B.C. community college to get state-of-the-art simulator

Written by Marine Log Staff
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From left to right: Gilles Gagnon, VP and General Manager, Atlantic Towing; Reg Gladstone, AMTEP Officer and Job Coach, Coast Salish Employment & Training Society; Michelle Traore, Director Continuing Education and Contract Training, Camosun College; Sherri Bell, President, Camosun College; Tim Brownlow, Director Industry Relations, Atlantic Towing; Geoff Wilmshurst, VP Partnerships, Camosun College

Camosun College, a community college in Victoria, British Columbia, is to get a new state-of-the-art marine simulator, with the help of C$700,000 in funding from J.D. Irving company Atlantic Towing Limited (ATL).

ATL has arranged for the funding to be provided over a three-year period by another Irving company, Irving Shipbuilding, Inc. (ISI) as part of a commitment made under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The simulator will allow Camosun to offer a wider range of courses and develop a Cadet/Bridgewatch program, growing the number of marine professionals entering a vital industry.

“We have been working with multiple Indigenous communities and Camosun College to develop Bridgewatch and Culinary programs for nearly two years,” said Gilles Gagnon, Vice President and General Manager of ATL. “The simulator upgrade is a fantastic step forward in the Bridgewatch program.”

“Our programs are focused on giving students the skills they need for a range of in-demand careers,” said Sherri Bell, President of Camosun College. “The generous support from Atlantic Towing and Irving Shipbuilding for a new marine simulator will allow more students to train closer to home.”


Saint John, New Brunswick, headquartered ATL has been working to establish a strong presence on Canada’s West Coast. In August 2018, following a rigorous and transparent bid process, the Canadian Coast Guard awarded a three-year contract to ATL for the provision of two emergency offshore towing vessels that operate in B.C/ coastal waters. These vessels – the Eagle and the Raven – are capable of towing large commercial ships in distress, helping to prevent potential marine pollution incidents, assist with search and rescue operations, and contributing to Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan.

In April, 2019, ATL announced that conversations with Coastal First Nation Communities had resulted in three new relationships: a Joint Venture Agreement between Songhees Events and Catering and ESS-Compass Group Canada; a contract with Salish Sea Industrial Services; and, a plan to implement Bridgewatch and Culinary training programs for local students via Camosun College.


Camosun College operates two campuses on the Traditional Territories of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples on Vancouver Island, and its Camosun Coastal Center is housed on Songhees Nation Territory. The establishment of a Bridgewatch program will allow potential cadets (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) to stay on Vancouver Island to complete their training. Currently, students interested in seafaring or marine services must leave the island to receive necessary training.

“In supporting the nautical simulator upgrade and development of the Bridgewatch program, I believe we can help grow the number of marine professionals entering the industry,” said Gilles Gagnon, Vice President and General Manager of ATL. “This will help reduce the barriers of entry by making marine education more affordable to all and accessible to students in Western Canada. We look forward to hiring cadets local to British Columbia.”


A new Navi-Trainer Professional 5000 simulator will be supplied by Transas, now a part of Wartsila. Its training capabilities include:

  • Ship handling
  • ARPA
  • AIS
  • Bridge Team Management
  • Tug and barge handling operations
  • Offshore operations and DP system usage
  • Anchor handling
  • Ice navigation
  • Search and rescue operations
  • Pilot training
  • High speed craft
  • Fishing operations
  • Naval applications
  • Vessel traffic management for certification and training of VTS personnel Research projects for ship modeling, harbor and fairway design
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