Bespoke bridge and engine room Command and Control training course at South Shields Marine School
Bespoke bridge and engine room
Command and Control Course
Bespoke bridge and engine room Command and Control training course at South Shields Marine School

From 16–18th February 2021, West Nautical, in partnership with Kate Gillespie and the South Shields Marine School, hosted a Covid-19 safe bespoke “Command and Control” course to a team of 9 delegates from the same new build Motor Yacht. The delegates consisted of a 3-person engineering team and a 6-person bridge team made up of 2 captains, 2 chief officers and 2 OOW’s.

Utilising South Shields Marine School’s 360-degree bridge simulator and two-story full mission engine simulator, the emergency scenarios were based on a virtual vessel with representative equipment to replicate that which will be found on board the delegates vessel. The bridge and engine simulators can operate independently or be connected in order to run emergency scenario training as it would be on board a vessel, and the West Nautical team utilised both options during the course.

This was a fully customised course commissioned to West Nautical by Captain Stuart Frize, who had attended the Command and Control course previously, for the officers of his vessel which is due to be delivered in the Spring. Captain Frize said “The West Nautical Command and Control course is unique amongst simulator courses that I have attended. In 3-days we are able to breakdown, build and fine tune our emergency procedures and abilities. The post drill debriefs involving video, voice and data analysis is crucial for Officers and Engineers to gain a new perspective on their strengths and flaws. The immediate lessons learned and improvement to their confidence and abilities is remarkable. I highly recommend this course to other new build and Operational Captains.”

This course goes to show that even during the global crisis of the coronavirus pandemic, some employers and shipping companies continue to invest in training their seafarers, and West Nautical and the South Shields Marine School were delighted to deliver this bespoke course following the strict protocols to ensure all personnel involved were safe.

Bespoke bridge and engine course

Bridge simulator

Mel Irving, the Advanced Simulation Manager at South Shields Marine School said “It was great to Welcome West Nautical back for their Command and Control Superyacht training. This year was different, in that we ran a combined course utilising connected Bridge and Engine Room simulators. Combined training is always much more effective than each department training in isolation. It is imperative that the Bridge and Engine Room each know what the status of the other is. This is critical in aiding decision making. In reality this doesn’t always happen, so the simulation course is a great tool to highlight any deficiencies if they exist. It also shows how well a team can work to overcome major obstacles.”

Over the 3-days, the delegates were put through a wide range of scenarios with the aim of improving emergency responses, communication and resource management, as well as implementing their new ISM systems which are still in their development stages. These scenarios were designed by West Nautical in order to provide invaluable training in a realistic environment. Scenarios included collision, fire, flooding, abandon ship, medical emergencies, piracy, equipment and engine failure, all whilst “navigating” in very busy shipping lanes such as the English Channel, Singapore and Kattegat Straits.

The delegates varied in experience, and some of them had not been at sea for over 18-months as they had been in the shipyard overseeing the new build. Not having worked together previously, the course gave the officers the opportunity to build relationships under the most stressful of environments. 3rd officer Richard Heefer said: “I’ve learnt how our vessel is going to work and how, as a bridge team, we are going to operate. I’ve learnt the importance of checklists and logging. The course crammed quite a few years’ worth of scenarios and experience into 3 days which is unbelievably useful”.

Gavin Kernaghan, an unlimited Class 1 Chief Engineer, brought his team to the course having worked with the 2nd and 3rd engineers on past vessels, but never collectively. 3rd Engineer Luke Seamarks had experienced a lot of real-life emergencies in his career and understood the benefit of conducting such a detailing trained course: “I’ve been on one ship that sunk, two ships that have experienced flooding, two fires and I feel that had I done this course prior to those events, it would have given me the opportunity to think more about the situation and would have been beneficial to the crew at that time”.

Chief Engineer Kernaghan had been somewhat sceptical of attending the course, but his team benefitted greatly with him summarising: “I didn’t know what to expect before attending and thought it would be a bit of a laugh, but I would absolutely recommend this course to my peers, I’m pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it and how useful it is”.

After each exercise was completed, the delegates gather in a classroom for a detailed de-brief, which includes video playbacks of the scenario and step-by-step analysis of actions taken which either improved or heightened the scenario. Geoff Moore, West Nautical managing director said: “After running similar courses to this over the past 6 years, we realise that the real learning is done in the debrief, not during the exercises. We have seen time and again the huge improvements in human response and behaviour from delegates after we openly discuss what went wrong, what went well and what they learnt whilst alongside their peers”.

For further information about West Nautical’s Command and Control course or to sign up for the next course contact

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