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Michael E. Angier

By Michael Angier

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Greater Competency Means Smoother Sailing

You've probably heard that most aircraft accidents occur as a result of pilot error. It's a fact. And it's also true about sailing. The vast majority of marine accidents happen because of mistakes made by captain and crew.

And it's no different in our quest for success. Certainly there are times when things outside of our control cause us problems and even result in failure. But most of these can be overcome with greater knowledge and better skills.

You see, piloting a boat is not really very difficult. Getting from point A to point B under fair skies and friendly winds is something most anyone with a modicum of training can do.

But what we prepare for, what we really need to study, is how to handle things when circumstances are less than ideal. When the weather deteriorates, when equipment breaks, when things start to unravel, THAT'S when your competence becomes critical. That's when your ability, your knowledge and your experience can make the difference between people living and dying.

A good skipper is a good student. A good skipper asks questions. They think about what they would do if X should happen. They drill themselves and they drill their crew. They practice man-overboard situations. They learn how to get sails down quickly. They have backups—plan Bs and plan Cs.

A master yachtsman is constantly adding to their knowledge base, his or her experience, learning to do things by rote—better, faster and without thinking.

They do this because that's what's necessary for mastery, because NOT doing so could mean catastrophic results.

Our preparedness—or un-preparedness—for our personal and professional success may not seem quite so critical. It's not a matter of life and death, but it's important nonetheless.

In order for us to fulfill our potential, we owe it to ourselves as well as those we care about and those we serve to be constantly improving our skills. We must always be learning. We must be preparing for unexpected economic squalls. We should consistently be honing our abilities.

In doing so, we bring out the best that's in us and we raise the expectations of those around us. Our confidence begets more confidence. It attracts people to us. Every crew member wants to be part of a competent team with a skilled captain.

Your industry is worthy of your study. Enhancing your skills makes your job easier and makes you more valuable in the marketplace.

Knowing enough to get by just won’t cut it. We must challenge ourselves. It makes our life more fun and more interesting. And it can make all the difference in not only the quality of the journey but the wealth of the destinations.



". . . what we really need to study, is how to handle things when circumstances are less than ideal."


"Enhancing your skills makes your job easier and makes you more valuable in the marketplace."



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Last Updated 01/30/2004