Students and professional mariners at State University New York Maritime College, Fort Schuyler, NY, are now able to work together to simulate docking articulated tug barges with two Class B tug assist simulators.
The simulators are an addition to SUNY Maritime's Bouchard Tug and Barge Simulation Center, which opened in 2015.
"With the new class B simulators combined with the Class A bridge simulators, cadets are going to be receiving a higher level of training," said Capt. Eric Johansson, professor of marine transportation. "Recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard for its unique skill sets, tugboat training at the Bouchard Simulation Center will meet demand and exceed the expectations of cadets and seasoned mariners."
The two simulators each have five screens and allow for 270-degree visibility. They join a larger Class A bridge simulator with full 360-degree visibility. Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc., donated the equipment.
"Education is of vital importance at Bouchard, and a major aspect of education is simulator training," said President and CEO Morton S. Bouchard III. "It is very simple, the more educated employees are, the more inclined they will be to always operate safely. Our proud commitment to the simulator just reinforces our corporate philosophy that there is no budget for safety and proper training. Safety is our number one, top priority."
SUNY Maritime cadets will be able to practice steering traditional tug barge units, articulated tug barges, towboats, and conventional and tractor harbor assist tugboats. The two Class B simulators will be used extensively to train cadets and mariners in the use of tractor and conventional harbor tug assists to perform dockings, undockings, escort and emergency maneuvers with articulated tug barges using all three simulators at the same time.
With the smaller simulators, SUNY Maritime students will be able to practice driving tugboats and using them to dock barges. The three simulators can work together and students can communicate between the stations as though they were on separate vessels. Most barges can be maneuvered by one harbor assist tug, but more often situations require two tugs to maneuver them safely to port.
"Maritime academies have to educate students for current and future towing operations in this ever-expanding industry," Captain Johansson said. "The Bouchard Simulation Center provides the ultimate venue for this advance training. For that reason, we applaud Bouchard Transportation's vision to provide two state-of-the-art Class B simulators to SUNY Maritime." The Bouchard Simulation Center is SUNY Maritime's newest simulator and gives students, and professional mariners looking to expand or refresh their skills, another way to gain the sea time and training required to work in the U.S. Merchant Marine.