Think of smart phones, Google Applications, Amazon, smart aviation technologies or even smart cars! It is obvious that all the above and more will come also into shipping. Thus, the future of the marine training must be focused on the enhancement of the skills of the officers with a deeper familiarization and training ashore as well as onboard. There is urgent need to evolve with new techniques that will affect training in shipping.

Why to invest in crew training:

  • Minimize accidents, boost safety
  • Empower Millennials & gen Z crew with next-generation skills
  • Ensure critical thinking and problem solving
  • Ensure better communication and collaboration
  • Expand creativity and innovation

The year passed, shipping industry expressed many thoughts for better training in order to keep pace with the smart developments. Not only with the expansion of e-learning programs, readily available for members onboard who want to learn whenever it’s most convenient for them, but also with 3D animated marine safety videos, developing a new learning management system which allows operators to host their own content, so that they can make better analytical decisions based on software. Virtual Reality (VR) technology has been the next training step offering a new level of realism and immersion, to reenact various training scenarios and work operations. It is beyond doubt that VR has become very common in maritime industry; apart from MOL’s safety education tool goggle, MacGregor opened a new facility in Arendal, Norway, which houses a training academy including a purpose-built VR showroom for simulation training.

In the hopes of surpassing last year’s performance, it’s important to remain guided by goals and metrics. Thus, here are some resolutions on how to improve maritime training this year.

  • Mix it up: Certainly, there are practical skills in maritime that cannot be taught through 3d, VR and eLearning and require face to face training. Combining the two methods may bring better results.
  • Ensure alignment of training goals: When implementing a mixed learning approach to shipping training, make sure that goals are consistently aligned with overall shipping objectives & regulations.
  • Track the results & learn from data: Assess if the training program is effective and/or need to adjust such programs to achieve maximum benefit. Gain valuable insight on how your crew engage with the training material and how their performance and behaviors improved.

All in all, surveys have shown that crew members are generally more motivated with their roles when they’re constantly learning new things, as working onboard has become more about checklists & structured training. Shipping industry should improve training every single year! Bear in mind that most of the worst incidents at sea may not have been occurred if seamanship had been applied.

About Apostolos Belokas

Apostolos is a Maritime Safety, Quality & Environmental Expert, Consultant, Trainer and Project Manager with more than a 20-year background in shipping as Technical, Marine, Safety & Training Superintendent and Consultant. He entered the industry back in early 90’s as Engineering Superintendent with a leading ship manager operating a mixed fleet of bulk and oil/chemical tankers. He then shifted to regulatory compliance and QHSE as superintendent and later as a Consultant and Trainer. Apostolos has successfully completed a wide range of QHSE projects including 250+ management system projects (ISM/ISO 9001-14001-18001/TMSA/MLC), 500 vessel and office audits to various standards and he has trained more than 8,000 people in a wide variety of QHSE subjects. He has also presented and chaired to more than 40 conferences. He holds Mechanical Engineering Bachelor and Master’s specialising in Energy & Environment and Master’s Degree in Maritime Business and Business Administration (MBA), all of them awarded with distinction. Apostolos is the Managing Director of SQE MARINE, SQE ACADEMY and Managing Editor of SAFETY4SEA.