guidelines in 1991, the United States has become a leader in efforts to upgrade and improve the guidelines by "placing emphasis on stricter regulatory control for international shipping, and incorporation of modern training and certification methods, including use of simulators" (Drown and Mercer, 1995). Without these improvements in international standards, there can be no meaningful reduction in accidents in U.S. waters.

The United Kingdom has undertaken a major effort to improve the professional competency of all major vocations, including mariners. Box 1-3 summarizes the objectives of the U.K.'s National Vocational Qualification system, a system being structured to define levels of advancement within each vocation and to identify training and assessment certification criteria at each level in each vocation.

The Need for a Systematic Approach to Professional Development

It has been a long-standing practice to focus on knowledge as the basic determinant of mariner competency. The almost exclusive emphasis on knowledge—and general absence of systematic attention to jobtasks and performance in training and marine licensing ship's officers—results in heavy reliance on intuition in mariner professional development and qualification.

There are no professional standards for skills development to guide and optimize the content and emphasis of on-the-job training for mariners. The result is a fundamental weakness in the traditional approach to professional development and qualification, because the content and emphasis of training courses and license examinations may not correspond to actual needs. This situation is exacerbated by the relative lack of data to guide a more scientific assessment.

Marine simulation, applied in a structured program, based on relevant and focused-task and subtask analyses and skills correlation, represents significant potential to supplement traditional training and professional development (see Chapter 3). Integrating simulation into structured training can ensure high levels of competency nationally and internationally. All forms and levels of simulation could be effectively applied to enhance original learning and refresher training.


APA (American Pilot's Association). 1993. APA promotes BRM [bridge resource management] training for pilots. Press release, American Pilots' Association, Washington, D.C., October 5.

Drown, D.F., and R.M. Mercer. 1995. Applying marine simulation to improve mariner professional development. Pp. 597–608 in Proceedings of Ports '95. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers.

Hammell, T.J., K.E. Williams, J.A. Grasso, and W. Evans. 1980. Simulators for Mariner Training and Licensing. Phase 1: The Role of Simulators in the Mariner Training and Licensing Process (2 volumes). Report Nos. CAORF 50-7810-01 and USCG-D-12-80. Kings Point, New York: Computer Aided Operations Research Facility, National Maritime Research Center.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement