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  • 09/04/2019 01:31 PM

    Marine pilots go miniature at Port Ash

    A team of marine pilots took a trip to the Port Ash ship handling training centre to test their skills on a scaled-down model of a bustling harbour.

    While they may look like ships straight out of toy town, the vessels at Port Ash training centre are in fact realistic 1:25 scale model replicas that give ship’s masters, officers, marine pilots and naval officers the opportunity to safely practice key skills in a contained environment.

    The facilities close to Newcastle allow the marine pilots from Port Authority of New South Wales to get to grips with a number of replicas of some of the biggest ships on the ocean in a purpose-built lake complete with 32 berths, a complex system of currents and even miniature tugs boats.

    Jake Pattison, one of Port Authority’s marine pilots in Newcastle who took part in the training explained that the manned models give trainee pilots a unique opportunity to practice maneuvers on the water and to fine-tune their ship-handling techniques in a safe and controlled environment — learning invaluable skills transferrable into the real world.

    Image: Newcastle pilot Jake Pattison with Cliff Beazle, owner of the
    Port Ash Ship Handling Training Centre

    The Port Ash ship handling training centre is one of only six such facilities in the world and is operated by father-and-son team, Cliff and Andrew Beazley, both ex-Newcastle Marine Pilots.

    It takes approximately two-and-a-half years to train as a marine pilot and the Port Ash ship handling centre is just one of the ways marine pilots train for the real thing.

    Port Authority’s marine pilots also hone their skills in advanced maritime simulators that feature full-scale recreations of a ship’s bridge surrounded by a computer-generated projection of some of Australia’s most well-known ports.

    Find out more about the role of a marine pilot

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