Knowledge is power. Dissemination of that knowledge can re enforce shipping industry and promote safety. Thus, training is admittedly important and the compelling need to reinvent existing training process should be prioritized.


The unprecedented pace of technological achievements applied to shipping industry coupled with the dynamic nature of shipping working environment could leave us puzzled when we ask ourselves if training is really keeping abreast sufficiently.

Officers and ratings alike are required to absorb a large amount of training material in a short period of time and successfully pass the evaluations on   a vast number of class lessons in order to be able to board and man merchant vessel.

Nonetheless, once on board it is evident more times than often that training is not contributing as much as it was expected to the cultivation of professional knowledge and enhancement of safety culture.

Modernizing Training asset – Three basic questions

When comes into the training process, there are three basic questions that need to be addressed in order to enhance the training asset:

  1. Is the syllabus synchronized with the demands and requirements of real-life situations?
  2. How can the content of training course be efficiently conveyed to the trainees?
  3. Is the provided training effective and what can be done to further enhance the training process?

Synchronizing training material

Purpose of training is to give attendees the essential tools in order to efficiently keep up to the industry requirements and company’s procedures.

It must be recognized the fact that training material can expeditiously superseded by the ever-changing requirements either from external stakeholders, such as regulatory bodies, or from decision makers within a shipping company. Such decisions include, the revision of a procedure, the issuance of a policy, the introduction of a new equipment and so on so forth.

Training managers and pertinent personnel should stay well conversant and closely follow up shipping industry’s forthcoming changes and attune training material accordingly.

When it comes to real situations, it is surprising how limited is the application of what is taught in a classroom. Revising the training material consists of a clear cut between what is essential and what is academic knowledge.

Conveying content of training

In order to transmit a message - in this case training lesson -   from a sender i.e. the tutor, to the receiver i.e. the trainee, it is imperative to circumvent the assorted noise. If that is not achieved the message will not “touch” the hearts and the minds of trainees. Thus is will not serve its purpose.

Apparently, noise is not merely the level of external sounds. It encompasses the things that obstacles the message to be efficiently delivered from the sender to the receiver. In brief, the message should surpass the following noises:

  • Psychological noise (i.e. stereotypes, biases, assumptions)
  • Environmental noise (i.e. external noises from environment)
  • Semantic noise (i.e. words that the receiver is not familiar with or convey a different meaning)

The high caliber tutor should take under consideration the above on delivering the message and use teaching technics in accord with the level of class audience. Biases and assumptions should be averted as much as possible. Course content must be elucidated and clarified and moreover a flexible model of handing over the syllabus should be adopted depending on the weaknesses of the attending persons.

Equally important is the illustration of the focal points of the message. Case studies from real life events can assist attendees to grasp the essence of the lesson more clearly.

Measuring training effectiveness

Whatever can be measured can be managed as well. This basic principle of management is more than often omitted or not taken seriously, on the training process in general. This measuring process will promote one of the fundamental requirements introduced by Safety Management Code, which is continuous improvement.

Quantifying the effectiveness of training outcome will reveal the need to fine tune training process. Through that process the weaknesses will be acknowledged and mitigating actions will be addressed as necessary. It must be stressed that, in order to be fruitful the process should be ongoing.

Personalized Distance Training Scheme- Epilogue

All the above can be immensely elevated by taking a profoundly simple action. Invest on the technological level of our society. To be more specific, the achievement of connectivity.

Class notes and numerous hand-over presentations were once considered as adequate training material. Nonetheless, nowadays are impractical and regularly remain unread if not lost at all.

Why not bring the advantages of internet on our training arsenal. This is not a break through idea, but it is surprisingly how considerably far off we can reach taking full advantage of the web. It is common sense that having the information on the tip of our fingers is practical and can easily trigger excitement and motivational reinforcements on the learning process.

Materializing the idea of a personal updated distance training scheme requires a well-structured training platform which can be accessed through PC and mobile app and is constantly available.

Training is an everlasting process that expands one’s perception and improves technical knowledge and skills. It must be reminded that training is a long-term investment. The return on the investment (ROI) is compelling with significant positive contribution equally on productivity and safety, onboard and ashore, as well.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.

About Capt. Yiannis Kapageridis

Capt. Yiannis Kapageridis started his seagoing career in 2001 having graduated from Merchant Marine Academy of N. Michaniona (Thessaloniki, Greece). Capt. Kapageridis has served on crude, product and chemical tankers, and rose through the ranks. In 2017, he joined Marine Management Services as Marine Superintendent and since 2018 he works on the QA Department of TMS Tankers Ltd as Safety Superintendent.