Prepare for Engine Failure

2014-12-25-contingency.jpegYou can't anticipate everything, but there are some risks to your business that you have to understand and anticipate.

Recently, my boat lost its power just as I had hit the ocean coming out of Fort Lauderdale. I have three outboard engines and they all shut down. I was in pretty rough seas and according to my best judgement had about 25-30 minutes before i would be drifting into rocks and/or into the channel used by container vessels and cruise lines to come in and out of Port Everglades Harbor. Not good.

I was prepared. I got a lifejacket and the life-raft just in case. I pulled out the emergency checklist i keep at the helm (laminated) and hailed the tow service we subscribe to. I had all the information at hand to efficiently hail and to communicate my identity, my vessel, my location. I lowered the anchor (although in those seas I wasn't sure it would hold but it would slow the drift).
While electronics did not fail, I had my manual GPS and VHS radio by my side.

Within 15 minutes, I was safely being towed in.

While I couldn't anticipate the exact circumstances, I know enough about the business of boating that I was prepared for a full engine and electronics failure. (and i was as prepared as could be in case that failure led to having to abandon the boat) That preparedness avoided disaster.

Understand what your equivalent to my engine and electronics failures are. Understand your worst case scenarios. Don't let them consume the tenets of your business, but understand what can jeopardize your business and understand the framework of the actions you would need to take. Often, action required has to happen quickly and deliberately.

Your business risks can take many shapes - labor (strikes), natural disasters (volcanic ash, tsunamis, floods..) economic/government upheaval (evacuations), or they can be major business assumption disruptions.shocks.

Take time in your planning to discuss scenarios with your team. Create awareness. Make it part of your business.