Simulator Conference Inspires

Jul 30, 2010
by Eric K. Larsson, Ph.D., Director, Center for Maritime Education
Along with about sixty other lecturers, I attended the 16th International Navigation Simulator Lecturers’ Conference (INSLC 16) at Dalian Maritime University in Dalian, China from July 12-16. Participants from around the globe exchanged ideas and experiences using navigation simulators, like the ones the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) employs at its Centers for Maritime Education in Paducah and Houston.
Led by myself and Deputy Chairman Fang Quangen (China), the 57 lecturers and delegates at INSLC 16 represented 11 different countries. Delegates at this conference included experts with decades of experience, as well as rising talents and a strong cadre of nearly 20 graduate student volunteers from the Dalian and Shanghai Maritime Universities.
Participants in the conference focused on the importance of maritime training and education, which influences critical issues of safety on the seas. Several notable figures in the industry gave lectures, including leaders from Dalian Maritime University and China’s Maritime Safety Administration. As Chairman of the INSLC conference, I gave the final speech. 
During the conference, participants presented over 20 papers. Topics varied widely from cadet training to oil spill prediction modeling. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet and network with people in the industry. I found particularly interesting some of the work being done in crossover training using a security simulator and a maritime simulator.
No INSLC conference would be complete without a sightseeing tour of the local venue and a sampling of the cuisine and culture. On the final day of the conference, our hosts organized a scenic bus trip to the best beach in the Dalian area. A number of participants braved the water (the German delegates pronounced the water “refreshing,” the American guests described it as “frigid”). The day concluded with a conference banquet that included a number of area delicacies, including sea cucumber, which the Chinese hosts described as “very nutritious” despite its alarming appearance.
This conference gave me great inspiration, and I value being able to take such an important leadership role. Think-tanks like the INSLC keep me abreast of developments in the industry and help me resourcefully lead the Maritime Education programs at SCI.