Keep a Camera on the Bridge

MarineLog passed along a recommendation that a good camera be regarded as essential bridge equipment.

Their advice:

…as a minimum:

  • a digital compact camera with at least 8X optical zoom, built-in flash and video function; camera image quality of at least 10 megapixels;
  • two 8GB or larger blank SD cards (preformatted) and checked for operation;
  • spare battery pack;
  • mains charger with ship-compatible plug

“The camera should be kept on the bridge, fully charged with an empty storage card. Most cameras have an internal clock which should be checked and set to UTC. This time-stamp is used when the image file is stored, essential when the chronology of events could be questioned,” says Mr. Harrison. (Mike Harrison of marine consultancy Solis Marine Consultants, Ltd.–Chuck)

Their focus is on insurance claims, and while that certainly applies to the Coast Guard, we have other reasons to want video documentation. Good video is useful for public information and for training. It can help with evaluating and passing along lessons learned. It can also become valuable evidence in criminal cases.

One thought on “Keep a Camera on the Bridge

  1. Video cameras and data storage for them is now so small, cheap and reliable that I see no reason why they aren’t ubiquitous aboard commercial vessels, on the bridge, and with external and internal views of any area in need of monitoring for safety, damage control or documentation purposes.

    Similarly, I’ve also wondered why commercial airliners, with their limited view from the cockpit, aren’t equipped with tiny video cameras giving the flight crew a view of engines, flight surfaces and other areas they can’t otherwise see. It is clear from accident investigations that external in-flight damage that they can’t see, and promptly comprehend or analyse, has played some role in many incidents. I imagine that both video and thermal imaging in potential problem areas like battery/electronics compartments and cargo holds would also provide flight crews useful information in addition to smoke and fire alarms.

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