Five MVS Poole members visited the centre on Tuesday 16th October where Keith Hopkins the Senior Lecturer,Ship Handling greeted the group and within minutes we were faced with a mini convoy of fully operational ship models, each occupied and operated by two students (all ships masters or harbour pilots) appeared across the lake and berthed in front of us! The models have working propulsion, thrusters, helm and anchors. its hard not to smile with two intently concentrated adult heads peering out of the superstructure immediately forward of the models bridge. The lake has berths, harbours, buoyed channels, canals, tight turns, shallows and islands – all in an effort to make the tuition and exercises as realistic as possible. This infrastructure allows the centre to replicate “big ship” behaviours such as “squat effect” and “narrow channel interaction”. The centre staff do not want to be undertaking major repairs to their £100,000 models – but thats a lot better than a real ship on ship collision.
The 11 ship models include a container ship, tankers, bulk carriers, very large crude carriers, a liquid natural gas carrier and a roll-on roll-off ferry. After seeing the “students” aboard the models berthing after a morning exercise, the MVS Poole group comprising of Steve Pink, Peter Lockwood, Nigel Rogers, Ian Bray & Kevin Patience were taken around the centres lake in two motor dinghies by staff members who were able to point out all the features, models and berths. This was followed by a tour of the boathouse/workshop to appreciate how the models are maintained and see additional scale model remote controlled tugs that are used for some of the exercises. The 2 hour visit concluded with Keith Hopkins reviewing the overall purpose and ambition of the centre and providing additional background information on some of the features we had seen.
We thanked Keith for hosting our visit and the MVS members all agreed it had been a throughly enjoyable and worthwhile experience. A further visit that was planned for 23rd October has had to be cancelled, but Keith was keen to arrange a replacement date. Currently, the 8th November is bing proposed and MVS Poole members interested in joining that group should contact Steve Pink via email. The group will be limited to 10 and preference will be given to those who had previously been scheduled to attend on 23rd October.