While the US Navy still navigates many of their ships using the traditional paper chart method using radar and visual navigational aids, the Annapolis Navy League Cadets experienced first hand on Saturday, November 3rd, that the Navy has also incorporated a higher technical method of navigating their ships using the electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS).
While seeing this electronic technology was exciting to the more than 25 Cadets that had the rare opportunity to visit and train on the state of the art bridge simulators at the US Naval Academy, many other features of the training system kept their unwavering attention. The Cadets navigated tight harbor entrances and experienced low visibility conditions on the high seas. Each Cadet was able to rotate among the various watch stations to include Officer of the Deck (OOD), Conning Officer, Helm and Lee Helm as well as Radar Operator.
One of the most impressive aspects of the simulators that the Cadets were able to experience was the sophisticated database that feeds the simulator systems incorporating images from all types of ships, including aircraft carriers, destroyers and submarines. The Cadets were warned that they should look to the ground or turn aft if they felt seasick while “underway” as the simulators provide a near real simulation of the pitch and roll of a ship in high seas! While all of the Cadets weathered the storm of the underway period well, some of the Instructors appeared a little green when the ships returned to port!
The Cadets were under the dedicated professional tutelage of OSC (SW) (Operations Specialist Chief Surface Warfare) Daniel Hart and QM1 (SW) (Quartermaster First Class Surface Warfare) David Bauer for their day on watch aboard the bridge simulators USS STORM and USS DOYLE. Chief Hart and Petty Officer Bauer told the Cadets that the simulators help the academy Midshipmen receive the most effective training available, preparing them for leadership roles throughout the US Navy.