On Tuesday, March 16, operators of the simulator used in training mariners at the Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) Center for Maritime Education in Paducah, KY gazed into the future. In an honored visit, Major General John W. Peabody, Commander, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), sat in the “driver’s seat” of SCI’s recently upgraded simulator. The Major General piloted a vessel into the Olmsted Locks at Ohio River Mile 964.4, a construction project currently not scheduled for completion for another 11 years.
How did he do it?
“Although the project is still several years away from completion,” says Captain Greg Menke, Director of SCI’s Paducah Center, “we have the completed project on our new Paducah database on the simulator.”
SCI’s recently upgraded computer technology includes detailed geographic data of important navigable portions of the United States’ inland rivers. SCI uses projected lifelike renderings of the waterways to help mariners prepare for real-life situations. Additionally, the Institute uses its simulators, able to re-create a variety of settings and circumstances, to conduct feasibility studies of construction projects before they even begin.
The Major General and those with him that day saw what others will see in the future: a speedy passage through that area of the river, which currently, according to Waterways Council, Inc., cannot meet current traffic demands without significant delays.
“SCI’s planning for the future with modern technology means that we can help the maritime community work together,” says Paducah Director Menke. “We try to be forward thinking in our approach, improving the future for the mariners we serve.”
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Accompanying Major General John Peabody on the March 16 visit to SCI’s Paducah facility: Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Mitchell, Commander Nashville District USACE; Captain Nicholas Soroka, Aide to MG Peabody; Mr. Mike Wilson, Deputy District Engineer for Project Management, Nashville District; Mike Bransford, Acting Operations Manager for Western KY, Nashville District; Don Getty, Project Manager KY Lock Project; and Ken Wheeler, Retired Towing Industry Executive
Read a news story about the Major General's visit to SCI on the Nashville District US Army Corps of Engineers website here