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 (2014 to 2019) show that:
Manned models are considered by ships' captains and pilots - ship handlers par excellence - as the next best thing to a full-scale prototype for studying and understanding a ship's behaviour.
All seamen who have been to Port Revel consider that our type of training is complementary to that provided by simulators. They even say that it is more realistic than simulators.
During the 1970s, most participants were captains, while the first pilots came to discover the centre.
During the 80s, the ratio of 9 captains to 1 pilot was reversed as pilots discovered the great value of training on manned models in very shallow waters.
In the 90s, the first refresher courses were organised for pilots, who returned every 5 years. These courses are less directive and leave more room for customisation, which is a way of optimising port operations to increase port accessibility.
Since the 2000s, there are many more pilots than captains (95% of pilots for the year 2019).
"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."
Captain David CVITANOVIC - San Francisco Bar Pilots - (September 2017)
Read other testimonials >
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 ship handler’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.
Therefore a question springs to mind: 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 ship handling training center.
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 ship handling skills and build up their confidence.