Maritime Wellness Institute


What is Human Performance and how does it relate to vessel performance?

When we think about vessel performance, we look at how our engines operate every single day. We look at the fuel that is consumed every single day, what route that vessel is going to take for optimal performance to get from point A to point B. Yeah. Hull design, is it the most effective? Is it the most economically friendly design? What engines do we put in our ships? What fuel do we use? How do all these elements affect vessel performance? And in turn, how does this affect a company's bottom line? What is the cost implication of the fuel that we use, of the paths that we take, the passages we take, of the hull design, of the engines that we use? What is the financial impact? And performance and financial impact come hand-in-hand. We use a number of tools at our disposal to monitor fuel consumption, vessel performance, engine performance, daily maintenance to, again, ensure the vessel is performing at its peak. However, we're all missing something.

However, we are all missing one of the biggest elements of vessel performance. When we look at human performance at sea, generally speaking, there's very little investment put into this space. We don't understand how sleep affects. We don't understand how human performance can actually have a revolutionary effect on vessel performance. How, when we focus on performance of every single person onboard that vessel, we can intrinsically affect the vessel performance. Which is then affecting the commercial benefit of an organisation that's increasing safety standards and reducing risk, all part of daily activities inside a shipping company.

But how do we improve human performance? Well, we have to understand how human performance is being affected every single day onboard vessels around the world. There's an element of understanding today as to how human performance is being affected by vessel design, vessel operation, and the standard legislation that's put into place. However, we're still missing a trick. We can still use human performance significantly to improve vessel performance, reduce risk, increase safety, increase the value that we're delivering to our clients by ensuring that our vessels are performing at their peak and completing contracts in a timely fashion better than expected.

What is human performance? Well, it's quite simple really. It's how our seafarers act every single day. We're in a fantastically unique position, where we have entire control over a lifestyle of the seafarer, as soon as they step onboard that ship. We have entire control as to the performance of seafarers. What affects performance? Much like with a vessel, what we put inside the engine affects the performance of the engine. Again, with a seafarer, how we feel and how we ensure our seafarers are performing can be hugely affected by the nutritional intake. Are our vessels maintained to a high standard, ensuring minimum standards? Are they performing at their peak? Are all the cylinders pumping at state?

Again, let's look at human performance. Are these current standards that are in place fit for purpose? Are seafarers physically fit and active to be able to perform at their peak every single day? There is downtime during operation to perform maintenance, to ensure that the vessel is essentially recovering in order to perform the next task at its peak. Again, when we look at a seafarer, we have hours of rest. However, are these hours of rest suitable or substantial enough to ensure human performance? We've had reports back from seafarers from around the world that despite the hours of rest, they're still feeling extremely fatigued. Hence not being able to perform at their peak. We maintain the computer systems, essentially the brain of the vessel, updating the charts, updating navigation systems. What are we doing to ensure that the brain of our seafarers are well maintained, and well looked after, ensuring performance every single day?


We should be, as an industry, investing just as much time and money into human performance as we are in the vessel performance, because a vessel can not perform at its truest peak without human performance operating at its peak.

To learn more on how we can improve human performance, visit the Maritime Wellness Institute. For more on why human performance is so critically important, join one of our live webinars. And to understand how human performance and safety go hand-in-hand, join us and learn more.

Human performance is just as critical as vessel performance. When we think about human performance over safety, risk, vessel operation, we can have such fantastic improvement. Think of human performance as an F-1 team. That F-1 team will be investing huge time, money, and effort to ensure that their drivers and their teams are performing at their peak every single day in order to win the fastest lap time around the track. So why should we be any different? We are out there to win the next client. We're out there to be the best operator, so we can make the most money. Let's invest in human performance, and by investing in human performance, we will intrinsically improve vessel performance.

By Andrew Cowderoy

andrew cowderoy