Stem the Rising Tide of Training Challenges

May 17, 2018 9:37 am
Maritime Training













The maritime industry faces its share of challenges, especially when it comes to training. Shipping companies have to juggle so many operational balls, while also keeping the corporate plates spinning. All this with costs always a concern, and with the constant drive for competence and certification. We look at the latest challenges to face the shipping company training departments.


Maritime QuestionsMaritime training challenges can be tough to deal with, they can be complex and hit training departments and manager from different sides. One minute the focus is on cost, the next at rolling out rapid change, or gathering data and key performance indicators (KPIs).

So how, in the face of difficulties can the challenges, problems, threats and opportunities be better understood? Well, thankfully a World Maritime University initiative may just provide some answers.

The University, founded by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has partnered with companies to ensure that the trials and tribulations of maritime training are better understood, and answers can be found.

The Maritime Training Insights Database (MarTID) provides invaluable data on current and emerging training trends, staffing models, training focus areas, tools, training resource allocation and so on. It makes vital reading for the industry.


Maritime TrainingThe database has been established to all maritime training administrators to make better decisions by benchmarking their own training practices against what is happening in the industry.

The plan being that this makes the industry safer and more efficient, benefiting everyone. A worthy and noble aim, and we at KVH Videotel are very pleased to help spread that view. Knowledge, understanding and the ability to know where companies stand is vital in building a picture of training resources, needs and solutions.

Asking difficult questions is a hugely important part of finding vital answers, and that is the premise of the database. Searching to find not the perfect answer but allowing shipping companies to see where they sit when compared to others.

What is typical training spend per employee? What is the most effective training form? What are the main current industry training focus areas? The best way to evaluate training, top training drivers and the top training challenges? In answering these, companies can share anonymised, secure data on training practices, foci, and outcomes.


So, what are the key takeaways from the WMU study? The results make fascinating reading and show an industry which is not afraid to invest for the right results, but naturally needs value for money. In the face of uncertainty about regulations and the growth of data, there is a growing realisation of the importance of technology when it comes to maritime training and making their seafarers all they can and should be.

Maritime Trends1) Money Matters: The average respondent organisation spent $819 per seafarer for training in 2017. While more than half of respondents spent between 1% and 5% of their total operating budget on training. Some companies spent a lot more…as much as 20%

2 )Spend on the Rise:
There was a reported trend of increased budgeting. More operators reported an increase in their training budgets from 2016 to 2017. Some decreased,but that was not the industry norm. For those increasing their budgets, the typical increase fell in the 5% to 25% range. According to the report, increased regulatory requirements, greater focus on safety and capital expenditures were cited as driving the increase.

3) Pride Before a Fall: Overall there was a reported confidence in training practices. Almost 70% of respondents felt their training practices were better than average. 77% felt that their training reflected the operational risks in their business. Which left 13% with a real problem…

4) Accidents are the Focus: Why do companies train? Obviously, there is a compliance imperative, but the survey also found other key aspects and training drivers. At the top, the most important reason to train was reducing accidents. Then came the need to comply with regulations. Other drivers were quoted as, increasing commercial efficiency and effectiveness, managing crew competency, and career development for seafarers. Of these varied drivers, it was noted that safety training received the largest percentage of budget at 32%.

5) Challenging Convention: Obviously so much of maritime training is driven and guided by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers – however, the survey found a very mixed bag of responses to its effectiveness. 15% of respondents stated that STCW is not aligned to industry need. While an equal percentage apparently stated that the instrument is adequate for international seafarer training, with the caveat of proper implementation. Damned by faint praise springs to mind. That obviously leaves 70% who are seemingly apathetic about STCW, which is a concern in itself.

Maritime Tech6) Tech Driven Change: With the seeming rapid rise of digitalisation in shipping, it was not surprising that technology was a feature of the survey. Indeed, it was soundly stated that new technology is driving training needs. Respondents identified a number of training priorities which need to be addressed in the next 5 years. Among those, technology-related training, safety culture and skills, environmental and competence training were seen as the highest priority for trainers.

7) No Silver Bullet: For all the data, the fact seemingly remains that there is no silver bullet when it comes to maritime training. Shipping companies and their training departments have to find the right fit for them. The training solutions that provide them with the skilled people they need on their vessels, but of course within their budget. Obviously, a broad range of training methods are employed by shipping companies – and more than a quarter said they used a blended approach with face-to-face training, e-learning, videos and simulation all in the training mix. Of all the methods identified, it is e-learning and simulation which shipowners and operators reportedly plan to increase their use of in the future.


The Maritime Training Insights Database (MarTID) 2018 Training Practices Report is here we are sure you will find it fascinating. When it comes to maritime industry focus is squarely on balancing risks and rewards, and with an increased focus on e-learning, KVH Videotel can help you rise to these training challenges.