U..S. GMDSS IMPLEMENTATION TASK FORCE
Capt. Jack Fuechsel, USCG (Ret.)
Task Force Director
7425 Elgar Street
Springfield, VA 22151
8 October 2001
USCG National Maritime Center
4200 Wilson Blvd; Suite 510
Arlington, VA 22203
Sometime ago, you requested that the Task Force evaluate Computer Based Training (CBT) or Distance Learning techniques from the standpoint of applicability to the mandated resident GMDSS STCW training of deck officers on U.S. SOLAS ships. This issue has been under review by an ad hoc group from our GMDSS Training Task Group and their report was accepted by the Task Force at its recent meeting on 16 August 2001. The following paragraphs summarize the Task Force position, especially with regard to the GMDSS Maritime Education Program which was the principal CBT program evaluated for this purpose.
The Task Force agrees that Distance Learning is an acceptable training method for many of the knowledge objectives in GMDSS training.
The Task Force notes, however, that the performance objectives in GMDSS training require hands on training with assistance from an experienced instructor.
The Task Force further notes that no currently available CBT GMDSS Program covers all of the course objectives in a complete manner. The GMDSS Maritime Education Program appears to offer the most nearly complete CBT program presently on the market.
The Task Force further notes that although claims of increased efficiency of CBT training have been made, no formal documentation exists for GMDSS training.
The Task Force therefore recommends that use of CBT programs for GMDSS training should be a supplement to, rather than a replacement for, resident GMDSS training.
The Task Force recommends that credit for time spent on a CBT GMDSS course could be given on an hour for hour basis up to a maximum of 16 hours or 2 days (roughly the time required to complete a typical CBT GMDSS program). For management purposes, it would probably be necessary that all registrants in a particular GMDSS training session complete the CBT program in advance.
The Task Force will, of course, be willing to review future data documenting the learning rate and other new CBT developments. It is also recommended that the topic remain on the agenda for discussion at the CBT Working Group of the Ship Owners Cooperative Program (SOCP).