Steersmen Train with New Technology

Jul 16, 2010
This month, a group of professional mariners took part in a newly implemented course at the Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) Center for Maritime Education in Paducah, KY. After an intensive two-week training session, 13 AEP Steersmen completed the US Coast Guard-approved Mate/Steersman program using SCI’s newly upgraded simulators, becoming the Center’s first graduates in the new training curriculum.
SCI designed the USCG-approved Mate/Steersman program with multiple angles—training in group settings as well as individualized training on a simulator. The two-part course utilizes simulation-based instruction on basic boat handling, navigation systems, safety drills, incident response training, and “Rules of the Road” class instruction. Students must participate in classroom discussion, complete supervised simulations and homework assignments, and pass two comprehensive final exams.
SCI’s Center for Maritime Education in Paducah, KY employs several state-of-the-art computer simulators, which use the most advanced projection systems to simulate real-life conditions on the water and in the pilothouse. With SCI’s software and hardware update in May 2009, the simulator allows specific skills-based training in light boat handling and tow building, opening the door for the new USCG-approved Steersman course this year. Companies now have the opportunity to cross-train or include Harbor Pilots in classes alongside Line Haul Captains and Pilots. 
With a wide variety of scenarios and the ability to simulate different vessel types, SCI provides a new, comprehensive offering of training opportunities for companies and their employees. Greg Menke, Director of SCI’s Paducah training center, called this an “historic event,” saying he was impressed with the new technology’s implementation and with the performance of the skilled mariners.