While navigating rough water is a tough job, actually learning the finer points of navigation is even tougher. Students at HISD’s Stephen F. Austin High School for Maritime Studies have a new tool that will make that learning process a little easier—and certainly more comprehensive. Students, faculty, staff, and members of HISD administration and Houston’s maritime industry christened the school’s very own navigation simulator on April 24.
Austin HS is the first comprehensive high school in the nation to have a ship bridge simulator. The equipment will prepare students for planning voyages and maneuvering ships of various sizes, by recreating conditions on a variety of vessels, including different weather, water, and traffic scenarios, and various ports of call.
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“It lets students get used to being on the water and understand how ships work, without having to leave the school,” explained John Buchanan, Austin HS maritime instructor.
Employment in the maritime industry is based on experience, and to get certified to work on a ship, students need to have some. With the navigation simulator, students can get real-world experience that will contribute to the certification process. The extra experience also allows students to gain employment at a higher pay scale once certified.