Making the difference
The difference the simulator is making to training
For many years blind pilotage simulation and lectures were the norm for maritime training. It was difficult for many students to enter into the spirit of the role-play. With the development of full mission bridges with visual displays and comprehensive interactive environments students are immediately drawn into the simulated situation.
Induced equipment faults and ship manoeuvring difficulties become real, demanding proper responses. Theory is put into practice and the chosen response can be compared and contrasted with the actions of others during the comprehensive and powerful debrief sessions.
Simulation research has proven economic value in confirming the suitability of new berthing facilities and enabling Pilots and Shipmasters to practice complex manoeuvres before encountering them for real. With the new generation of simulators ship handling and tug manoeuvring training have become very realistic. Future software developments will improve the training experience further and provide the mariner with the confidence to manage navigational situations in a professional and confident manner.
Simulation cannot replace real experience, however, well planned and presented exercises can prepare the professional mariner for those once in a lifetime hazardous experiences.