The right now generation and the maritime industry

The explosion of communications technologies and information exchange that I have witnessed in my short life has allowed for a lot of amazing things. I can email photos of a broken pump to the office from 100 miles offshore, and bam, a new one is waiting for us at the dock. With a $10 calling card I can talk to the therapist girlfriend from that same location offshore day or night. We no longer have to wait to get nautical publications from a store, or have an entire set of the CFR’s onboard. Instead we have searchable and electronically updatable versions of many of these publications on the ships computer.
However what troubles me is a certain loss of initiative, if you will, that can be physically seen in many mariner’s my age and even older. The electronic generation may have more and more tool’s and resources available to find and disseminate information, however many of us seem to be loosing the ability to do so on our own. A perfect example are the multitude of new threads posted on the asking very simple questions with very easily found answers. My favorite example being a poster asking how much sea time is required to upgrade from their current Third Mate Unlimited to a Second Mate Unlimited. Never mind the fact that this question had been covered on the forum before and can be found by using the search button and having a cocktail on hand. What’s worse is that the CFR’s which contain the answer are available online and in a searchable format. In fact James D. Cavo, a frequent gcaptian poster, and member of the USCG Policy Division for mariner credentialing, said of the question “We ask more complex CFR research questions on the 3rd Mate exam.” Also “Finding out the service requirements for second mate is about as simple as regulation research gets. Go to the link I provided and type second mate and the first hit is what the poster is looking for”
Which begs to question, if this person can’t figure out how to find this bit of regulatory information, How did they pass the third mate’s exam. Then more importantly how do they get through the average day at work!
So what is it? Are the current generation of mariner’s really getting less intelligent? Or are we just getting lazy? Is a childhood of “just google it” turning us into people who give up on a task after the first simple step is taken and we still lack the information we need? If we can’t find or get something right now do we assume it doesn’t exist? Before you say it I am not making a mountain out of a mole hill over one post on an internet forum. I am writing about this because it is something that has troubled me since day one in the industry. It is a problem I only see growing in our electronic age, which itself is only continuing to grow.

About newenglandwaterman

1600 Master Near Coastal, Master of Towing Vessels, and a whole binder full of other pieces of paper. You can find me at the controls, hooked up and hard over, when I'm not at home playing with the dogs
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2 Responses to The right now generation and the maritime industry

  1. lifeat6mpg says:

    how interesting to read about this dilemma in a “real life situation”. As a teacher, I struggle with this issue on a daily basis, and I wonder how my students will relate in the working environment. I am afraid that this begins to answer the question.. and the future looks dismal! jt

    • There are definitely times where I say to myself “how did he pass his license exams?”. What troubles me is I can’t pinpoint where things are really going wrong. Is it the two working parent family? The integration of technology in our lives? Are we just getting lazy?

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