Applied Cognitive Task Analysis (ACTA) of marine piloting in a Swedish Context

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Cecilia BerlinGesa Praetorius

Abstract: Modern-day marine pilots are a competent and experienced workforce. They are highly skilled navigators that support the merchant fleet in transiting through challenging sea areas and rivers, as well as in the navigation in and out of ports. In this study, Applied Cognitive Task Analysis (ACTA) was used to pursue a deeper understanding of expertise and tacit or procedural knowledge that experts rely on and exhibit, mostly in safety-critical situations. ACTA is a structured interview method, which relies on three distinct phases: a task diagram, a knowledge audit and a simulation interview. In this article, results from the first two interview steps are presented to show the intricate complexity of pilotage and building blocks of expertise within marine pilotage. A total of eight experienced pilots from two different port areas in Sweden were interviewed. The results show that there are large differences in how pilotage is conducted in the two areas with regards to both tasks, knowledge and understanding of the service as such. Further, despite recognizing maneuvering as cognitively demanding, the pilots emphasized social skills and learning on the job as key elements of expertise. Conclusions drawn from the ACTA structure highlight the mentally and socially complex task that piloting is, and that the pilots use great discernment and acuity when processing verbal and non-verbal input, as well as physical human and vessel movements.

Keywords: Maritime Human Factors, Applied Cogitive Task Analysis, Pilots

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003856

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