SAFETY4SEA: Your organization has been shortlisted for the 2018 SAFETY4SEA Awards in the ‘Training’ category alongside a number of other distinguished nominees. What is the background and the key drivers behind this nomination/shortlisting?

Capt. Ralph Becker-Heins: While society in general is currently going through a period of change, the same applies when we are referring to training for seafarers, which has crossed the dawn of a new era already. We have to re-think training completely when attracting i.e. the younger generation. E-Learning is treated as the “cure-all” magic, but we ignore the fact that E-Learning solely is featureless.  At Safebridge we follow progressive approaches in training, methodology and content, worth mentioning and promoting.

S4S: What are the key challenges surrounding the training of seafarers today?

Capt. R.B.H.: From a didactical point of view my answer is “motivation”, but realistically spoken, it is the sound balance between todays training budgets and the desired impact of a training. In the world of Instagram, Warcraft and Bloomberg, training has to compete with the users´ attention in order to be attractive and “consumed”.

S4S: In what way do you believe training needs to be improved/developed/optimized in order to keep up with industry’s changing needs?

Capt. R.B.H.: Self-assessment becomes an ever-greater part of our self-determination and positioning. In every sector, you get scored in relation to others. Why not get scored in training as well? Today, training needs to be as attractive as social media or online games; it is about the immersion of the users.

S4S: How training in shipping could be developed to meet the needs of Generation Z?

Capt. R.B.H.: Training providers need to learn from the general trends around the world. The same time that automation and decision support systems provide professionals instant technical information, soft skills in Generation Z gain more and more importance. It is about cognitive skills, personality attitudes and others which are key factors when it comes to competencies.

S4S: What is your key message with respect to the future of maritime training?

Capt. R.B.H.: Maritime training has to be stated as an “enabler” to catalyst learning processes.


You may cast your vote for Safebridge at 2018 SAFETY4SEA Awards dedicated webpage till 7th of September 2018!


The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of  SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion  purposes only.



Prof. Capt. Ralph Becker-Heins is the Managing Director of Safebridge, a maritime training company in Germany and Cyprus. Additionally, he is a full-time Professor of Navigation at the University of Applied Sciences in Bremen and has been appointed Honorary Professor at the Kherson State Maritime Institute (Ukraine). Previously, he served in the German Navy and the merchant maritime, reaching the rank of master before becoming a shore-based crew manager.