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Crew Endurance - Live Better, Perform Your Best

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[INAUDIBLE] Hey, we're off course. Oh, god. Jesus. [INAUDIBLE] to port side. The two incidents we have just seen could have been prevented if these mariners understood how the environmental and individual risk factors that occur on their vessel can be managed. Mariners have many things in common-- long work hours, strenuous working conditions, extreme temperatures, frequent separation from loved ones, fatigue, and long service periods. This program is a resource on how to control endurance risk factors such as stress, fatigue, sleep deprivation, and problems resulting from working and living on the water. Understanding the risk factors will hopefully help you prevent these situations from happening. Crew endurance refers to a crew member's ability to maintain performance within safety limits while enduring job-related physical, psychological, and environmental challenges. Crew endurance is more than just fatigue. It also refers to your ability to perform tasks safely. Some of the risk factors which affect crew endurance include quality and duration of sleep, stability of the person's body clock, environmental stressors such as heat, cold, noise, and vessel motion, the internal state of the person, such as their current emotional state and stress level, diet, and physical conditioning. Crew endurance is important so that we can lower the risk of accidents due to human error. And this program is designed to address those issues. Address the environmental risk and address the individual risk, and to put it together in a program where we can lessen that. And we can have actually have a better performance and a better quality of life at sea. There are three critical components that help determine endurance. And these three components are interrelated. The first is fatigue, which is the decreased capacity or complete inability to function normally. More simply, it's being so tired that you cannot perform at a normal level. Fatigue is one of those underlying problems and also a foundation for many of the accidents that occur. People who are fatigued are much like people who are drunk. And they have a lessened ability to use their cognitive skills and their decision-making process. The second component that influences endurance is sleep. Sleep is important in both reducing fatigue and in improving your energy level. Sleep helps to restore energy levels. Without sufficient sleep, you cannot maintain your endurance, and your performance may decrease. Fatigue occurs primarily due to sleep debt. And sleep debt is a product of a mismanagement of our sleeping routines. Either we're not getting enough, or our time off is interrupted, or the quality of our sleeping period is not acceptable to get the rest we need to restore our energy level. The human brain requires approximately 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each day to replenish our energy. Sleep can be disrupted by noise, bright lights, or movement. When this happens, our brain spends less time in deep sleep, which is when most of the energy restoration for our body occurs. Getting less than 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day will result in a sleep debt. As your sleep debt increases, you will become less alert, make poor decisions, and increase the possibility of causing an accident. Finally, let's look at energy, which we need to perform work. Energy is needed by every cell in the human body in order to function properly. In our bodies, energy is packaged as a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. ATP is found in every cell of the body. Here are some things that each and every one of us can do each day to keep our energy levels high. Obtain sufficient sleep. Exercise daily. Eat a balanced diet. Manage stress. Sleep is regulated by our biological or body clock. This internal clock tells us when to sleep and when to wake up. Our bodies naturally want to sleep during the night and be awake during the day. Our body clock regulates our energy cycles so that alertness increases after wake up time, peaks in the mid-morning hours, dips in the afternoon hours, the post-lunch dip, peaks again in the early evening hours, begins to decrease at night, reaches its greatest lows in the middle of the night and the early morning hours, approximately midnight to 0600. The exact times of these peaks and valleys depend on things specific to your body clock, such as when you wake up, go to bed, and the amount of daylight you are exposed to. The amount of time you are exposed to bright light sets your body clock and is a key factor of your body clock stability or instability. Your body clock makes you alert in the daytime, sleepy at night, and hungry before eating. It controls your growth and many basic body functions. Energy and performance levels vary depending on the time of day. The period when levels are at their lowest is called the red zone. When we work in the red zone, we are really pushing human risk factors because we have less physical energy, less mental energy, less available energy to cope with the situation. Temperature-related illnesses and motion sickness dramatically reduce energy levels and induce excess fatigue. Uncontrolled noise, vibration, and ambient temperature prevent crew members from getting sufficient quality sleep, potentially expanding the red zone. These are examples of some of the environmental factors that impact crew endurance. Crew members trying to stay warm may find themselves with a decreased ability to focus. The loss of energy from trying to get warm causes fatigue and further reduces crew endurance. To avoid becoming cold, wear proper insulation as well as clothes that dry easily. As we'll discuss later, what you eat and how much you sleep will also make a big difference. Heat is another special challenge for mariners. Heat-related illnesses don't just occur in the summer months. Anyone who works in hot areas below deck experiences this problem year-round. Extended exposure to extreme heat drains you of valuable energy and places you at risk for heat-related illnesses. Your body needs fluids in order to function properly. Constant sweating leads to loss of fluids and minerals needed to maintain body functions and ultimately, leads to dehydration. In warm temperatures, your body needs more water so that it can continue to sweat and regulate your body temperature. To avoid becoming dehydrated, drink water before becoming thirsty. Consume at least 1/2 liter before going on watch, and then continue to drink throughout the watch. Try to avoid drinks that cause even more dehydration, such as drinks containing caffeine like coffee or tea. Rough seas and certain smells can induce motion sickness. Motion sickness usually occurs because what you see does not match up with what you feel. With motion sickness, you may become sleepy, feel like vomiting, or not be able to sleep or eat. As your body struggles to compensate, you become more tired. Eating the wrong foods at the wrong times and in the wrong amounts can also cause you to feel ill at sea. Meals that are high in sugar and fat can almost instantly induce motion sickness. The nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness can lead to lower energy levels, dehydration, and a loss of appetite. Losing your appetite might also have a negative effect on your body clock. Being dehydrated due to motion sickness also makes you more susceptible to heat-related illnesses. The environmental conditions outside of your vessel cannot be controlled. Conditions on the inside of your vessel, however, can be. Being exposed to noise, vibration, and uncomfortable temperatures can drain you of valuable energy and reduce your endurance. Constant noise can prevent sleep, while the occasional loud noise might wake you and disrupt your sleep cycle. Noise can also be disrupting when trying to concentrate on a task, increasing safety risks. Engines, generators, heavy machines, and even extreme wind and waves create vibrations on vessels. Some crew members may not notice the vibration, while others become increasingly fatigued by it. Being too cold or too hot is uncomfortable. It also requires your body to work hard maintaining the right temperature. Fortunately, temperature can be regulated inside most vessels. Insulation of all hatches, portholes, and port lights prevents drafts and helps keep your vessel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Controlling the temperature with thermostats or personal fans will help maintain personal comfort levels. Our body is naturally oriented towards working during daylight hours. However, Maritime operations often require working at night. To shift from daylight to night time working hours, light management techniques can be used to reset your body clock. Light management is the process of using light to keep the body awake and alert during watch hours and avoiding light sources to help our bodies fall asleep faster. Direct or indirect exposure to artificial light of at least 1,000 lux can shift the red zone out of the watch period. When night vision needs to be maintained, especially for those crew members working on the bridge, less intense doses of light may be necessary. Studies have shown monochromatic green light affects the body clock in similar ways to bright white light or sunlight, but at lower intensities or brightness. It offers the same amount of stimulation to the brain, 15-20 minutes an hour, as the sunlight or 1,000 lux of pure white light. A wide range of individual factors has an impact on crew endurance. Poor diet, improper use of medications, stress, and lack of exercise all affect how you perform. [ALARM CLOCK] Drugs have an impact on crew endurance. Some medications and caffeine can temporarily improve your comfort and alertness. However, these same substances can disrupt your sleep, make you tired, and decrease your performance. Alcohol is a drug that when used improperly, places the crew as well as the vessel at risk. Alcohol impairs judgment, slows reaction times, interferes with balance, and dulls reflexes. Caffeine, a chemical found in coffee, tea, some soft drinks, and chocolate, can help in the short-term as small doses briefly boost energy levels. A cup of coffee at the beginning of a watch can help to restore alertness. Within 15 minutes of consuming caffeine, crew members start to feel an increase in their ability to concentrate and focus. This level of increased alertness may last for a few hours. It is important to remember, however, that caffeine is a stimulant that can prevent you from sleeping if taken in the wrong amounts or at the wrong times. A cup of coffee within a few hours of bedtime can prevent you from getting sufficient rest when off watch. Over-the-counter medications can have a profound effect on the crew members. It's something that's often overlooked. Over-the-counter medications can be helpful if you are ill, injured, have motion sickness, or insomnia. However, if you use these medications incorrectly, then you may unknowingly decrease your performance and become a safety risk to the vessel. Drugs for stuffy nose, sinus trouble, congestion, and the common cold make up the largest segment of over-the-counter drugs. When used correctly, they provide relief for at least some of the discomfort that you feel. Some cold medications contain decongestants. Decongestants are like adrenaline, which is a type of stimulant. If you take a decongestant for your cold, you may feel jittery, nervous, and have difficulty going to sleep. If you have allergies, such as hay fever, you may use an anti-histamine. An anti-histamine is a sedative. It can leave you drowsy, unable to concentrate, and with slower reflexes. When starting on a new watch schedule, you may have difficulty adjusting to a new sleep pattern. You may try to use sleeping pills to help get to sleep. However, sleeping pills disrupt the sleep cycle for the nights following the first dosage, creating more fatigue. This can lead to addiction as more pills are taken in order to sleep. And sleep aids are really out because they're addictive, number one. And number two, they may give you too much lethargy in the amount of sleep that you need. And they may actually interfere with a proper amount of sleep. Crew members may use common pain medications for headaches, muscle pains, or other injuries. However, while pain medications make you feel better, they can lead to increased risks of injury. These medications mask actual pain. A crew member may push himself too much and further hurt an existing injury. Some pain medications may also cause drowsiness, decreased alertness, and an inability to concentrate. The last type of over-the-counter medications are designed to counter the effects of motion sickness. While these pills can reduce the feelings of nausea associated with motion sickness, the medication itself can also decrease performance by making people drowsy and unable to focus. Food serves as the fuel for the human body. Without enough nutrition or the proper types of nutrition, you may not be able to produce enough energy to maintain your endurance. Diet also helps improve your ability to cope with individual as well as environmental stressors. Certain foods act as a stimulant, providing you with additional energy throughout your watch. However, eating the wrong type of foods before going off watch could keep you awake when you should be sleeping. Large meals may make you feel drowsy, but do not lead to quality sleep. Heavy meals after we get off work and before we go to sleep are now known to be harmful to us. Most people expect breakfast when they wake up and dinner at the end of the day. Providing crew members with foods that match their watch schedules instead of the actual time of day may help adapt their body clocks to their schedules more quickly. A proper diet ensures that crew members have sufficient fuel before going on watch. Eating meals full of high energy foods helps. Foods that are high in fat and sugar can keep a crew member awake when they need to be awake. To maintain body heat in cold conditions, you need to consume a proper diet. To stay hydrated and to have enough energy in warm weather, you still need food but require even more water. The most important thing that we can do is to manage our sleep environment, to get the right amount and get a quality amount of sleep. So what can you do if you are not getting the necessary 7 to 8 hours of sleep your body needs each day? One way you can help reduce your sleep debt is taking a nap. If you can't get the full cycle of sleep, then you have to consider taking the time during your other time off, other than your long sleep cycle, to get a proper nap. Napping has been shown to be very restoring to people's physical and mental energy levels. A nap may also be helpful when changing from day to night shift or when you have several rapid shift rotations. Naps longer than 1 to 2 hours are not recommended. Another concern for mariners is jet lag. Jet lag is a shift in our body clock where we cross numerous time zones in a short period of time. The symptoms of jet lag include fatigue, sleepiness, and poor memory. This can be extremely difficult, especially if you are flying to start a new assignment and need to report for duty as soon as you arrive. You can reduce jet lag by taking some of the following steps. Try to reset your body clock as much as possible before you leave, and reset your watch to the new time zone. Avoid alcohol, and drink liquids like tomato juice, club soda, or orange juice before and during your flight. Don't go to sleep immediately after you arrive. Take a walk, take a short nap, and try to stay awake to help reset your body clock. Stress can be an accumulative factor. And small items can add up, both personal and professional. And then we all have a tolerance point, and at a certain level, especially if we undermine our ability to cope with stress on the job with items like fatigue and poor diet, we can become considerably less effective. Watch schedules directly affect crew endurance. If you are not able to get enough sleep or eat a proper diet, then you can lose energy and quickly become fatigued. Similarly, the emotional stress related to a job can lead to sleeplessness, which then produces fatigue and makes you less alert during watch hours. Captains and Mates all have different leadership styles, some more demanding than others. When you work under a strict or dictatorial leader, you tend to experience more stress than if you worked in a more democratic environment. The fear factor from working under a demanding boss can result in lack of sleep, undue emotional stress, and a reduction in the ability to concentrate. Stress arising from family life is just as distracting and likely to cause fatigue as work-related stress. If you're unable to be in contact with your family or if you have problems at home like financial difficulties, divorce, or a death in the family, you may feel your endurance being drained. If you are in a position of authority on your vessel, you have additional stresses placed on you. To reduce the stresses of being a leader on board your vessel, make sure that you prioritize your activities and maintain ownership of your time. Make sure that you communicate. Let co-workers know if something they're doing is causing you stress. Address things calmly and professionally. Use peers and associates as a sounding board for discussing work-related issues. Finally, take control by finding ways to unwind, such as exercising or finding a quiet place to read or relax. One of the best things you can do for your body is to exercise regularly. There are a large number of health benefits associated with exercise, including helping cope with or prevent diseases such as the cold and the flu, diabetes, and cancer. Reducing physical problems such as osteoarthritis, back problems, gastrointestinal problems, and leg cramps. Weight loss. And increasing overall health and longevity. Some of the different ways you can get exercise include walking or cycling regularly, resistance training, flexibility and range of motion exercises, aerobic exercises, strengthening or resistance exercises, swimming or exercising in water. Exercise is also a powerful anti-stress medicine. Results that can be derived from physical activity are you become less anxious. Studies have found that exercise significantly reduces electrical activity in tense muscles as soon as your workout ends. That makes you less jittery and less hyperactive. Your mood improves, and you are able to relax. This is caused by increasing the release of endorphins for 90 to 120 minutes after a workout. Studies show that when you exercise, you take better care of yourself, and you eat healthier. When you exercise, you improve your self-image and boost self-esteem. Now that we know about crew endurance, let's go back and review how crew members can improve their crew endurance. Being well rested is essential for proper crew endurance. Try and get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Be cautious when taking over-the-counter medication. Many medications can cause drowsiness, take the time to learn the side effects of the medication you are taking. Try to avoid drinking too much coffee while working. In small amounts, it may help pick you up for the moment. But eventually, it will affect your concentration and cause drowsiness. Having motion sickness is a severe problem at sea. Be careful about what foods you eat and stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids, especially water. Finally, when working in a warm area of the ship, you are at risk for dehydration. So make sure you stay hydrated. Crew endurance starts with every crew member on your vessel. Every day, you have many choices to make-- how long you sleep, what to eat and drink, how to dress, and how you treat your fellow crew members. These choices affect your own endurance and safety as well as everyone else on your vessel.

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Duration: 31 minutes and 51 seconds
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Posted by: maritimetraining on Apr 24, 2018

Crew Endurance - Live Better, Perform Your Best

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