In August, the Coast Guard, along with the Navy and partner agencies, offloaded more than $1 bil- lion worth of cocaine at Naval Base San Diego that
was seized during a four-month mission off the Pacific
Coast of Mexico, Central and South America. Thousands of miles away, Coast Guard members were in
Bahrain, conducting national security missions in support of U.S. Central Command.
Before many of those supporting these missions
deployed, they were trained using high-tech and
detail-specific simulators at the Coast Guard Academy
in New London, Conn., either as cadets or as active-duty members returning to hone their skills before taking new assignments.
Since 1986, the academy’s Ship’s Control and Navigation Training System, commonly referred to as
SCANTS, has been helping to develop navigation rules
of the road, aids-to-navigation recognition and utilization, electronic and paper chart plotting, and Global
Positioning System triangulation for the exact location
The SCANTS facility currently has two large-scale
full mission bridge simulators, a number of smaller,
partial-task systems and tabletop simulators, all geared
toward refining the skills of navigation, seamanship,
Academy cadets spend an aver-
age of more than 100 hours with
the simulators over the course of
their four years.
First Class Cadet Jade Schroeder
and his classmates first were exposed to simulators during their
second class summer — between
their second and third years —
where they began learning basic
ship handling aboard tug boats.
“We used simulators to practice things such as man
overboard approaches as well as getting a ship underway and tying it up to a pier,” he said.
The exercises, Schroeder said, were very helpful to
practice on the simulators before actually executing
the different approaches and conning exercises.
“Having already practiced basic conning and ship-handling on the simulators, it was a relatively smooth
transition to actually conning the cutter I was on this
summer,” he said.
Cadets are able to spend time in the fleet as first class
cadets and come back to the academy to continue using
the simulators to practice what they learned in theater.
“The simulators use the same technology as most
bridges in Coast Guard cutters, which allows us to
become familiar with programs such as the automatic
identification system,” Schroeder said.
Cadets said the simulators are useful because they
keep them proficient at various positions as well as
basic navigation and standard commands.
“In the fleet, we will be placed in these positions
during special sea details, and, ultimately, it will be our
goal to obtain an underway officer of the deck qualification, and practicing our skills in the simulators
allows cadets to remain sharp in ship handling so that
Coast Guard Academy simulation training
helps cadets, service members hone their skills
By JOHN C. MARCARIO, Special Correspondent
Simulating Life at Sea
The Coast Guard Academy’s array of simulation technology is
keeping both newer and older members of the service prepared
for life at sea.
; The simulators were introduced in 1986.
; There currently are two full-mission bridge simulators being
used at the academy.
; Academy officials are hoping that a $5 million recapitalization
project will come through in the years ahead.