To the question:
"What is your opinion on the similarity of manoeuvres performed in lake practice and on real ships?"
the answers of around 1000 participants attending courses over six years (2005 to 2010) show that:
• "HAPPY" participants represent 98.7 % (rating Good, Very good, Outstanding)
• "UNHAPPY" participants 1.3% (rating Fair, Poor)
“I have been to all types of simulation in many parts of the world but none can compare to the high calibre of realism that one experiences at Port Revel. The credit for the outstanding program goes to the total effort put forth from everyone (…) from the office staff & technicians; to the instructors who not only train us but impart the skill that they have acquired through their many years of experience (…).” Captain Robert Jackson, Port Everglades Pilot, Florida, USA (May 1999)
All seafarers, ship owners and maritime authorities know that the “zero risk” condition does not exist at sea. They are also well aware that ships are exposed to the greatest risks at the beginning and end of their voyage, when they are near land, leaving or entering harbour.
These risks have indeed become crucial due to the even larger dimensions or particular features of modern ships and the need to perform harbour and berthing manoeuvres in minimum time with maximum safety. They also know that the most effective guarantee for the safe conduct of a ship lies in the shiphandler’s experience and skills.
However, obtaining this experience and skill is a long and difficult process for the seaman because it has to be done on the bridge of a ship through “on the job” training. If a seaman spent his whole life at sea, it would still not be enough to become familiar with all the situations his ship may one day encounter.
Could a means be found to reproduce the real ship’s behaviour, a facility which would enable captains and pilots to feel, then to forecast the ship’s reactions in the presence of wind, waves and currents, shallow water and various obstacles, and finally to control the vessel using her rudder and engine?
There is an answer : Manned ship models at the Port Revel shiphandling training centre.
At this simulator of a very special type, pilots, masters and officers can study ship behaviour under various conditions and in a safe environment. They will be able to acquire new “tricks of the trade”, improve their shiphandling skills and build up their confidence.