Aware Mate Q&A

Aware Mate addresses critical safety and efficiency challenges in maritime and inland waterways transportation by focusing on improving maritime and inland waterways transportation safety through video detection of fatigue. Here are the main problems Aware Mate solves:

  1. Insufficient Fatigue Monitoring in Bridge Watchkeeping: Aware Mate tackles the issue of inadequate monitoring of fatigue among officers on the bridge during watchkeeping duties. It highlights that the existing solution, Bridge Navigational Watch & Alarm System (BNWAS), introduced twenty years ago, has several shortcomings in effectively detecting and preventing fatigue-related accidents.

  2. Fatigue-Related Accidents: It addresses the significant concern of marine accidents caused by fatigue. Aware Mate points to studies indicating that a substantial portion of marine accidents involves a fatigued officer, with estimates suggesting that 25% of marine casualties are fatigue-related.

  3. Outdated Monitoring Systems: The system challenges the effectiveness of current fatigue monitoring systems like BNWAS. It identifies issues such as the system’s dormant period being too long, allowing an operator to fall asleep, and the reset procedure being too simplistic, potentially compromising safety.

  4. Adapting to Modern Watchkeeping Practices: The project acknowledges changes in watchkeeping practices, such as the introduction of ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display Information System) and flat-screen radar displays, which have modified how bridge watchkeeping is carried out. Aware Mate proposes adapting fatigue monitoring to these modern practices.

By tackling these specific problems, Aware Mate aims to significantly improve maritime safety by ensuring that officers on watch are alert and capable of performing their duties effectively, thereby reducing the risk of accidents caused by fatigue.

It is clear that the issue of fatigue in maritime and inland waterways operations is a significant concern that affects safety, operational efficiency, and crew well-being. Here’s a consolidated overview and analysis of the key points related to fatigue in maritime and inland waterways settings:

Understanding Fatigue in Maritime and Inland Waterways Operations
  • Prevalence and Impact: Fatigue is widely recognized as a major factor contributing to accidents and inefficiencies in maritime operations. It not only poses risks to immediate physical safety but also has long-term implications for mental and physical health.
  • Regulatory Frameworks: Various international and national regulations address work and rest hours for crew members to mitigate fatigue, including the STCW Convention and the Maritime Labour Convention. However, compliance and enforcement are challenging due to the complexity of maritime operations and varying adherence levels across jurisdictions.
Technological Interventions and Research
  • Detection and Management Systems: Advances in technology offer promising avenues for detecting and managing fatigue more effectively. Wearable devices, smart cameras, and software algorithms can monitor signs of fatigue in real-time, enabling proactive measures to prevent accidents.
  • Innovative Solutions: Projects like “Aware Mate” propose integrating video detection systems to monitor fatigue, showcasing the potential of combining human oversight with artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance safety protocols onboard.
Challenges and Recommendations
  • Implementation Hurdles: Despite the availability of technological solutions and a solid understanding of fatigue’s impacts, the maritime industry faces hurdles in implementing comprehensive fatigue management systems. These include regulatory limitations, the need for industry-wide standards, and the integration of new technologies into existing maritime operations.
  • Holistic Approach Needed: Effective fatigue management requires a holistic approach that considers not only technological solutions but also organizational culture, crew training, and regulatory frameworks. Encouraging a culture of safety, continuous education on fatigue management, and the adoption of best practices are essential steps forward.
Moving Forward
  • Regulatory Evolution: There’s a need for regulatory bodies to evolve and adapt frameworks that allow for more flexible, data-driven approaches to fatigue management, aligning with advances in technology and our understanding of human physiology.
  • Collaboration and Innovation: Continued collaboration between industry stakeholders, technology developers, and regulatory bodies is crucial. Innovation should be encouraged, with pilots and trials of new technologies and systems being key to finding effective solutions to combat fatigue.


In summary, addressing fatigue in maritime and inland waterways operations requires a multi-faceted approach that combines regulatory compliance, technological innovation, and a culture of safety and well-being. The documents indicate a growing awareness and readiness to tackle fatigue through smarter regulation, advanced technology, and industry-wide collaboration. The challenge lies in effectively integrating these elements into the complex and diverse landscape of global maritime operations.

MAIB BRIDGE WATCHKEEPING SAFETY STUDY: Is a comprehensive report prepared by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, detailing the circumstances and causes of accidents in marine navigation with the aim of enhancing safety at sea and preventing future accidents. The study, rooted in investigations into 66 maritime incidents, identifies critical safety issues such as fatigue, inadequate manning, and the misuse of radar and lookout practices. It emphasizes the need for improved manning levels, fatigue management, and the effective use of watchkeeping resources to mitigate the risks of groundings and collisions. The findings and recommendations are geared towards influencing international maritime safety standards and practices, particularly through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to ensure higher safety standards aboard merchant vessels.

The ITF FATIGUE REPORT: Adequate Crewing and Seafarers’ Fatigue: The International Perspective” is an in-depth analysis conducted by Professor Andy Smith from the Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology at Cardiff University. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of knowledge regarding fatigue among seafarers, highlighting the significant health and safety risks associated with excessive work hours and inadequate rest periods. It emphasizes the need for improved manning levels and the implementation of effective fatigue management strategies to ensure the well-being of seafarers and the safety of maritime operations. Through a holistic approach, the report aims to shed light on the prevalence, causes, and consequences of fatigue in the maritime industry, offering recommendations for stakeholders to address this critical issue.

SEAFARER FATIGUE: THE CARDIFF RESEARCH PROGRAMME: Is a seminal study led by researchers from Cardiff University, focusing on the prevalence, causes, and consequences of fatigue among seafarers. Conducted with the support of various maritime organizations, this research delves into the multifaceted nature of fatigue in the maritime industry, its impact on health, safety, and performance, and the effectiveness of current management strategies. By employing a range of methodologies, the study aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of fatigue, contributing to the development of best practices and policy recommendations for improving seafarer well-being and operational safety.

Unlike the current Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm System (BNWAS), which has several limitations, Aware Mate offers a proactive approach to fatigue detection. It eliminates the dependency on manual reset actions, providing continuous and real-time monitoring of fatigue signs. This direct monitoring approach helps in immediately identifying potential fatigue situations, enhancing maritime safety.

Aware Mate offers several key benefits aimed at enhancing maritime safety and operational efficiency through innovative fatigue monitoring technology. Here are the main benefits as derived from the project’s objectives and features:

  1. Improved Maritime Safety: By accurately detecting signs of fatigue in watchkeeping officers in real time, Aware Mate significantly reduces the risk of accidents caused by fatigue. This proactive approach ensures higher safety levels for vessels, crew, and cargo.

  2. Enhanced Watchkeeper Well-being: The system contributes to the overall well-being of watchkeepers by ensuring that fatigue is promptly identified and managed. This not only protects them from the immediate dangers of microsleeps or decreased alertness but also helps in managing long-term health risks associated with chronic fatigue.

  3. Integration with Existing Systems: Aware Mate can be integrated with existing Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm Systems (BNWAS), allowing for an enhanced safety protocol without the need to completely overhaul current setups. This compatibility ensures that shipping companies can adopt Aware Mate without significant disruptions to their operations.

  4. Privacy Protection: The system is designed with privacy in mind, operating without the need for internet or cloud connections, and without recording, transmitting, or sharing any personal data. This approach ensures that the privacy of watchkeepers is respected and maintained.

  5. Operational Efficiency: By preventing fatigue-related incidents, Aware Mate helps maintain operational timelines and reduces the potential for costly accidents and associated delays. This contributes to smoother operations and potentially lower insurance premiums due to improved safety records.

  6. Adaptability: Aware Mate’s technology is adaptable to various vessel types and operational needs, making it a versatile solution for a wide range of maritime applications. Its flexibility ensures that it can meet the specific requirements of different shipping companies and vessel configurations.

  7. Nighttime Operation: With its intelligent face and eyeball tracking algorithm that uses infrared technology, Aware Mate is effective during both day and night, ensuring continuous monitoring regardless of lighting conditions. This 24/7 monitoring capability is crucial for the round-the-clock nature of maritime operations.

These benefits collectively contribute to making Aware Mate a comprehensive solution for addressing the critical issue of fatigue in maritime operations, leading to safer and more efficient maritime transportation.

Yes, Aware Mate can be integrated with existing Bridge Navigational Watch Alarm Systems (BNWAS), adding an additional layer of safety without the need to completely replace current systems. This integration allows shipping companies to leverage their existing investments while significantly improving their fatigue monitoring capabilities.

Aware Mate prioritizes the privacy and security of watchkeepers. The system does not require any internet or cloud connection, nor does it record, transmit, or share any personal data. All data processing is performed locally on the device, ensuring watchkeepers’ privacy is maintained.

Aware Mate is designed to be versatile and adaptable, making it suitable for a wide range of vessels that require bridge watchkeeping. Its implementation can be customized to meet the specific needs and safety protocols of different types of maritime and inland waterways operations.