RNZN’s new water-side seamanship trainer commissioned

Sailors from the Royal New Zealand Navy are now able to regularly train at sea without leaving port.

CAPTIONChief Petty Officer Stephen ‘Penny’ Lane demonstrates the RHIB handling crane on the Royal New Zealand Navy’s new seamanship training facility at Devonport Naval Base. NZDF photo.

A new training facility moored at the Devonport Naval Base allows sailors to develop seamanship skills in a realistic working environment that has the look and feel of a Navy ship.

The facility, accessed by a 35-metre bridge, weighs 145 tonnes, is 24 metres long, and includes equipment such as decks, rails, lines, and ladders, along with winches, cranes and hydraulics needed to raise and lower sea-boats.

Lieutenant Commander Ange Barker, who has overseen the development of the new waterside training facility opened yesterday, said exposing sailors to this training in a controlled environment before they go to sea adds another level of safety.

The Royal New Zealand Navy’s new seamanship training facility at Devonport Naval Base. NZDF photo.
Royal New Zealand Navy’s new seamanship training facility at Devonport Naval Base. NZDF photo.

The facility enables sailors to train in water-based seamanship skills such as man-overboard recovery, launching of rigid-hulled inflatable boats by crane, pilot ladder use, and life-raft launch and recovery.

Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral John Martin said New Zealand could now have standardised seamanship training for all of the New Zealand Defence Force, not just the Navy, in an environment where those skills could be practised day or night, allowing repetition that develops experience before going to sea.

“Our people no longer need to rely on classroom work or heaving lines across the parade ground, they can now train in these evolutions on site and for real,” he said.

“This will make a difference to the fleet and to the Defence Force in how we prepare to go to sea.

“This facility ensures we have the capability and equipment to train our people, not just in the basic evolution training of skills, but also in developing experience and managing risk.

“Combined with the existing indoor ships-hull simulator for practicing other skills and drills, the Royal New Zealand Navy’s modern Seamanship Training complex is now complete.”

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Brian Hartigan

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