NYC Ferry partners with SUNY Maritime on training

Simulator software from Transas America will give future operators the look and feel of NYC Ferry's new boats even before a majority of them arrive in New York Simulator software from Transas America will give future operators the look and feel of NYC Ferry's new boats even before a majority of them arrive in New York

APRIL 11, 2017 — New York City's newest transit system — NYC Ferry Operated by Hornblower — is teaming up with the oldest merchant marine academy in the country—SUNY Maritime College — to deliver a world class training program to its captains and crew.

SUNY Maritime College was founded in 1874 as the New York Nautical School, the first school in the nation devoted to training merchant mariners. Today, training methods have evolved. Before a majority of the new NYC Ferry vessels even arrive in New York Harbor, as part of this new collaboration between NYC Ferry and SUNY Maritime, future captains and crew will have access to SUNY Maritime's experienced maritime faculty and to facilities that include two of the school's interactive, 360-degree full-mission bridge simulators, which offer the real-world experience, look and feel of an actual NYC Ferry vessel thanks to software developed by Transas America.

Simulator training will become a mandatory requirement for current and future captains, including refresher courses at least once a year. The first round of captain training got underway last week.

"Having a presence in such a prestigious institution that is not too far from a future landing site allows our team to be surrounded by rich maritime history and a strong network of maritime professionals, as well as continue to build new and existing community partnerships," said Richard Paine, Regional Director HSSQE for NYC Ferry Operated by Hornblower and a SUNY Maritime alumnus.

"Simulator training allows our crew members to train in a controlled environment. It allows us to create scenarios that we may not see every day in New York Harbor. More importantly, it gives our captains the opportunity to train in the operation of the ferries prior to their delivery. Throughout my own career, simulator training has been an effective and priceless learning tool, and I feel like it will be the same for our new crew members as we gear up to launch May 1st," said Dennis Robesch, a Safety and Training Manager for NYC Ferry Operated by Hornblower and another SUNY Maritime alumnus.

Making SUNY's simulators unique are their application with a private commuter ferry system. Typically, simulator training is reserved for deep sea and towing vessels or larger public commuter ferries such as the Washington State Ferry. In addition, similar software is used by other institutions and law enforcement, including NYPD, which could foster new opportunities for additional partnerships since the software is portable. Simulator training is pass/fail based on the feedback of two instructors, one from NYC Ferry and one from SUNY Maritime.

"Safe operations and maritime professional training are critically important. In the full-mission bridge simulators at SUNY Maritime, NYC Ferry by Hornblower's new captains are able to practice navigating and maneuvering in New York City's congested waterways in a low-risk, simulated environment that is as close to real as possible. The college is excited to be involved in this partnership," said Lori Shull, Director of Communications for SUNY Maritime College.

SUNY Maritime has over 1,800 students, including over 360 from New York City, many of whom learn about ferry operations in the classroom. Students and cadets will also have access to internship and career development opportunities with the Hornblower team.

As Hornblower continues its first round of hiring, which includes a minimum of 30 captains by the end of the summer, all captains will participate in simulator training to familiarize themselves with the look and feel of a NYC Ferry vessel. Over the next two years, Hornblower expects to fill over 200 positions from captains to deckhands, service technicians, customer service representatives, concessions and more.

For its first 150 years, SUNY Maritime was based entirely on a ship and students learned by sailing and working on the training vessel. After the Great Depression, the school gained its first land-based campus in the historic Fort Schuyler. SUNY Maritime's academic programs focus on engineering, science, business operations and logistics, and marine transportation.

Once NYC Ferry Operated by Hornblower launches May 1, starting with the Rockaway and East River routes, NYC Ferry will carry an estimated 4.6 million passenger trips per year across six routes, providing new transportation to communities where housing and jobs are growing rapidly. Twenty vessels, constructed by shipbuilders Horizon Shipbuilding, Inc., Bayou La Batre, AL, and Metal Shark Aluminum Boats, Jeanerette, LA, will eventually operate at 22 landings throughout New York City.

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