Designed at the outset to help masters from the major oil companies to make the transition between known ships and the new VLCCs, the centre has attracted more and more pilots over the years. Presently, 80 to 90% of all the centre’s trainees are pilots!
“Manned Models training provides the most realistic simulation of ship handling in confined waters. Therefore it is recommended that Marine Pilots should attend these specialised courses.
Each port has different needs, however, as minimum, Marine Pilots should attend the Manned Model courses in two stages:
Between 6 and 12 months after commencing pilotage duties and having gained initial experience and an understanding of his port.
Again, at the end of an initial 5 years piloting.
Each 5 years thereafter. This course may be combined with other training courses for Marine Pilots (radar, electronic charts and navigation for example).”
“I would be prepared to use fewer tugs under certain conditions as a result of the training and understanding gained Port Revel.”
“Because the cost of the training benefits the Ship Owner / Operator at least as much as it does the pilots; all training costs should be paid for as a separate and transparent charge in the pilotage tariff. It should be noted that the majority of pilots would have to carry out training during their leave or “time off roster” and that should be viewed as the pilot’s personal contribution.”
"These courses could become mandatory and ship owners would use them when negociating their insurance contracts."
Those who have been through the course are always enthusiastic and often grateful because the new techniques acquired at the centre helped them to cope with some unexpected critical and often dangerous situations as shown by the testimonials of some of our clients :
“Captain Rhodes allowed the vessel to round up into the current, then utilized the tugs to bring the vessel alongside the dock. The strategy of paying out the port anchor shot was one learned by Captain Rhodes during pilot training that he participated in at Port Revel, France. The pilots believe that their customers’ sponsorship of pilot training classes, which the pilots attend on their own time, is an example of how working together promotes safety in the bay…”
San Francisco Bar Pilots‘ News letter USA (May 1996)
During Typhoon Sibyl in Hong Kong. “A gust of wind and rain, or more accurately, a wall of water, hit the ship forward with a terrible force and the wind speed shot up to 43m/s (…). There was only one thing left to do: put into practice what we had been trained to do at Port Revel! It goes without saying that I am grateful for having participated in the ship manoeuvring tactics taught at Port Revel. All that can be said about Port Revel is that it was the very greatest.”
Captain Jaan Hansson, Wallenius’ Newsletter (February 1996)
“Compared with the 5 different electronic simulators I have attended, Port Revel is clearly superior with the highest level of experienced instructors. In addition, the model facility provides a shiphandling perspective that is comparatively unique.”
Captain Jay Niederhauser, Puget Sound Pilot, Washington, USA (June 1999)
“They all felt that they learned techniques and polished skills that they use in piloting. (…) I really feel that the pilots have accepted that a highly professional training center such as Port Revel can be challenging and fun.”
Captain Mitch Boyce, Columbia River Pilot, Oregon, USA (August 1999)
“Of all the good, and not so good, training I have received in my professional life the time spent at Port Revel stands as a bright star of what training can be.(…) ”There is no virtual reality in the training. It is all observable and has a sense of feel and vision that is missing with the computer simulations. (...) I use the theoretical and practical lessons from this training every time I move a ship. The instructors are world class pilots who have had the conn. (…) I believe that all professional masters could benefit from regular refresher training at Port Revel. Each visit I pick up information and techniques that are new to me.”
Captain Craig Reeder, California, USA (September 1999)
“ (…) I was sorry to leave. I wanted to thank your technical staff for their work all week but especially setting up a special scenario on Saturday, and especially thank your stellar instructors for their superb instruction, helpful insights, and professionalism throughout the week(…)."
Captain Mike Dillon, Columbia River Bar Pilot, Oregon, USA (October 1999)
“(…) the best training, other than “hands-on” experience, that [I] received during [my] extensive career at sea as a Marine Pilot.”
Captain Alex Amos from Sydney Sea Pilots, Australia, (October, 2000)
"(…) Effectiveness of tethered escort tug was absolutely critical in maintaining complete control of vessel in this situation. Initially the vessel commenced a turn to port with 40 degrees of starboard rudder on. This was arrested by working the escort tug indirect to port, full power. This manoeuvre and subsequent moves to starboard and port also reduced the speed of the vessel and brought her under complete control. I would comment that experience and the training that the pilots have received in the use of tractor tugs in escort, both at Port Revel and Marine Safety in San Diego, were invaluable. I was familiar with the resource that was available and used it effectively without hesitation."
Captain Gregg Waugh, San Francisco Bar Pilot, USA (October 2001)
“The Mecca of Shiphandling ….”
Captain Brian Seuter, Cumberland Pilot, USA (October 2004)
"We experienced maneuvers that I wouldn't have tried on a full size real ship, but through this experience we increased our understanding of limitations of what can or can't be done ... the experience is one of the best in my professional career."
Captain Joseph Lachnicht, Tampa Pilot, USA (July 2008)
"This was my fourth class. Port Revel has always given us exactly what we ask and has improved every year since I started coming here."
Captain Ed Melvin, San Francisco Bar Pilot, USA (August 2008)
"What a great week I had. Even better was the opportunity to use all the training on the first ship I had to pilot at the Trombetas River (one of the Amazon River’s affluents):
I was onboard a panamax vessel fully loaded and after unberthing, proceeded about half mile above the terminal and started to turn the ship. I had two conventional tugs available – one single screw and another twin screw – and the river on the raining season has about 1.5 knots current. The tugs do not use any line due to their manoeuvrability restrictions and consequent danger to them. The river width has 2 cables, what means we have a small turning base for a vessel of 220 meters of LOA.
Using the engine ahead and astern together with the correct placement and power of the tugs, everything usually goes well. But this time, when I was using the twin screw tug fore, at full power, with some sternway (pivot point aft), I decided to give a kick ahead with the rudder “hard a starboard” (turning to starboard with a right hand fixed propeller ship), and the captain advised me that we had no engine available. When I questioned him, he told me that the problem was on the air generator to start the engine and it would take at least 2 hours to repair it. At that time I had already turned about 130 degrees from the initial course and started to have some speed going downriver. I advised the tugs and asked the captain to send the boatswain to prepare both anchors to let go. After we passed at about 1 knot very close to a shoal, when it was safe, I started the procedure with both anchors, turning the ship to port side, and used the stronger current on the external part of the bend – a smooth one, but it was a bend - and … everything happened by the book – better saying: by the training I had one week before! I turned the ship and we ended stopped in the middle of the river, at about 50 meters from Trombetas terminal.
Thanks would not fully express how grateful I am for the training I received. This training did absolutely all the difference on that situation, and made me confident on what I was doing. Please transmit my thanks to all instructors, what a hell of a job they did."
Captain Ricardo Falcao, Amazon River Pilot, Brazil (April 2009)
" I'm coming for the second time. The first time you learn a lot. The second time, you come back with more experience but I think you learn even more than the first time."
Captain Alain Lemarchand, Euronav, France (April 2010)
"It is a great help to train to anticipate manoeuvring in real life. All elements are available in Port Revel: wind, waves, currents, shallow waters. You learn to cope with the limits of vessels and situations because you can try them out and evaluate the result without fearing real damage."
Captain Patrick Vangelder, CVBA BRABO, Belgium (June 2010)
"It is no wonder that Port Revel has earned a preeminent reputation in the piloting world. Your philosophy of instruction and facilities enable a pilot to utilize his/her skills in a multitude of situations, on a variety of vessels in varying water depths and tidal current conditions. Your database of our berths and understanding of the unique challenges we encounter are equally impressive. This was a very powerful learning experience with direct application to our duties which cannot be replicated elsewhere. Of course, people make the difference in any organization. In this respect we would like to recognize the superb cadre of instructors (...). Their professionalism and dedication to our group was simply outstanding. Likewise, the supporting team of technicians and staff enabled the entire session to proceed very pleasantly."
Six San Francisco Bar Pilots: D. Aune, D. Bridgman, D. Cloes, C. Martin, D. Merritt, G. Tylawsky, USA (August 2010)
"You will not handle a ship the same way before and after a course at Port Revel"
Board of the French Association of Ship Masters, AFCAN, France (May 2012)