Author: Rik van Hemmen

Not Garbage In, But Still Garbage Out

The collapse of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge will undoubtedly result in some serious soul searching by the engineering community. In looking at it from the outside, my first gut instinct tells me that there was an error in the structural analysis of this rather pretty, but really quite complex structure, while it was only… Read more »

The Bigger Idea Behind Street Survival

As American parents, my wife and I went through the usual terrors of teaching the offspring to drive. Once we were reasonably sure our youngest could drive on her own, she asked us if we would pay for her Street Survival class. We had never heard of this program, and this is a shame, because it… Read more »

Whack the Whac-A-Mole Safety Approach

Capt. Terry Ogg published a thoughtful article on safety culture and training on Linkedin. The title is “Why it’s time to deep-six our current safety culture,” but within the article he provides an even better meme: The Whac-a-Mole Safety Game. The meme explains the tendency to simply hit at every possible human error that occurs and… Read more »

In Praise of Simulators; A Simple Example

By traditional training I am not a Naval Architect. I actually studied to become an Aerospace and Ocean engineer. My education at Virginia Tech as an Aerospace and Ocean engineer was nothing more than a lucky coincidence, since it allowed me to indulge my youthful passions of sailing, flight and space. Over the years I ended… Read more »

Baby It’s Cold Out There

Maybe I am getting old, or maybe I am getting less stupid. But looking out of the aft cabin hatch for a quick run from Slaughter Beach to a ship at Big Stone Anchorage, I did worry a little about the ice building up on deck. I started thinking, “Am I nuts? Are we all nuts… Read more »

The Big Maritime Things In 2017

I have been making these lists since 2012, and so I feel compelled to add another one this year. Maybe I have not been paying attention as closely as usual, but somehow I did not see as many milestones as prior years. This should not be interpreted as gloom and doom. I just think that… Read more »

The King and His Consultant; A Fairy Tale

I wrote this story many years ago, back when .PDF readers were still very confusing to use and cell phone systems were analog. It deals with what, today, I call “hyperventilation control,” a timely subject, I would say. I hope our clients, colleagues, associates, friends, and family will enjoy it as a heartfelt Martin & Ottaway holiday present. Happy… Read more »

Thank You, Union Drydock

A few weeks ago we surveyed the No.4 Union Drydock for purchase by Bayonne Drydock. The deal was consummated, and now the No. 4 drydock is in Bayonne. By now most of Union Drydock in Hoboken has been liquidated. We are sorry to see this 100 year old company go, but, on the positive side,… Read more »

A New Approach for Determining Optimal Fleet Procurement

I try to attend the SNAME annual meetings every year. Mustering the energy to attend can be daunting, but once I am there, I realize that there are so many benefits to attending the annual meeting that the cost and time are well worth it. At every meeting I try to attend as many technical paper presentations… Read more »

Patenting and Copyrighting Great Ideas

My wife posted this picture on my Facebook page. I copy it here because the picture made me think, and that led me right into a patent and copyright approach that I have been toying with for a number of years. First of all, I could not figure out where the picture came from (who owns it), but… Read more »