Students recently discovered a novel way to navigate George Town harbor.
Sailing through the harbor aboard a make-believe vessel using a high-tech simulator, students from John Gray High School, Cayman Prep and Triple C had the chance to virtually dock a ship, with one eye on the marine environment and another on ship traffic.
The simulator, made by Transas, a manufacturer of simulators used to train professional seafarers worldwide, was on display at the Cayman Maritime Week event at the Marriott Grand Cayman Beach Resort from May 2 to 4. The three-day conference hosted maritime industry leaders, ship owners and operators, yacht managers, brokers and professionals from all sectors of the maritime industry.
The students met with the Transas team, used the simulator and took part in an enthusiastic question and answer session.
“I remember specifically, when the weather conditions on the screen were being changed and ‘Captain George’ from Transas told us about one of his experiences in weather as stormy and windy and rainy as the one being displayed on the screen,” said Khadejah Watt, the first student from John Gray High School to try the simulator.
“We talked about the radar of the machine, and the function of the radar was to identify and warn the captain of any possible obstacles that may be in the range of the boat,” she added.
Khadejah and her classmates also learned how radar is used at sea.
“If a captain is feeling a little tired and wants to take a rest, he/she could set the radar to let’s say two miles,” she recalled. “This is a big enough distance so that when the captain is resting and hears the warning of obstacles approaching, there is enough time to steer the boat in another direction.”
Students asked about the most dangerous encounters that could happen at sea, and they learned that major hazards are collisions and fires.
The students learned that seafarers train on the Transas simulators to reach various levels of expertise, from familiarization, standard operation and watch keeping, to advanced operation, troubleshooting and ship resource management. With its high-tech simulator, Transas also showed how easily pollution can spread from one country to another and what can be done to prevent it. The company has installed more than 5,500 simulator systems in 1,500 training centres. The systems are used for training by commercial fleets, navies and coast guards in 106 countries.
“It was a great experience for students to view what technology exists to facilitate training in the virtual world as well as a great opportunity to gain exposure to another career that studying science provides for the future,” said Godfrey Williams, the teacher who led up the John Gray field trip.
Frank J. Coles, chief executive officer of Transas, said, “It gave us great pleasure to show off our simulation technology to the local schoolchildren during Cayman Maritime Week.”
“The children enjoyed seeing the full capability of the simulators to show all sorts of training capabilities of the technology. We explained that maritime technology provides great career paths and the Cayman Maritime Park will provide new opportunities for them.”
Cayman Maritime Service Park, which is part of the Cayman Enterprise City (CEC) Special Economic Zone, was one of the major partners of Cayman Maritime Week and arranged the field trip for the John Gray students. CEC officials stated that this was the kind of exposure they like to provide to students, to give them insight into maritime technology and careers that are starting to become available within Cayman Maritime Services Park.
Sherice Arman, president of the Cayman Islands chapter of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association, invited various schools to bring groups of students. Children from Cayman Prep and Triple C were among those to attend throughout the week.
“WISTA is committed to partnering with various organizations to create opportunities for youth in the Cayman Islands within the maritime industry,” said Ms. Arman.