Many of today’s commercial vessels benefit from having an Electronic Charting System, or ECS, on board. These systems help mariners make critical decisions regarding the safety of their crew, cargo and environment. Now, thanks to a collaboration with Rose Point Navigation Systems <http://rosepointecs.com/> , these mariners will find the same highly developed technology in the Seamen’s Church Institute’s (SCI) simulators in Paducah, KY and Houston, TX. The Redmond, WA-based navigation software developer has donated its current computer-based navigation information system to give mariners the opportunity to incorporate these tools into their training.
ECSs integrate various data from satellites and navigational sensors to provide mariners with information on how best to maneuver and safely operate vessels. More and more often, maritime companies are making available this technology on their vessels (Rose Point has around 100 fleets using their software) because of the benefits to navigation—even though no current USCG regulation exists mandating use.
Rose Point ECS accurately calculates distances and provides continuous position and navigational information. Key features for mariners include a Passing Point Predictor, which helps navigators plan where certain events will occur on the river, and Rate of Turn Course Predictor, predicting a vessel’s position based on the current speed and rate of turn. The ECS displays these data on a clear, customizable display with information of the depth of water and topography of the shoreline.
Rose Point Navigation Systems’ ECS also helps examine accidents after the fact, recording activity during navigation and allowing playback for evaluation. In SCI’s simulator, this technology will aid in debriefing. Mariners and instructors will scrutinize details from the training simulations at SCI and apply the lessons to real-life situations. “For example,” says Jeff Hummel from Rose Point Navigation Systems, “A certain bridge may be difficult to get under. We can use recordings from the ECS interfaced to the simulator to show people the conditions and how others did it successfully.”
The acquisition of this technology benefits SCI’s quality of training. Greg Menke, Director of SCI’s Center for Maritime Education in Paducah, KY, says, “The new alliance with Rose Point Navigations Systems allows us to provide navigation software many of our students already use in the pilothouse and gives them quality tools to train in our facilities and prepare for real-life situations on the water.”
Founded in 1834 and affiliated with the Episcopal Church, though nondenominational in terms of its trustees, staff and service to mariners, the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York & New Jersey (SCI) is the largest, most comprehensive mariners’ agency in North America. Annually, its chaplains visit thousands of vessels in the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port of Oakland, and along 2,200 miles of America’s inland waterways and into the Gulf of Mexico. SCI’s maritime education facilities provide navigational training to nearly 1,600 mariners each year through simulator-based facilities located in Houston, TX and Paducah, KY. The Institute and its maritime attorneys are recognized as leading advocates for merchant mariners by the United States Government, including the US Congress, the US Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization, the International Labor Organization and maritime trade associations.