Seafarer survey shows digital crew training growth

A survey by crewing company Danica has shown a massive increase in the number of seafarers using online systems for crew training in the maritime sector, up from 4% in 2019 to nearly 30% in 2020, as pandemic restrictions and technology improvements combined to fuel greater uptake.

63% of those studying digitally said that they found the online training they had participated in to be useful – a 10% increase on last year – while 85% of those who participated in online training said they found it to be better than classroom training.

Danica’s annual Seafarer Survey is conducted between May and October among its database of more than 43,000 Eastern European seafarers. This year 8,392 crew responded, the majority of whom were senior officers.

The most common areas of training carried out online included planned maintenance, MARPOL regulations and safety management systems.

“Our results demonstrate that shipping is embracing new ways of working and that digital training methods are proving to be a success. I predict this situation will continue and online crew learning will become widespread for many seafarers,” said Danica Managing Director Henrik Jensen.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and the many travel restrictions around the globe have meant the maritime sector has had to adapt to new ways of studying in 2020. Distance learning solutions enable seafarers to study at home or on board at a time that suits them, without the need to travel to a classroom. This reduces the amount of time crew have to spend away from their families during their onshore leave, as well as saving the company money in hotel, travel and refreshment costs.”

“Digital training is often more flexible, combining a mix of online tutorials, self-work and one-to-one teaching, backed up by verification processes. We have found this blended format leads to higher levels of concentration, commitment and confidence.”

The 42-question survey also covered access to the internet and personal emails while at sea, with almost 50% of respondents reporting that they received free access to the internet and a further 38% able to access the internet with associated charges.

40% of crew said they would change employer in order to gain access to the internet while at sea, up from 32% in 2019.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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