"We see the bridge as one area that requires hardware, software, charts/data and trained crew," explained Theissen. "When it comes to truly comprehensive electronic navigation solutions in today's highly technical age, no one company can be experts in three different areas, hence we have joined forces to provide complete solutions through specialist service providers in each important segment. With our model the crew is not only trained on ECDIS but also Bridge Resource Management empowering them using the actual equipment they have on board most effectively and efficiently."
In light of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Code that have brought in new requirements for masters and deck officers working on vessels fitted with ECDIS to undergo education and training by January, 2017, conversation turned to whether yacht crew are beginning to act on this regulation yet. “We haven’t seen an increase in yacht crew taking ECDIS training,” said Theissen. “Just like the commercial sector most crew feel there is plenty of time. There is not, and there is limited space available, conservatively there are roughly 100,00 people that need ECDIS in the next three years." Perhaps the implementation date is still a way off, but this could mean a last minute rush to take the course, leading to possible waiting times in order to take the training.
The new regulations state that if ECDIS is listed as an aid to navigation on board then specific training approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and recognised by the vessel’s flag state must be taken. Therefore, another reason for the delay in yacht crew getting trained could also be, Boldt revealed, that flag states and yachts are yet to put total faith in the technology. “Yachts are gradually becoming paperless,” he said. “But none are truly paperless. There are still a few flag states that are making decisions over whether to make ECDIS the primary source of navigation on board.”
“Training in simulators is crucial to avoid situations like Costa Concordia where crew can see that things are going wrong but are too scared to speak up,” explained Boldt. While Resolve Marine noted that they were seeing a significant increase in the amount of commercial crew undertaking such bridge training, they had not witnessed the same level of interest coming from the yachting sector. Perhaps yacht captains and owners are yet to recognise the value of simulation bridge training and this is something that the industry can mimic and take from the commercial industry.