News Release

REF NO.: 133

SUBJECT: New simulation technology at Memorial University’s Marine Institute improves lifeboat training

DATE: February 25, 2011

The Marine Institute will be the first institution in the world to use innovative new simulation equipment that improves the safety of lifeboat training. The equipment, called SurvivalQuest, was developed by Virtual Marine Technology (VMT) and is now being officially transferred to the Marine Institute for use by students.
            “The Marine Institute has one of the most comprehensive suites of marine simulation capabilities in North America for training personnel in the offshore petroleum and marine industries,” said Glenn Blackwood, executive director, Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University. “Using the SurvivalQuest simulator we can better prepare lifeboat operators to handle a variety of emergency launch conditions in a safe, realistic and focused learning environment. We are proud to offer this simulation capability to our clients and students and to have this opportunity to advance our expertise in offshore safety and survival training once again.”
            The current system of classroom and on-water training is limited in its ability to replicate real-world conditions and scenarios. On-water training is expensive and can increase risk, and mariners may still encounter unknown situations – that they are not prepared for – when they go to sea.  
            “Most mariners will tell you that there’s no substitute for firsthand experience,” said Capt. Anthony Patterson, president and CEO of VMT. “Lifeboat simulation bridges the gap between classroom theory and on-the-water experience. Using simulation, students are able to develop skills which cannot be developed in the classroom and are logistically too difficult to practice on-the-water. As a result, students emerge from simulation enhanced training programs better prepared for operational success.”
            SurvivalQuest was developed in conjunction with a R&D team led by Dr. Brian Veitch, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and Antonio Simoes Re of the National Research Council Institute for Ocean Technology (NRC-IOT). VMT has been working with the NRC-IOT since 2002 and is a client of the IOT Ocean Technology Enterprise Centre, an incubator that mentors new companies and helps in the development of new ocean technologies.
            "The NRC Institute for Ocean Technology is very pleased to have contributed to the success of VMT's technology, beginning with the initial prototype training simulator project in 2002. Since then, the institute has supported each step of the technology development process and, as a result, has been recognized with the federal government's Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for 2010,” said Dr. F. Mary Williams, director general of the NRC-IOT.
            The research and development of SurvivalQuest was funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the provincial department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development and Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada (PRAC).
            “Our government is working to create and sustain jobs in all regions of the country and we know that investments in research and development and innovation are critical to this,” said Senator Elizabeth Marshall, on behalf of Keith Ashfield, minister of National Revenue, minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and minister for the Atlantic Gateway.  
            “The support we provided, through ACOA’s Atlantic Innovation Fund, helped Memorial University to perfect the research that led to the commercialization of the SurvivalQuest simulator,” she said. “This type of strategic investment supports the development of our ocean technology industry and the highly skilled jobs it generates and the economic growth opportunity it creates.” 
            “The SurvivalQuest simulator is a superlative example of how researchers, responding to a problem affecting offshore safety in the province, developed an advanced solution of global importance and impact,” said Dr. Christopher Loomis, vice-president (research), Memorial University of Newfoundland. “Memorial University is proud to have been a part of this success and of our ongoing commitment to serve the needs of the people of this province.”

- 30 -