3 questions for Kerrie Forster
- Why do you like the field that you work in and why is it important?
I work as a Maritime Consultant and Industry Liaison and every day is a new challenge! Simply put, maritime is an ever varying environment. From the weather, to the technology and the geography. Seafarers are used to adapting to ever changing working conditions, and that continues through my job now. Although most days I am working from my home office, I spend a lot of time travelling and every email and phone call I receive is a new challenge. In the last 7 days, I have been contacted about vessels entering South American countries for the first time, vessels re-flagging to fit customer requirements, regulatory anomalies, skills development activities, vlog and podcast filming, organising Towing assessments, new Apprenticeships, Government councils, steering groups, new seafarer certification, company training sessions… the list goes on and on, and gets broader and broader by the day!
- What do you think is the most important development in your field (and why)?
Intelligent data recording and processing. I am not talking AI (at first), but just the digital developments that have been changing and integrating into our world over the past 10 years. The ability to capture this data and then turn it into something that we can actually see and use. Data is being used in a more clever way across maritime in all sectors, whether it is manifests or stores records, deck logs, hours of work, planned maintenance systems, chart systems, data processing, safety management systems, communications, mechanical system displays and reports etc. We now use advanced data processing and display systems to gauge wave heights before they even hit the ship, show how changes in certain mechanical conditions affect vessel performance (live!), provide us more accurate weather and route forecasting, quicker and more effective incident reporting and mitigation, remote fault finding, monitoring seafarer fatigue or activity patterns, steering training needs, improving and allowing focused offshore communications, better stability analyses, new ways of working etc. Digital advancements are one of the most powerful changes within the maritime industry by far in the last decade.
- What is the most urgent lesson you would like to teach young professionals that are new in the field?
Surround yourself with good role-models. Whether it is a colleague on the same pay grade or a more senior employee, a training instructor or a family member or friend. Take a look around you and ask yourself the question “how does my relationship with that person affect me for the better?”. A lot can be achieved by working together, and a lot can be broken by very few, very quickly. Make sure the people you are influenced by the most, are beneficial to your life. But equally importantly, enjoy yourself!