Taking Training Over the Horizon

Why “Over the Horizon”? Having crewed on several bluewater sailing trips, I am fascinated with the circle of familiarity that develops around a boat underway. For long stretches, the horizon never changes, yet we constantly scan it for the first glimpse of another sail, the stack of a commercial or naval vessel, the comforting beam of a lighthouse, or land.

The horizon can also hide something that is approaching us, with intentions good or ill. Is it an overboard container moving below the radar? A ship that may not be able to see us? An approaching storm? A fair wind coming up to fill our sails again?

Attempts to see over the horizon have driven much of our technology, from watchtowers to airships to satellites. We rely on whatever vision our inventions can provide, plus experience and a touch of intuition, to give us the edge and keep us from being quite so surprised when that clean line in the distance is broken.

As it applies to training, seeing over the horizon is about anticipating what’s ahead and preparing for it, and we can do that in three major ways: We learn what we can from other sources and from clues we gather (clouds, wave patterns, changes in pressure, for example). We practice for the expected and the unexpected in the form of man overboard drills, sail change practices in the dark, and even celestial navigation practice in case we lose GPS (Global Positioning System) contact. Finally, we use our desire for a safe and speedy voyage to motivate us to not just do things right, but also do them well.

But seeing over the horizon is not just a technological challenge or a practical venture; it is an innate human desire to go beyond the familiar boundaries and explore, discover, and learn. In the context of this blog, it is an attempt to give (yet another) different view of training and technology. We’ll be looking at industry practices, new technologies, success stories, and whatever else pops up on the radar.

So join me on the voyage, and let’s see what’s out there!