As explained, effective survival craft training is essential to prepare crew for a disaster at sea, but practical lifeboat drills have a troubling track record for causing fatalities. By shifting some elements of training to a simulated environment, the risks are minimized and the crew can focus on the procedures that will increase safety when operating the real lifeboat equipment in an emergency.
IMO investigations have focused mainly on the complex quick-release hooks that typically suspend enclosed lifeboats from their davits and the Maritime Safety Committee expects new guidelines to enter into force on 1 January 2020. However, a failure to follow correct procedures and lack of proper training have also been cited as contributory factors in incidents.
The Transas Survival Craft Simulator allows such training to be conducted either at a training centre or on-board in a benign environment, teaching trainees essential procedures, such as the preparation of survival craft, its launch and boarding, but without the risk.
The simulator features a virtual model of a totally enclosed davit-launched, self-righting lifeboat. It is supported by a functional model to simulate the hook-release gear, wire lashings and gripes, and for boat securing onto a davit. Instruction on using the release handle, a safety pin, and hydrostatic interlock level can be delivered either virtually or with a physical device connected to the simulator.
“The majority of the maritime industry stakeholders still have some way to go to fully embrace the use of simulation to enhance and improve competency in shipboard operations. This tool is further evidence of that competence can be raised safely and efficiently without endangering lives. The time for platitudes is over; resources and recurrent training save lives and enhance safety,” said Frank Coles, Transas Chief Executive Officer.
Survival Craft Simulator was created to function under Transas Academy, the seafarer competency development component of THESIS.