Piloting to me seems to be an artful balance between managing a combination of experience, intuition, with a raft of decision support tools. While the accurate flow of critical information to the Pilot; Heading, Rate of Turn, Position is essential, the ability to "feel" or anticipate of where/when a turn needs to commence be adjusted, or corrected comes from years spent on a bridge.
My observation is that the Pilot is bombarded with competing data streams from AIS, ECDIS, RADAR, Gyros, but the problem is, where is the "truth" in all this tech, and what "truth" can be relied on for decision making? What I found interesting was that when confronted with information from a multitude of sources, the Pilot referred to the equipment that he brought with him when he boarded the vessel. The equipment that he set up on the bridge wing, and the display, on which he planned his transit.
The "truth" came from our little box of technology. Really pleased that it was relatively calm as I climbed back down the Pilot ladder still buzzing from the experience, as we made our quick blast back to Auckland. A few hours spent watching and asking questions, definitely a satisfying practical learning experience.
This article has been written by Dale Marsh who is Sales, Marketing & Business Development manager at Navicom Dynamics. He can be contacted here