‘This is awesome’: New simulator boosts BC Ferries crew training in Nanaimo

'This is awesome': New simulator boosts BC Ferries crew training in Nanaimo

A new state-of-the-art simulator at the BC Ferries Departure Bay Terminal brings people so close to the real thing that instructor Malcolm Rodger said some people feel seasick.

“It’s all optical. We don’t have anything under the floors, nothing vibrates, there’s no water mist spraying like a Disney park, but you will be convinced…that you are at sea, underway and moving,” said Malcolm Rodger, BC Ferries‘ manager of simulation training.

The new $2-million bridge training simulator opened last week and is designed to make sailings safer and recruit and retain staff that BC Ferries is dealing with a chronic shortage of.

“I do. I think it can inspire new officers for the fleet,” said Robin Grypma, an BC Ferries Simulation Centre instructor.

“This is awesome, this is awesome,” said Rodger.

The new simulator brings everything from a real bridge on BC Ferries to scale and to the right place in the training room, so what’s learned there is transferable to vessels on the water.

“Instantly, the moment they walk out onto the bridge because they’ve done it here,” said Rodger.

So much so that Rodger just trained 12 officers from Ukraine, who needed to escape the crisis back home, and he used the new simulator to bring them up to speed on BC Ferries’ fleet.

“We keep it pretty quiet, but they needed to leave, they needed to support their families,” said Rodger.

“They’re licensed, quality mariners, but they had no double-ended ship experience. We brought them through here and we were able to give them the basic training that, with the support of Transport Canada, which recognized their licenses, were able to get them into our fleet pretty quick.”

It’s a simulator Rodger considered priceless to help get people on the job quickly, safely, and just in time for the busy summer season.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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