Safety onboard may not always be apparent. Research shows that workplace problems, negative team climate and unsupportive leadership behaviours, significantly increase the risk for more adverse responses to operational incident exposure.  When managing safety concerns, at times our egos prevent us from asking for help when we are unsure of the operational safety procedures.

A significant contributing factor to basic operational mishaps and fatalities is largely due to individuals either fearing the consequences of asking for help or exposing their level of competency. As such, they choose to take the risk of putting themselves and potentially others in harm’s way to preserve their ego.

In crew training, a lot of focus is on the practicalities of executing health and safety formalities correctly, however, the topics of communication, interpersonal skills and collaborative leadership are too often neglected or not given enough attention.

An example of the importance of psychological investment in training programs was demonstrated by 100 oil rig workers working off the Gulf of Mexico.  While undergoing 18 months of training these workers spent 30-40% percent of their training developing their self-awareness and building a learning culture. Here, they learnt the skills of empathy, compassion and vulnerability which culminated in increasing their confidence in admitting to mistakes and asking for help.

It was an extremely challenging process, however, the breakthroughs were life-changing – both personally and professionally.  Not only did these oil rig workers learn to identify and communicate their feelings appropriately but they learnt how to convey technical information which contributed to the business operations running smoothly and safely. As a result of the hypo-masculine culture change and the application of learnt skills, the post-study found an 84 percent decline in accident rates on site and an increase in levels of efficiency, productivity and reliability which exceeded the industry’s previous benchmark.

I cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining open channels of communication and challenging existing cultural norms. Investing in developing your interpersonal skills will give you the leading edge in the industry and contribute to creating the ultimate guest experience.

The Crew Coach’s point of difference from your average training program is that we are experienced in delivering training that is dynamic and allows for organic learnings to take place. Our training serves as a protective factor cushioning against risk factors thereby mitigating against potentially hazardous situations. It is of utmost importance that psychological health and safety plays are addressed in crew training.

Emotional norms and culture will vary from boat to boat, however, I encourage crew to take time to reflect on the existing culture on board and whether it is conducive to creating a safe workplace. The Crew Coach specializes in these key areas through our onboard training for further information take a squiz on what we offer here.