Case: Coast Guard Cutter Decision Problem
You’re the captain of 200-foot Coast Guard cutter, with the crew of 16, consisting of officers. Your mission is general at-sea search and rescue. At 2:00 a.m. this morning, while en route to your home port after the routine 28-day patrol, you accepted word from the nearest Coast Guard station that a small plane had crashed 60 miles offshore. You acquired all the accessible information concerning the location of crash, informed your crew of mission, and set a new course at maximum speed for scene to commence a search for survivors and wreckage.
You’ve now been searching for 20 hours. Your search operation has been increasingly harmed by rough seas, and there is evidence of the severe storm building. The atmospherics associated with the deteriorating weather have made communications with Coast Guard station not possible. A decision must be made shortly about whether to abandon search and place your vessel on a course which would ride out the storm (thereby protecting the vessel and your crew, but relegating any probable survivors to almost certain death from exposure) or to continue a potentially futile search and the risks it would entail. Before losing communications, you accepted an updated weather advisory concerning the severity and duration of storm. Although your crew members are very conscientious regarding their responsibility, you think that they would be divided on the decision to leave or stay.
1. What factors led you to select this alternative before the others?
2. What problems may take place if less or more involvement occurred in this case (where probable)?