The construction of bridge simulator enabled both students and course participants to experience real conditions observed at sea on the vessel. Familiarization with bridge, its equipment and procedures applied is extremely important for future officers to keep navigational watch. Visual bridge simulators at Gdynia Maritime University and in Officer Training Center are fitted with panels which are identical with those used on merchant vessels.
It offers a wide variety of operational possibilities. It is used not only for educating students but is also employed during a great number of courses:
- Ship’s Master courses
- Officers of Watch
- Chief Officers courses
- Bridge Team Management
- Maneuvering of large vessels characterized by specific maneuvering characteristics
It provides unique help in running exercises because students and course participants can employ theoretical knowledge acquired during lectures in practice and see the difference in maneuvering small and large vessel, slow and fast vessel during good or bad weather conditions. The mathematical models used are realistic as they are models of real vessels.
The course participants can experience how the vessel reacts in canals or shallow water. The instructor can also change the following hydro-meteorological parameters:
- wind direction and force,
- the direction and rate of tidal stream or current,
- direction and height of wind wave,
- direction and force of swell,
- meteorological conditions (snow, rain, fog etc.),
- time of the day,
- depth of sea area,
- and many others.
The presented simulator is of sixth generation. When compared to previous simulators it provides more realistic conditions, it has greater screen resolution among others. It is possible to record the course participant’s exercises and than discuss any possible mistakes. Because all parameters can be edited, then the instructor running the training can create scenarios which are likely to be observed in real conditions in a given sea area. All these exercises aim at improving the level of knowledge of officers and at practicing some behaviours. The navigators can be trained at basic distress and rescue maneuvers such as:
- cash stop,
- zigzag maneuver,
- Butakoow Turn,
- Wiliamson Turn,
- Techniques for searching live raft:
- Expanding square search,
- Sector search,
- Parallel sweep search,
- Coordinated vessel –air craft search pattern.
The training is carried out in real sea areas which present true coast lines, berths, buildings, sea marks, land marks. It is possible to choose a lot of different sea areas. There are the following sea areas used for exercises: approach to Singapore, the Malacca Strait, the Dover strait, approach to Euro port and Hong-Kong. These sea areas are enough to carry out exercises and training so that the students are prepared for their future duties. It is possible to create own scenarios e.g. approaches to rivers, ports or other dangerous places. It is extremely important during upgrading courses aiming at improving navigational skills in different conditions.