Ship Handlers said

Originally designed to assist tanker captains during the transition between their ships and VLCCs, the center has attracted many pilots over the years. Currently, 80 to 90% of our trainees are pilots! Training on smaller models provides the most realistic training in restricted waters. It is therefore recommended for each marine pilot. Each port has special needs, however, at a minimum, marine pilots should be trained on scale models as follows:

  • after an initial phase of training and employment that depends on the port and its environment (from 2/3 to 5/6 years).
  • then periodically every five years
  • on request if there is a significant change in traffic or installation. 


These courses are of course complementary to other training courses for maritime pilots (simulators, radar, electronic cartography for example).


Corey WILLIAMS - Columbia River (September 2019)

The ships are very good and very similar to real life.

Every time I come back, there are new ships and improvements !

Keep up the good work.

Strother SACRA – Crescent Pilot USA

"These exercises will be in my mind during the rest of my work career. These jobs using anchors I found to be extremely valuable."




"Very good program, the model ship react very close to real life. Easy to see the maneuvers and how to apply lessons learned."

Kjetil HERFJORD – Kystverket Norway

"Very experienced instructors and good facilities."

Russel McNEIL - BCCP Canada (April 2022)

"I have not experienced any better." 


Jeffrey BATTEN - Atlantic Pilotage Authority Canada (April 2022)

"Excellent facilities and very knowledgeable instructors. I very much enjoyed my week and learned."

Charles DOBBINS - Columbia River (September 2019)

Charles DOBBINSSimilarity of manoeuvre is very realistic. The models perform exactly as the ships we pilot on the Columbia River.

Tom MILLER - San Francisco Bar Pilots - (June 2019)


"I have been here 6 times and I must say I learned something each time.

 It has been fantastic to have been part of the "Port Revel" family."

Capt. Hugo KENYON, San Francisco Bar Pilots, USA - (Septembre 2017)

Capt. Hugo KENYO"Port Revel is the world leader in manned model training, facilities, instructors, technicians and models are second to none."

Capt. David CVITANOVIC - SAN FRANCISCO BAR PILOTS - USA - (September 2017)

Capt. David CVITANOVIC"It was very valuable to do a maneuver on a model that I haven't done in real life, fast anchoring, emergency anchoring.
I have done these on simulators but the models are much more realistic."

Capt. Sandro TEIXEIRA da ROCHA - Santos Pilots, BRESIL - (Octobre 2017)

Capt. Sandro TEIXEIRA da ROCHA"I was amazed at the whole structure, everyone involved, great teamwork, it was a pleasant experience to share this week with all of you, I overcame all my expectations and I would even like to repeat same course if I have the opportunity, I just have to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! ".

Capt. John Cahill TIMMEL, Tampa Bay Pilots, USA - (Octobre 2017)

Capt. John Cahill TIMMEL

"I think the course will be immediately applicable and fully valid, everything was absolutely impressive and the program was run in a way that leaves no room for participants to focus on learning." 

Capt. Arnaud TRANSCHANT - Marine Nationale - FRANCE - (Mai 2017)

Capt. Arnaud TRANSCHANT"Les effets produits sur le lac permettent de toucher ses limites au plus proche des conditions réelles.
La plus-value est indéniable par rapport à la similitude."

Capt. Pierre PARENT, CPSLC, CANADA - (Mai 2017)

Capt. Pierre PARENT"Très beaux et bons modèles, proche de la réalité. Grande variété de navires. Les instructeurs sont hautement qualifiés, ce qui rend les manoeuvres intéressantes."


"You will not handle a ship the same way before and after a course at Port Revel"

Capitaine Alain Lemarchand, Euronav, France (April 2010)

" Je viens pour la deuxième fois. La première fois, vous apprenez beaucoup. La deuxième fois, vous arrivez avec plus d'expérience mais je crois que vous apprenez encore plus que la première fois."

Captain Patrick Vangelder, CVBA BRABO, Belgium (June 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."


"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."

Captain Ricardo Falcao, Amazon River Pilot, Brazil (April 2009)

"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 Ed Melvin, San Francisco Bar Pilot, USA (August 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 Joseph Lachnicht, Tampa Pilot, USA (July 2008)

"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 Brian Seuter, Cumberland Pilot, USA (October 2004)

The Mecca of Ship handling ….”

Captain Gregg Waugh, San Francisco Bar Pilot, USA (October 2001)

"(…) 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 Alex Amos from Sydney Sea Pilots, Australia, (October, 2000)

“(…) the best training, other than “hands-on” experience, that [I] received during [my] extensive career at sea as a Marine Pilot.

Captain Mitch Boyce, Columbia River Pilot, Oregon, USA (August 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 Craig Reeder, California, USA (September 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 Mike Dillon, Columbia River Bar Pilot, Oregon, USA (October 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 Jay Niederhauser, Puget Sound Pilot, Washington, USA (June 1999)

"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 ship handling perspective that is comparatively unique."

Captain Jaan Hansson, Wallenius' Newsletter (February 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."

San Francisco Bar Pilots ‘Newsletter USA (May 1996)

"Captain Rhodes allowed the vessel to round up into the current, and 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..."