Before GPS and electronic monitoring, the Navy navigated by charts.
One time, a junior naval officer commanded a patrol boat on night watch. Part of the night duties involved navigating a high-speed transit through a shallow reef. Panic set in when the junior officer realized he had lost his bearings and didn’t know his position. But he had to do something. He immediately stopped the ship and woke up the captain. The two of them checked the course charts and got back on schedule. The captain went back to bed, but the junior officer finished his shift worrying he’d ruined his own career.
When it came time for review, the captain gave the junior officer his navigation qualification.
“But how? I failed!” he asked. The captain said, “You made the right choice. You admitted the mistake and got me. I can only sleep at night if I know my officers make good decisions. What’s going to wake me if you cover your mistakes and make bigger ones?”
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