The safety of sea anglers took a big step forward yesterday, Friday, with the launch at Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Training College in Greencastle of new suites of high-tech simulators that will allow student skippers to pilot and dock a ship and navigate it. by adverse weather conditions.
The simulator and radio suites – recently installed at both Inishowen College and its sister college at Castletownbere – are designed to mimic actual sailing conditions for helm, training and ship control practice, as well as for routine training and ship’s distress alerting.
High winds, rain, waves and even snow conditions can be simulated.
Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue TD traveled to Greencastle to officially launch the new equipment.
He learned that it is currently being used by a cohort of students he has met and will enable future Irish fishing captains to hone the skills needed to practice sailing vessels safely, in a range of compromising conditions, including major storms.
Investment of €465,000
The ultra-modern suites now in place in the two colleges represent a government investment of €465,000.
Minister McConalogue said he was very impressed by the precision with which the simulators were able to reproduce the real conditions that one can face at sea.
“Every time our fishermen go to sea, they are potentially faced with adverse conditions, which they must be prepared for to ensure the safe return of all those on board.
“It is in this spirit that I have approved this additional investment in the new BIM Training College simulator. With this new facility and training, we are ensuring that our students have access to the highest standards for driving fishing vessels.
The BIM colleges here in Greencastle and Castletownbere are vital cogs in the wider seafood and marine industry. »
BIM Managing Director Jim O’Toole said the investment is welcome and upgrading their equipment to world-class standards enables BIM to provide the highest level of training to new entrants and those who are already in the industry.
“It will also allow us to develop future navigation simulation courses as legislation evolves,” he said.
Sea Survival Training Unit
This funding is part of a wider capital program which involves an overall investment of €1.7 million in the Greencastle Training College, recently approved by Minister McConalogue, including a sea survival training pool of 12 meters in Greencastle.
The project, when delivered, will create a cost effective maritime center of excellence which will provide a modern sea survival training unit for students and instructors, on site at the National Fisheries College, Greencastle, supporting a fishing industry in sea safe and professional.
The new facility will significantly complement the extensive training infrastructure already in place at Inishowen College, including a firefighting unit, fully integrated fishing vessel simulator, land trawler deck, engine room , a workshop and seven classrooms.
New legislative changes mean that fishers on vessels under 15 meters are now required to complete this safety training at least every five years, and this is now being implemented.
BIM offers these training courses through its colleges and coastal training units.
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