practical training on a small commercial boat

Photo Credit: Tom van Wyck

The certificate requirements for small commercial vessel operators in Canada [less than 15 Gross Tons and less than 12 passengers] have no seatime requirements, unlike higher Master (Captain) licenses. This is why the full amount of classtime is mandatory and why even well experienced mariners may not challenge the SVOP or MED A3 exams, without attending and participating in the whole course. Even the "old salts" end up learning a thing or two in our classes, especially in regards to relevant regulation and the "new school" way of operating commercial vessels in Canada's modern maritime industry. 

But there's nothing like practical experience to drive it all home. If we had unlimited time and funds, we'd like nothing better than bringing our students on the water to practice all the theory and re-inforce the concepts learned in the classroom. 

We offer practical training solutions in many formats, but it is usually only cost-effective for groups who would like the training done on their own vessels. While in some special cases we provide vessels for our clients, this is not part of the Small Vessel Operator Curriculum. 

Our instructors are vessel operators and captains. They love every opportunity to get out on the water where they belong! Please email to see how we can provide this service at a reasonable day rate on your vessel.  

Every industry has specific requirements for their operations-from passenger care to enforcement, from cargo and cranes to fish handling. Because we are so focused on relevant training and safe operations, we appreciate input for any of your specific training requirements. 

Here are some general topics covered in practical training class:

Day One (generally includes):

Pre-departure vessel checks, log keeping, pre trip navigation, hazards and dangers, electronics, maneuvering around the dock, emergency stops, Man OverBoards, emergency turns, search patterns, retrieving people from the water, flares and signaling, rules of the road, buoys and navigation, fire supression and fighting, hypothermia. 

Day Two 

Pre Departure checks, manuevering, operating the vessel in reverse, practice docking three times port side, docking three times starboard side, use of spring lines, use of breast lines, anchoring, beach landings, traffic, common local routes and channels, checking with radio traffic, trouble shooting, engine trouble shooting, other gear malfunction, refueling.

Day Three

Tying everything together and using radar/GPS/depth sounder more formally to construct and plan a route, observe traffic and travel safely to a dock some distance away. We like to train on Day 3 using twilight, restricted visibility or night conditions for piloting a vessel with limited sight. This can also be achieved by putting blinds over the windshields of a vessel and having a lookout, and is a reasonable way to help acustom new navigators to the uncertainties of blind pilotage.