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Initially designed as a training device for commercial ship operators, Boat Sim has been reengineered to appeal to the small-boat market.

Boat Sim.

Created by Tasmania-based Pivot Maritime, an international consultancy and simulation provider to the maritime industry, Boat Sim is an engaging educational tool that simulates real on-water conditions and experiences. We took the opportunity to spend a few minutes with Pivot Maritime’s director Dr Jeff Hawkins, where he filled us in on the genesis of the program.

Originally conceived for commercial pilots and ship operators, Boat Sim focuses on small-boat handling and navigation. Jeff was at pains to point out that unlike an arcade-style simulator, this system functions in real time and features a user interface that is relatively simple to use. And you don’t need a pocket full of change.

We had several runs to see how engaging the experience was and must say it began to feel quite real after a while, particularly when utilising a 3D heads-up display that immerses you in the virtual environment. At one point Jeff entered conditions to simulate a force big gale and after several minutes we were heaving with the swell.

The program’s graphics are responsive and stable, provided your computer has a decent 3D graphics card to drive it, but it’s not near-video quality in the vein of some arcade games. But that’s not really the point. This system is devised as a legitimate training tool and should be a valuable aid in sharpening your marine skills, regardless of whether you’re an old salt or a boating novice.

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