Sunday, 25 March 2012


Postings have been a bit sparse, as the AM's talented wife has been sent on an international posting for four months - domestic tasks are to the fore and blogging to the back of the queue for a bit.

Having snatched a couple of hours this morning for a ride on the Street Triple, AM was pissed off to find one of his favourite 'scratch' roads had been downgraded from 100km/h to 80 km/h in "the interests of road safety". This road is three lanes wide (one downhill, two uphill to allow passing of slow vehicles), fully laid in smooth asphalt with wide, sweeping corners.

Which leads to the core of this post - rules which are culturally 'incompatible' with the constituency being controlled. AM heard a very stimulating address by Daniel Hannan, MEP for Southern England. The premise of his address was that Britain's constitution laws are founded in principles for which people had fought (and died) for, whereas Brussels created European laws founded in administrative expediency. The cultural dissonance, and general distrust of administrative rule-making, was posed by Hannan as a major reason for the UK's repudiation of the EU's hegemony.

Which segues straight to the now 80 km/h Whittlesea - Kinglake Rd in Victoria. The regulator has deemed that for the general public good, the speed limit shall be lowered by 20 km/h. The road users (observed by the AM this morning) do not believe that the lowering of the speed limit by 20 km/h contributes their safety or well being and continue to travel at 100km/h.

Another example is the urban shopping strip where the AM lives. This section of dual carriage , divided road has had the speed limit reduced to 40 km/h Monday to Saturday. This section of road adjoins a school zone, also speed limited to 40 km/h. Road users drop their speed through the school zone, but not the shopping zone. Road users have rationalised that children pose a real hazard while the speed reduction in the shopping zone is social policy masquerading as a safety initiative.

And finally, MacQuarie Airports levying car parking rates of $54 per day on motorcycles at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport, motorcycles which can co-coincidentally ride around the barriers at the exit gate. Enforce that, scum!

Which leads the AM to conclude that any rule which is not capable of being culturally, self-enforced by the constituency being controlled will be resented and flouted.

Rules consistent with cultural self-enforcement - drink driving, smoking in public places, safety interventions where someone is putting themselves in harm's way. Rules inconsistent with cultural self-enforcement - parking regulations (especially at airports), arbitrary speed limits inconsistent with the hazards being controlled and rationalised by 'the ruled' as being petty, "chicken shit" infractions.

Relating this truth to the maritime environment, it is inevitable that the latest high profile casualties will lead to more rules which will be codified into ever more bloated shipboard Safety Management Systems. A request to all Designated Persons Ashore and SMS Administrators - apply the cultural self-enforcement test to any new edict and ask yourself 'would I intervene to enforce this?'

The Antipodean Mariner


  1. Well put AM.
    There is too much worthless inane shit paperwork at sea that does nothing to enhance safety, but contributes to fatigue, cynicism and audit failing. It just pisses people off and contributes exponentially to the "tick box" mentality that occurs throughout the industry.
    DPA's need to grow some balls and go back to sea as chief mate for one month a year. Only then they will appreciate the absurdity of the Safety Management System requirements that bares their stamp of approval.
    A pissed off professional mariner!!

  2. well said Anonymous , this industry is now aimed at the lowest common denominator, any use of common sense and experience is not tolerated, glad I only have a few years until I retire