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REF NO.: 52

SUBJECT: Fishing Vessel Stability Simulator launched at Memorial University’s Marine Institute

DATE: Nov. 30

The Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters and the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University introduced the Fishing Vessel Stability Simulator today, making it the first simulator of its kind to demonstrate the fundamental principles of vessel stability using a desktop computer.

The ultimate goal is to provide fish harvesters, throughout Canada, with the means to learn the concepts of fishing vessel stability, apply them to virtual vessels and to subsequently save lives.

“This is a very innovative learning tool that uses cutting edge technology,” said John Sutcliffe, executive director of the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters. “The collaboration between fish harvesters and the Marine Institute has produced a program that will make a major contribution to addressing the most critical safety issue for vessel operators in our coastal and inland waters.”

Available in English and French, the simulation software features 3-D interactive simulations, gaming scenarios, video, vessel diagrams, animations, narration and a user’s guide. This unique approach to training provides a rich learning resource for fish harvesters to interact with the material, testing what they learn in simulated fishing operations.                                                                                 

”Vessel stability in our fishing fleet in Newfoundland and Labrador and throughout Canada has been a major issue for the industry and has resulted in the loss of many vessels and lives,” said Glenn Blackwood, vice-president, Memorial University (Marine Institute). “The Marine Institute leveraged our partners’ capabilities with our own innovative curriculum development and marine simulation expertise to create one of the most valuable educational tools for fish harvesters with which we can directly affect safe vessel operations.”

The development, production and distribution of the Fishing Vessel Stability Simulator was funded by the National Search and Rescue Secretariat – New Initiatives Fund (SAR-NIF) (recommended by Transport Canada), the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development, the Research & Development Corporation (RDC), the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation and the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Transport Canada is proud to support industry-led efforts that benefit fish harvesters,” said Donald Roussel, director general of the department’s Marine Safety and Security Directorate. “The stability e-simulator will help improve the safety at sea of fish harvesters through education and awareness.”

ACOA is investing just over $250,000 in this project. ACOA’s support will help make fishing safer for harvesters and offer an innovative product that can be marketed on a global basis, thereby further developing the ocean technology sector in Newfoundland and Labrador.

 “Innovative projects such as this next-generation simulation software are important to the long term economic well-being of our province,” said Glenn Janes, chief executive officer of RDC. “Through this investment, RDC is helping build this province’s reputation as a place where technologies can be developed for resource-based industries that want to expand their abilities to operate in harsh environments.”   

RDC is investing a total of $136,751 into the project.

CCFI has been involved in the e-simulation project from its inception. “CCFI is proud to have participated in this project,” said Bob Verge, managing director, CCFI. “It is a good example of an innovative approach to a long-standing, significant problem within the fishery. We believe the e-simulator will be effective in building on the industry’s skill levels in the area of safety and vessel stability.”

Owners, masters and crewmembers can study at home at their own pace in a safe environment. The easy-to-use simulator is divided into six modules, guiding the user through more advanced safety and stability concepts and applying their knowledge in realistic, gaming exercises at each level. Fish harvesters will develop critical thinking skills and be able to analyze constantly changing stability conditions. The program is able to simulate fishing vessels up to 85 feet long and fishing operations that are typical of the major fisheries throughout Canada.

The multimedia content and user interface were produced by Memorial University’s Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support and the Marine Institute’s Centre for Marine Simulation and Virtual Marine Technology.

The final product is available for download at and will support use by independent learners and by groups in formal training settings with professional facilitators. Users will also be able to provide feedback on the use and effectiveness of the program.


Fishing Vessel Stability Simulator

Divided into six easy-to-follow modules, the Fishing Vessel Stability Simulator covers stability concepts as outlined in Transport Canada’s requirements for the Fishing Master IV certificate.

The simulator includes gaming scenarios, video, vessel diagrams, animations, narration and a user’s guide followed by 3-D interactive exercises/simulations which provide the user with an opportunity to explore the concepts presented.

Interactive exercises provide an opportunity for the user to check their level of understanding of concepts presented. Exercises provide feedback and advice on whether or not they should proceed to the next concept or what needs to be reviewed. Each module ends with a self-evaluation/unit quiz.

The Fishing Vessel Stability Simulator takes vessel stability training to a new level where 3-D simulation allows the fish harvester to experience the consequences of unsafe stability conditions immediately by applying the knowledge that they have learned to real life scenarios.

Users begin by choosing a region of the country and selecting a “virtual” vessel resembling their own craft in fishing vessel size and operation. The simulator features a significant database of pan-Canadian hull types including a full range of small fishing vessels, small open boats, and double deck and multi-purpose vessels.

Fish harvesters then reconfigure the vessel with different fishing gear arrangements and loads and investigate how these changes affect the vessel’s overall stability. The simulation engine allows the user to load gear, fresh water, fuel, ice and fish as they move through the various conditions of load during simulated fishing trips to understand how these operations affect a vessel’s stability.

The simulator calculates stability and forces in real-time to demonstrate stability concepts in a physically accurate manner through 3-D graphics, allowing the fish harvester to make decisions, set activities and see results immediately.

With each exercise, users are able to practise how to apply stability concepts to real-life situations and see how each decision can help prevent stability-related accidents and save lives.

Direction for this project was provided by a technical advisory committee consisting of fish harvesters from across the country, regulatory bodies and federal and provincial agencies.

Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) – Memorial University of Newfoundland

Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) initially developed and produced an introductory video that validated and promoted the need for the e-simulator distance education program. DELTS created multimedia content including graphics, animations and video and designed and implemented the user interface in order to create a highly interactive, engaging and effective training tool. DELTS is responsible for the development and delivery of distance education as well as the learning technologies that support and enhance teaching and learning both on campus and at a distance at Memorial University.

In its directive, DELTS has a dual focus: meeting the demand for credit courses for students who have limited access and to entrepreneurially pursue new market opportunities and innovative projects.

Project Developers:

Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters (CCPFH)

The Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters is the national human resources sector council for the fish harvesting industry. The council is a non-profit organization founded in 1995 to represent the interests of fish harvesters at the national level and to promote the professionalization of fish harvesters. The council’s mission is to ensure that fish harvesters have the appropriate knowledge, skills and commitment to meet the human resources needs of the Canadian fishery now and in the future.


Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland

Headquartered in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University of Newfoundland is Canada’s most comprehensive institute dedicated to education, training, applied research and industrial support for the oceans industries. As part of Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Marine Institute offers a range of master degree, advanced diploma, post-graduate certificate, bachelor degree, diploma of technology and technical certificate programs, together with a variety of industry-oriented short courses. The Marine Institute has a strong background in both the use of training techniques through simulation and the creation of multimedia resources for both in-class and distance education programs using a team of content experts, instructional designers, graphic designers and programmers. The institute’s Centre for Marine Simulation (CMS) led the development of the fishing vessel stability interactive display and 3-D stability simulations. As a centre of excellence, CMS responds to a variety of requests ranging from ship manoeuvring and procedural trials, performance examination and improvements and customized training to operational efficiency reviews, marine equipment testing and port design evaluation.

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Media contacts:

John Sutcliffe, executive director, Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters, 613-235-3474, 601-3474 or

Kimberley Thornhill, manager, marketing and communications, 709-778-0544, 691-9221 or

Jeff Green, manager, marketing and communications, Research & Development Corporation, 709-758-0973, 691-8892 or

Cathie Horan, executive assistant, Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation, 709-778-0515, 778-0517 or


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