The Nautical Institute has today (Tuesday, 11 December) launched Mentoring at Sea – the 10 minute challenge aimed at encouraging all those at sea, and those ashore who support them, to incorporate mentoring into the daily onboard routine.
Author Captain André L Le Goubin MA FNI explained that knowledge gained through experience, and then reflected upon, is a valuable resource that should be passed on in an informal but purposeful way. “At sea, people used to train their successors, and in turn, understudy the people above them. Much has still to be taught (or experienced) on board to supplement the foundation of knowledge obtained ashore.”
Many factors have led to a reduction in the opportunities for on-the-job experience, including changes in technology, faster promotions and reduced sea-time requirements between certificates of competency. There are also many barriers to the easy transfer of experiential knowledge, including language and culture, and there is the ever-present problem of pressure of work and lack of time.
This book meets these disincentives to mentoring head on by demonstrating that anyone can be a mentor at sea and anyone can need mentoring – and that it only takes 10 minutes to get started. Numerous examples are given, based on the author’s personal experience and on his research, of how the flow of knowledge can be re-established in order to widen and consolidate the on-the-job experience of those progressing through the ranks, including newly promoted Masters. The role of mentoring in improving communications and enhancing team-building, and hopefully leading to a reduction in accidents and incidents, is emphasised.
The 10 minute challenge for potential mentors and candidates to identify concerns and practical solutions is the heart of the book. It is preceded by discussion of what mentoring involves and examples of how it could be used on board. Other chapters address barriers to mentoring, shore support and developing a culture of mentoring.
Captain Le Goubin said that the book will help identify knowledge gaps at sea and focus thought on how mentoring can address them. “We can improve life at sea for today’s seafarers, by sharing experiential knowledge for the benefit of ourselves and those who will come after us.”
His involvement in mentoring started as a young boy and continued as he progressed to various command positions and while working as a marine pilot and as a consultant. Mentoring at sea was the research subject for his MA. He has extensive experience of handling a wide variety of vessel types.
The Nautical Institute’s president, Captain Krish Krishnamurthi FNI, launched the book at a Nautical Institute branch seminar in Chennai, India. He stressed the importance of mentoring in “rounding off the competency profile” and raised the possibility of “mentoring potential being recognised as a parameter that should find its way into the performance appraisals of both sea-going officers and shore-based executives.”
He called upon his audience to take on the responsibility of promoting and effectively implementing mentoring at sea and commended the book, the latest of The Nautical Institute’s practical guides, to “all maritime professionals who long to share their hard-won knowledge and skills across the flimsy boundaries and barriers of nations, cultures and regions.”