evaluations. A number of the cadet training programs at maritime academies use them extensively for performance evaluation.

Currently, simulators are used in two U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) licensing programs to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of fundamentals of radar in qualifying radar observer certification and
  • receive the unlimited master's license by meeting standard prerequisites and successfully completing the training course offered at the STAR Center facility in Florida.


The Committee on Ship-Bridge Simulation Training found that simulation can become an effective training tool to improve mariner professional competence. It also found that simulation offers the USCG licensing program a mechanism for determining whether mariners are competent on a much more comprehensive basis than through its current written multiple-choice examinations. However, for the USCG to use simulation effectively for training and licensing, it is important that a stronger research base be developed and that the agency address issues of standardization and validation discussed in this report. The following is a summary of the committee's conclusions and recommendations. The complete text is included in Chapter 8.

Use of Simulators for Training

Setting Standards for Simulator-Based Training Courses

Mariner training is strongly task-oriented. Many of the current approaches to training and professional development in the marine industry have been based on a tradition of "modeling the expert" and on-the-job training. Training programs using simulation often insert simulation into existing courses rather than customizing the course to ensure that the simulation contributes effectively to the course training objectives. One result has been a lack of standardization in simulator-based courses.

The Committee on Ship-Bridge Simulation Training believes that the greatest benefits of simulation will be realized with a more structured approach to the use of simulation for training and with the standardization of some of the key courses of instruction. Systematic application of the instructional design process offers a strong model for the structuring of new courses and the continuous improvement of existing courses.

The committee also found that the instructor can be more important than the simulation in meeting training objectives. It is the instructor's responsibility to

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