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How to turn Risk in to Security

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Super Senior River Rat

Joined: 02 Nov 2007
Posts: 281

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:55 pm    Post subject: How to turn Risk in to Security Reply with quote

Hi and welcome to the newest addition to the “Chisme.”

Security is a touchy subject, the degree of security and risk not only deter people from visiting destinations, but in some odd cases attract them. Bungee jumping, parachuting, mountain climbing, hang gliding, spelunking all are great examples where risks are taken routinely.
Security and Risk are variables never static.

Webster's on-line dictionary defines risk as “exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance” and defines security as ”being free from danger, or risk”. This is also referred to at times as the degree of safety.

Can we ever be free from risk? Sure, do nothing live in a totally secure place, and pursue nothing more hazardous than opening a bag of chips. That does not sound like your average boater.

Whether you are a live aboard, a cruiser, or a dock dweller you evaluate risk on a daily basis, we all determine courses of action routinely and select those that are within our comfort level. Risk is a calculation, more accurately it is the probability of a set of conditions. Risk management has influenced a large portion of my life, and I am sure your lives as well.

My career before retirement was in aviation maintenance, flying an aircraft was a risk, flying an aircraft in a combat zone was a risk, recovering downed aircraft was such a risk only a few were allowed to do it. In fact the running joke among test pilots was that we were crazy. Flying helicopters built by the lowest bidder, containing components all rotating in opposite directions at high velocity and in close proximity to each other, and maintained by a high school graduate (no offense meant to the crew chiefs I valued and trusted during my career) and to top this off we did not wear parachutes. So yes.. we were crazy.
How do you manage risks? Through careful analysis of all the factors that influence the outcome. Each and every factor requires separate assessment. In order to evaluate a risk or in other words determine the probability of an outcome we need information. We hope this forum provides you a place to not only find the information you need to make an informed decision, but over time we hope that through discussion we can find better ways for you to mitigate risk.

The US Department of Defense has a methodology and breaks risks up in to categories ACAT, for Avoid, Control, Accept, or Transfer. These categories guide the user in how to deal with a risk.

We can AVOID the risk entirely, or apply some CONTROL to aspects of the risk that we CAN control, ACCEPT the risks as they are and hope they don’t become reality. Accepting them as they are is also referred to as gambling, be real sure of your statistics using this as a method. We can TRANSFER them to some other aspect of the situation. This is also known as a trade-off .

If someone wants more detailed examples of ACAT, I will be happy to work with them on a separate topic.

By the very fact that you are reading this forum, you are probably not one of those people who do nothing, rather you are someone who does have a swagger when you complete a passage, ride out a storm, or manage to anchor with nothing more than a sail because the engine quit. You take risks everyday. I would guarantee you have developed countermeasures for most if not all of these known risks. These countermeasures bring the level of risk back down to a comfortable level for you. By mitigating risk or reducing the probability of an event occurring, then you have increased your security. So security is variable as well.

So what may be secure to one person, may not be to another. What may be a risk to one person may seem very acceptable to another. The difference is usually knowledge gained from experience. We can gain knowledge from others and we have to trust them at their word. Who has not critiqued a cruising guide after the finally setting the anchor? Without knowledge these risks can turn in to hazards, or dangers which exceed our comfort level.

It is my hope that not only do people find out about the risks here, but that they find the countermeasures in order to create their own level of security. You will also find out about the countermeasures the community here has put in place.

The Rio Dulce is a beautiful place, and the Rio like many other places is also a place of risks. Buddy of SV Indigo Moon recently posted on his website, “Guatemala is much like a Bengal Tiger: fascinating, stunningly beautiful, and deadly dangerous if you enter its cage and let your guard down at just the wrong moment. “ It is a good analogy, but leads you to believe that all the other beasts (countries) of the jungle (world) are safe to pet and feed treats to. The world is full of beasts. So what may be learned here is applicable to any country where you are a newcomer.

I started out this article mentioning my past life as a helicopter test pilot, as test pilots we may have been perceived as crazy, but we spent a lot of time refining techniques, approaches to problems, passing solutions on to each other on a daily basis. I never felt that I had exceeded my comfort level but my security in the outcome of the mission was not taken for granted. I always remained aware of what was happening around me. Was it fun?... not always. Was it crazy?... Yeah, flying without a parachute was dumb… but damn if I did not have a swagger in my step when I climbed out of the aircraft at the completion of a mission. Sometimes successfully managing risks is a rush, just ask the Bungee jumper.

So jump in, have a risk you need help with, let us know, have a way to reduce someone’s risk share it.

El Jeem
Chief Gringo
Marios Marina & Cayuco Club
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Bare Foot
Super Senior River Rat

Joined: 05 Oct 2007
Posts: 465

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Excellent posting, could not have said it better myself.

The last time I was on the Rio D it definitely was like the wild west of Hollywood. Now it seems as if quite a few cruisers want to import their US life style, how sad!
Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the blind obedience of fools.

Solon the lawmaker of Athens, 6th B.C., and
Barry the delivery skipper, 21st century A.D.

JJ & Irene
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