The shipping industry is changing and ship owners and managers are seizing the opportunity to become innovators within the sector. Shipping operators want to attract investment and that means they are looking at everything from zero emission shipping to augmented reality and virtual reality technologies for training new seafarers.

Training a new generation

Training needs to evolve if it is to engage a new generation of mariners. In an industry that is traditional by nature, this generation of seafarers is bucking the trends. It has grown up with computers in schools and the home as the norm, as not having a mobile phone or not being constantly switched on as being unthinkable. Like it or not, attention spans are growing shorter and with this shift in the way we communicate and get our information, the way the maritime industry attracts and develops new crew members also needs to change.

That’s why concepts such as gamification and virtual and augmented reality for seafarers are set to become the new benchmark for maritime education. Take simulators, which are now standard at a number of shipping training institutions. The huge benefit of these, of course, is that they enable current seafarers and new recruits to accrue new skills without endangering their safety.

The beauty of AR or VR technology is that situations that crew members may come up against are created - or augmented - in a digital world. This provides seafarers with the ability to physically practise and become adept at tasks in a safe environment which would present risks in reality.

Embracing a love of technology

Millennials are much maligned in the press but the fact is, if our industry, or indeed ANY industry, wants to attract the next generation of workers, they need to communicate with them on their own level. Millennials and Generation Z are, generally speaking, fans of technology - they’ve grown up playing with it and they use it in their daily lives.

Therefore it stands to reason that learning a trade, such as seafaring, is made more attractive by embracing virtual reality and all that the experience of learning in that environment can afford. And not only does VR, AR and gamification provide a more engaging learning experience for young seafarers, but it will also help to build their confidence through its risk free environment. Not only will a potential new recruit experience something of life on board a vessel, helping to fire their imagination, but they will be able to master basic skills before progressing to a real life situation.

A timeless calling must evolve

Seafaring might be a timeless vocation but if it is to attract a new generation of individuals who envisage their calling as being at sea, the ways to engage, and educate, them must move with the times.

If you’re considering applying for a seafaring role, check out Martide’s latest job opportunities for recruits. And if you’re a ship owner, manager or operator, let us know how we can help you fill your open positions and manage your crew via our efficient crewing solution.