Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Boat U.S. Foundation educates boaters through game play

Excerpt from U.S. Coast Guard Proceedings of the Marine Safety & Security Council magazine by Mr. Chris Edmonston, Vice President, BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water

In 1997, the foundation introduced one of the first NASBLA-approved online boating safety courses. This early foray into online education consisted entirely of text with a few static pictures. Unfortunately, slow download speeds left many users frustrated.

Flash Forward
Today, faster download speeds and improved computer capability allows the course to incorporate many interactive features such as animations and videos.

Advanced animations such as the “NavigateIt!” and “DockIt!” games allow students to take the “helm” of a boat and navigate through common boating scenarios. Rules and other boating standards are displayed and reinforced through game play.

One recent development is a downloadable boating simulator based on the same technology used by the U.S. and Royal Navies for their training programs.

As with the online animations, a student is presented with numerous scenarios. Points are allotted at the start, and improper boat handling will quickly reduce the final score. Enter a naval restriction zone ... lose points.

Speed through a no-wake zone ... lose points.

While the simulator is a stand-alone product, the foundation is working to integrate it within the basic online boating course, making the online boating course as close as possible to on-the-water training.

For more information:

Full article is available at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/fall2010.

Subscribe online at http://www.uscg.mil/proceedings/subscribe.asp.

Modeling a day trip to “Walrus Island,” the BoatUs simulator challenges the student to navigate safely.