Gaining experience with on-board training.
Recently, I have conducted a number of training courses on-board ships. The last one was on MV Island Performer, the newest offshore vessel owned by Island Offshore.
The MV Island Performer has an IBS bridge delivered by Marine Technology. This one includes MARIS ECDIS 900 and ARPA 4000 products. The installation contains more than 10 multifunction workstations. From each of these, an operator can easily select any application to work on.
The MARIS ARPA 4000 uses two Sperry radar transceivers, one X-band and one S-band. ENC chart data is delivered trough Navtor and there is no paper chart on-board.
Basically, the training was held around a conference table on the bridge wing. We used a wide screen monitor instead of a projector, and my portable training set was used instead of the ship’s navigation system so as not to cause any problems. I conducted a typical operator training course with a focus on operation, buttons, and functionality.
Small groups of navigation officers, from one to four, were trained according to a progress plan set up by the ship’s captain. The total number of training days was closely linked to the ship operation and the officer’s off duty availability. A typical training schedule for an operator ECDIS course on a SOLAS ship is listed below.
This schedule must be crafted especially for each ship (the pictured schedule is not from the MV Island Performer). The chance to undergo training on-board ship has a number of benefits. First, this type of training gives you more time for instruction, questions, and discussion. Next, the course is held in its natural environment. This means that you have access to the ship’s bridge, complete with its working instruments, methods, and procedures. In such a case, the course is well-positioned to bring up exactly the right topics relevant for the job. In total, on-board at-sea training provides a significant quality improvement compared with “on-board in harbour” training given by the ship owner ECDIS instructors. Too often, such training is limited to just a few hours of instruction in the harbour.
The total cost is lower than expected, as charges for instructor daily allowance and accommodation is consequently reduced. “On-shore” training at a training institute also includes the costs for working hours, traveling, accommodations, and a daily allowance, making training course expenses higher in most cases.
Another benefit of on-board training courses is that they make it possible to combine training with ECDIS implementation support. Such training provides more time enough for discussions, as well as advice for new solutions on bridge efficiency, including documentation and procedures.
If necessary information is available beforehand, on-board training can be crafted to be “type specific” and “ship specific.”