catching that perfect fish. But, bad things can happen when the drive for the right spot overrides logic. Many anglers have been caught out in rough seas, dense fog or hard rain, because their focus was diverted.
Sometimes, it can be tempting to stay for one last cast, even as weather is closing in. Conditions change rapidly on the water, so no matter how much your crew wants to stay out, it’s important to make the call and stay focused on the bigger picture – the safety of everyone on board.
- Sticking to schedule
One of the biggest pressures can be the ones we place on ourselves. Like trying to stick to a pre-existing plan, even if conditions have made it unsafe to carry on. This can be disappointing, but it’s a small price for keeping you and your crew safe.
Of course, having a plan is always a smart idea, as it allows you to prepare routes, timings and other factors. However, it’s important not to be rigid about them. Consider the adage, ‘plan your work and work your plan’. Especially when it comes to boating.
It can be difficult to admit, but even the most level-headed boatie can be affected by a little bit of ego. Looking cautious or worried in front of a crew can be scary, but chances are, there’s a good reason you’re feeling this way.
No matter what people may think of you, erring on the side of caution is always the best move onboard, and in many cases, could save lives. Throw ego to the wind, and do what’s safe – your ego will thank you later.
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