Ice Navigation – Art or Craft?

Ice navigation is not a lost craft, but teaching of navigation in ice-covered waters is a lost tradition.

Ice navigation requires special training. Sizes of vessels, characteristics of transported cargoes, qualification of captains and navigators working in the field of ice navigation point to the importance of the problem.

It is the importance of safety of ice navigation what has caused creation and demand for training coursed with use of ice simulators. In the current situation we should determine the limits of ice navigation simulators use for crews training to get ready for operations in ice-covered waters.

We should take into account the fact that the process of navigation cannot be described with the help of linear equations. Vast variety of ice cover and inconstant hull shape will require use of complex mathematical tools. In addition, we should take into consideration the fact that during ice navigation physical sensation dominates, but sensation can hardly be realized in conditions of simulator training. This situation arises a question: will the decisions made during simulator training be adequate to those that would be made in real-life environment?

Hence, it is reasonable to determine the limits of ice navigation simulators application. A simulator itself must be provided with all-round view like, for example, they have in Warnem?nde (Germany).

In development of ice navigation simulators one should not be too enthusiastic and try to reach maximum realism.

So where is the way out of the current situation? As an optimum solution we suggest admittance to operations in ice-covered waters of only those captains and chief officers who are already experienced in ice navigation. To do this one need to keep a record of ice navigation (establish qualification requirements). It would also be useful for captains of vessels frequently operating in ice-covered waters undergo training on ice-breakers, and captains of ice-breakers could have an idea of transport vessel operations. Such practice could improve mutual understanding of both sides. Only collection of real-life experience will ensure full-grown result in the field of ice navigation.

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# 2(28), 2009
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