Ship handling of cruise ships on rivers is challenging and requires good manoeuvring skills for the crew to avoid accidents. 

The scenic route down a bendy river with interesting sites passing close by attracts an increasing number of tourists to the cruise ships. However, the confined space on rivers make special demands on the crew’s competence to manoeuvre the cruise ship and thus avoid accidents. 

The difference in sailing in open water and on rivers

There are major differences between sailing a cruise vessel in open water and on a river. First of all, the water depth in a river can be rather shallow and although the vessels are designed for this, shallow water effects may be expected. Another typical challenge is the strong current and the confined space generating bank effects which combined with shallow water makes manoeuvring rather challenging.

Besides these effects affecting the vessel’s manoeuvrability, the bendy rivers obstruct the view and the use of echo making it difficult to assess what comes ahead and what lies behind the ship.

Training in high-risk situations

The optimal way to address and map the navigational and manoeuvring capabilities and conditions for river cruise vessels is to conduct real-time simulations in a virtual environment representing the sections of the stretch which are considered most challenging.

FORCE Technology’s simulators are customised and focuses on specific high-risk situations of ship handling on the particular river e.g. sharp turns, confined areas under bridges, ship-ship interaction and bank effects. The simulators can also take into account the specific manoeuvring capabilities of the cruise vessel in question.

During the simulator training, the crew can safely train specific scenarios and experience extreme situations in a safe environment. Enhancing their ship handling skills in the simulator makes the crew more qualified and comfortable, thereby being better prepared for real life situations. End result is a safe and efficient operation of the cruise ship.

Cruise vessel