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"What is the point of testing in Maritime Training"? Very few people know the correct answer to this question. This is a problem.
Knowing why we test our maritime trainees is critical to designing an effective assessment program. However, the answer is not what most people think it is - resulting in critical training mistakes and the common use of ineffective assessment practices. This article answers the critically important, but rarely understood question “what are we actually trying to achieve with testing”?Read More
Building a Maritime eLearning Platform - Where Does the Learning Content Come From?
This article helps answer the question "how do we create or procure the best lessons and assessments for our officers and crew". It does so by looking at the importance of getting content "right", and then moves on to concrete advice on the use of PowerPoint slide presentations (the good and the bad) as sources for eLearning content.Read More
Techniques for the Use of Maritime CBTs in a Learning Management System (LMS)
This article describes how to maximize learning outcomes, improve training oversight (and insight) and customize training to your own organizational needs by combining the use of CBTs and an LMS. This is an important topic as it leverages the value of maritime CBTs and represents how they will invariably be used (and are now starting to be used) as maritime eLearning matures.Read More
The Effective Use of Maritime CBTs in a Learning Management System (LMS) - Part 2
This is the second in a short series of articles regarding the use of Computer Based Training modules within a Learning Management System. This is important information for maritime organizations as the industry begins to mature in its use of learning technologies. This article discusses how to best use the tools that we have at hand, both to maximize efficiency and to optimize training outcomes.Read More
Using CBTs in an LMS: The Future of eLearning in the Maritime Industry
This short series of articles is about the use of CBTs and other eLearning content, and how that use is related to learning management systems. But the implications go beyond the use of technology and provide a glimpse into the future of the “eLearning business” in the maritime industry.Read More
Want to “Flip” Your Maritime Training? Here’s How!
“Flipped training" is particularly well suited to the maritime industry where guided hands-on skills and practice are a critical component of training. This second article in a short series on the flipped classroom gives practical advice on how you can flip your maritime training for improved training outcomes.Read More
The "Flipped Classroom" and its implications for Maritime Training
Every once in a while a new idea on how to improve learning makes the rounds in education circles. This article discusses a significant new training trend called the "Flipped Classroom" and its implications for the maritime industry.Read More
The Second Most Common Mistake (Arguably) in Maritime eLearning
As I wrote in the first article of this series, it is easy to make mistakes in the implementation of maritime eLearning. While it is true that making them can be very damaging to an eLearning program, they are all pretty easily avoided with just a bit of thought and knowledge. Thus, this short series of articles discusses some of the most damaging, yet some of the most easily avoided mistakes when implementing eLearning programs in the maritime industry.Read More
One of The Most Common Mistakes in Maritime eLearning
It is easy to make mistakes in the implementation of maritime eLearning. While it is true that making them can be very damaging to an eLearning program, they are all pretty easily avoided with just a bit of thought and knowledge. This is the first in a short series of articles that covers some of the most damaging, yet some of the most easily avoided mistakes when implementing eLearning programs in the maritime industry.Read More
Why Maritime Safety Cultures are Hard to Change (It's Not All Bad News)
This article looks at one aspect of human nature which makes it difficult and slow (but I stress, not impossible) to improve organizational safety cultures. But it's not all bad news. It turns out that the same human trait can also help an organization maintain a healthy safety culture once it is achieved. An understanding of this human trait will help you both improve and maintain a healthy safety culture in your maritime organization.Read More
Part II - Talking With the Experts About Maritime Safety Culture - What is it And How to Improve It
"Safety Culture" is one of those terms that is used a lot in the maritime industry. But how many of us can define it, and how do we know if we have it? This is the second article in a series on maritime safety culture and includes an interview with award winning maritime safety culture expert Capt. John Wright.Read More
Talking With the Experts About Maritime Safety Culture - What is it And How to Improve It.
"Safety Culture" is one of those terms that is used a lot in the maritime industry. But how many of us can define it? What exactly is it? How do you know if you have it? This article discusses the basics of safety culture and then concludes with an interview of Captain John Wright, an award-winning maritime safety culture expert.Read More
Does eLearning Work? It's Time to Put This Question Behind Us.
Does eLearning work? The question has been carefully analysed and a reliable answer has been found. The answer is “yes”. It is now time to use this new knowledge as a foundation, and begin asking the next series of important questions.Read More
Serious Games for Maritime Training - Some Interesting Examples
This article is the second (and last) in a series that looks at gamification in the maritime industry. It discusses gamification and identifies serious game resources, and examples of their use both within and outside the maritime industry.Read More
The Use of Games in Maritime Training - Serious Training or Just An Excuse to Play?
There are those who believe that computer-based games (yes - games!) can be used for training purposes. This article looks at the emerging field of "serious games" or "gamification" and its use as an educational tool for the maritime industry.Read More
Text, Video, Simulations and More. What is the Most Effective Media for Maritime Training? - Part III
What’s the best media choice for maritime eLearning? Text, images, video, simulation, learning games? This third article in the series on maritime eLearning media will discuss media types, examine their strengths and limitations, and provide examples of their use.Read More
Text, Video, Simulations and More. What is the Most Effective Media for Maritime Training? - Part II
This article looks at the most effective ways to combine multiple media types (text, images, etc) in the maritime learning experiences we create (and how to evaluate the quality of the learning experiences in the training content we encounter). Even if you are not actively engaged in writing maritime training content (though especially if you are), there are some important take-aways here that every maritime trainer should know.Read More
Text, Video, Simulations and More. What is the Most Effective Media for Maritime Training?
One attribute that makes an on-line maritime training implementation successful is appropriate use of media such as text, imagery, video, simulations and even gaming. In this article I am going to look at how to choose the best media for your implementation. Some of the advice may surprise you.Read More
Proof that Safety Culture and Training Does Work
Can a vessel operator completely reshape its safety culture? At BC Ferries time loss injuries have been cut in half. Serious injuries have been reduced by two-thirds. Annual insurance claims costs have been reduced by over three-quarters. This is a story that every maritime CEO, safety officer and training officer needs to know.Read More
Improving the Utility of Multiple Choice Questions in Maritime Training
Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) tests are one of the oldest and most widely used assessment techniques in existence. Yet they are also one of the most highly maligned. However, written carefully, and used appropriately as one component of a multidimensional assessment program, MCQs can be a real asset to maritime assessment. This third and final article in the series provides some practical tips on how to write effective and useful MCQs.Read More
Using Multiple Choice Tests in Maritime Training Assessments - Part 2
In my last article I began a discussion of the use of multiple choice questions (MCQs) in maritime assessment. In this, the second article, we look at two aspects of the use of MCQs: the importance of using them in combination with other assessment techniques, and the importance of understanding cultural and gender issues as they relate to MCQs (and other assessment techniques).Read More
Using Multiple Choice Tests in Maritime Training Assessments
Multiple choice tests are one of the oldest assessment techniques in existence. Yet they are also one of the most highly maligned. Why, then, do they continue to be used so pervasively in maritime training? Are they effective or aren’t they? This article is the first of a two-part series that looks at Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) in maritime training.Read More
“Big Data” and What it Will Mean for Maritime Training: “The Art of the Possible”
Maybe you’ve heard the term “Big Data” before. Maybe you haven’t. It is already providing insights into all manner of human interaction - including how people learn and how we train them. Its potential is unparalleled in history. My belief is that big data could easily be the single largest driver of training improvement since learning began. So what is big data, and how does it have the potential to vastly improve maritime training?Read More
Is Simulator Training Worth It?
For decades, simulation has been a part of maritime bridge and engine room training. But as with many safety initiatives, its effect is sometimes difficult to quantify. We know it has value, but it does come at a cost. Is the cost worth the value derived from simulator training? This article examines some recent research in an attempt to answer this question.Read More
Making Vessel-Specific Training Effective and Practical Using Adaptive Learning
It is difficult and expensive to do vessel-specific training well - which is probably why it is under specified, and in many cases poorly implemented - often via job shadowing. But there is a technology called "adaptive learning" that every vessel operator should be aware of as an excellent tool for vessel-specific training. This article looks at what adaptive learning is, and examines one vessel operator’s deployment of it in order to facilitate vessel-specific training across its fleet of 35 vessels.Read More
2012 Maritime Training Technology Wrapup
2012 has been a remarkable year for technology in maritime training and education. Therefore, I present in this article some of the current and emerging trends in maritime training technology for which 2012 will be remembered.Read More
Maritime Mentorship Spotlight on Mentor Lars Brandt
In today’s article you are going to meet the amazing engineer, mariner and maritime mentor, Lars Erik Brandt. Also, I'll provide a brief update on the international maritime mentoring community (which you are invited to visit right now and become a part of).Read More
The Human Element In the Real World - Part 3
In this third and final article on improving training in small maritime organizations, I am going to cover a number of lessons derived from one company’s transition to training excellence. These include training plan ownership, employee involvement, visibility, and training infrastructure. These can serve as valuable guidance to any maritime organization looking to make the transition to a high quality, professional and continuously improved training organization.Read More
The Human Element In the Real World - Part 2
In my last article I gave the example of a small organization which felt as though their training required attention and decided to do something about it. In this article, I'll list some of the excellent lessons from that experience which can help any maritime employer wishing to become a top-rate training organization.Read More
The Human Element on a Budget
Organizations of any size and resource availability can (and should) make great strides to improve how they train their employees. No budget is too small, and the benefits to the organization will always outweigh the cost and effort expended. This article looks at how we can improve in-house training outcomes and an organization's safety culture on a budget.Read More
Does eLearning Work in the Maritime Industry?
In this article we provide an answer to the question “does eLearning work” for the maritime industry. We are now able to answer this question based on approximately 15 years of experimentation, research and implementation done in other industries. According to the US Department of Education, the answer is ...Read More
The Human Factor on the Costa Concordia: How Can We Address Onboard Communication and Cultural Barriers?
According to press reports of the leaked investigation into the Costa Concordia tragedy, poor judgement, inadequate training, and language barriers were all apparently contributing factors. Of these, communication issues are in some sense the most problematic. This article highlights one approach to bridging language and cultural barriers on board.Read More
How Does Your Maritime Organization Support Training Excellence? How About Training Evaluations?
Teaching evaluations are a necessary and critical part of any training program for the benefit of the trainer, the trainees and the organization as a whole. Last week I wrote about teaching evaluations and discussed their background, how to deliver them, and when to deliver them. This week, I’d like to conclude the discussion on teaching evaluations by talking about what the organization (maritime college, vessel operator, etc) should do to make most effect of these evaluations.Read More
Do You Evaluate Your Maritime Training? You Should. Here's Why, and How.
Teaching evaluations are a necessary and critical part of any maritime training program. Yet surprisingly, not everyone does them! And even when they are done, it is often the case that they are not used to their full advantage. In this article, I'd like to discuss the (very simple and very effective) practice of performing teaching evaluations, why they are important, how they can be used, and ideas on how to deliver them for maximum effect in maritime training.Read More
What's a "MOOC" and Can Maritime Training Benefit From It?
If you are one of the (dwindling number of) e-learning skeptics, this article will give you heartburn. Even so - you’ll learn something really fascinating, I’ll wager. I want to describe one of the most recent moves in e-learning. It is called “Massive Open Online Courses” or MOOCs. This is a trend that institutions such as Stanford, Harvard, M.I.T. and Princeton are taking part in, and they have implications for Maritime Training.Read More
What Language Should be Used in Maritime Training?
The maritime industry, by definition, is international. Yet mariners from all corners of the earth are required to work together, communicate and interact. They are also required to train and be trained. But what language should be used to deliver their training? This article looks at bilingual training as one possibility for MET.Read More
How Can we Encourage Female Participation in the Maritime Industry? Role Models and Mentors.
According to the IMO: "Female seafarers are an under-utilized, underdeveloped but valuable resource that could provide part of the solution to the increasing problem of finding sufficient adequately trained personnel to manage and operate the world's growing and sophisticated merchant fleet." This article discusses one tool to help change that - role models and mentors.Read More
Five Tips for Excellence in Maritime Training, Including the Most Important of All: Passion
Last week's article on whether training should be mandatory for maritime instructors generated a lot of discussion. For all the different opinions held, the one point of agreement was that training can improve the effectiveness of maritime instructors. On that theme, I'd like to share some advice I've heard over the years that I feel has been of benefit to me as an instructor.Read More
Should Training for Maritime Instructors be Mandatory?
The maritime industry’s operations and training practices are highly regulated. Yet one part of the industry which receives comparatively little regulation is the amount and type of training which maritime instructors must have before they can act as instructors. Is this a fundamental flaw? Or is the industry already over-regulated?Read More
Student-Centered Learning - a Consideration for all Maritime Trainers
The term “student-centered learning” is one that many trainers likely have not heard before. Yet it is an important training concept that has been discussed for 20 or more years, and one that all maritime trainers should understand and consider. It is credited with improving trainee motivation, trainer-trainee relationships, and increasing the trainee’s own responsibility for their training. So what is student-centered learning and how is it applicable to the maritime industry?Read More
Maritime Mentorship Spotlight on Mentor Russ Garbutt
In today’s article you are going to read a bit about the International Maritime Mentoring Site, and meet an amazing maritime mentor, Capt. Russ Garbutt. I use the word “amazing” for many reasons, not the least of which is his willingness to improve the maritime industry by volunteering to share his 48 years of maritime experience with young or prospective maritime industry workers.Read More
Important Issues in Maritime Training and Education at the IMLA 20 MET Conference
Maritime education needs to be focused upon. It needs to be considered, discussed, studied, analysed, and continuously improved upon. It is for this reason that when I saw the call for papers for IMLA 20 - the 20th “IMLA International Conference on Maritime Education and Training”, I knew I needed to be there. This article highlights some of the important issues surrounding Maritime Training and Education which are being raised at this conference.Read More
Day of the Seafarer: Support Through Training and Community
I ask you - what better way is there to pay tribute to the 1.5 million seafarers around the world then to improve their lot in the industry through improved support and training? This article completes the series on peer-learning by discussing some of the benefits that accrue to trainees, trainers and training organizations in the maritime industry.Read More
Peer to Peer Learning for Maritime Training
Peer learning makes trainees an active part of the learning process as opposed to simply “vessels to be filled with knowledge”. It encourages reflective thought and engagement. And because these benefits to trainees are derived from their peers, it can actually reduce the workload on you, their trainer. This article continues the discussion on peer learning by providing some concrete advice on how to engage in peer learning in the maritime community.Read More
Trainees Learning from One Another: Excellence in Maritime Training
One of the most powerful forms of informal learning is peer learning - in other words, trainees learning from trainees. Yet although both research and experience tell us of the power of peer learning, most training organizations do almost nothing to support it. This article looks at peer learning as a supplement to traditional instruction, and discusses how we can take advantage of it to improve learning outcomes, trainee experiences and trainee engagement.Read More
Maritime Mentoring Community Now Available: Sign up and Spread the Word.
The maritime mentoring initiative will either be an amazing and valuable resource to the entire industry, or it will quietly fade away. The difference will be determined primarily by how well we get the word out. Please help spread the word (oh yes - and do join as well!)Read More
Trainee Motivation as a Tool To Improve Maritime Training Outcomes
As trainers, we are all aware of the relationship between trainee motivation and training outcomes. But not all types of motivation create an equal incentive to learn, and most training programs dedicate very little effort to building and reinforcing motivation in their trainees. This article looks at motivation in maritime training, and provides simple suggestions on how to help motivate trainees.Read More
The Move to Blended Learning in Maritime Training
BC Ferries has just been honored with an international award for creating an effective learning environment through the use of technology. This article provides an overview of how BC Ferries uses a combination of on-line and face-to-face training techniques (known as blended learning) to create a training experience that is more effective than either on-line or face-to-face training alone.Read More
Web-based Mentoring in the Maritime Industry - An Introduction
Mentoring in the maritime industry is a long-held and incredibly valuable tradition. However, due to the unique nature of the maritime working environment, the opportunities to form and sustain mentoring relationships are actually very limited. Fortunately, these limitations can be overcome through web-based mentoring. This article discusses the potential for web-based mentoring in the maritime industry: what it is, whether it can work, and what its benefits are.Read More
A Primer on Mentoring in the Maritime Industry
There are very few forms of learning as effective and personal as mentoring. This article looks at mentoring in the maritime community. It discusses the impediments to mentoring, what mentoring is and is not, and the characteristics of healthy mentoring relationships.Read More
Outstanding Response to On-Line Maritime Mentoring Proposal
Last week I called for experienced mariners (and other maritime workers) to volunteer as mentors for a proposed on-line maritime mentoring site. I have been humbled by the outpouring of positive comments and offers of help. At the time of writing we have well over 100 mentor volunteers, and the number continues to grow. This article provides an update, discusses the mentorship initiative a little more deeply and provides a sampling of the responses recieved.Read More
Would you be willing to act as a mentor to new maritime workers and trainees?
This article discusses (and proposes) mentorship in the maritime industry. In short, I think it is a critical activity, yet one which is vastly under-utilized. This post is a call to action. There are concrete steps we can take now which will benefit the entire industry.Read More
BC Ferries - a Case Study in Blended Maritime Assessment - Part 3
Assessment Case Study in the Maritime Industry: This is the third and final part of a case study of assessment practices at BC Ferries. This article looks at how BC Ferries separates training from assessment, how it supports its trainers with an on-line trainer community, and how BC Ferries has planned for continuous improvement in assessment.Read More
BC Ferries - a Case Study in Blended Maritime Assessment - Part 2
British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries) is one of the largest ferry systems in the world. It has one of the most advanced and successful maritime training and assessment programs in existence. This is the second part of a case study of assessment practices at BC Ferries.Read More
BC Ferries - a Case Study in Blended Maritime Assessment - Part 1
This article presents a case study of assessment practices employed by British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries) - one of the largest ferry systems in the world. BC Ferries has, arguably, one of the most advanced and successful maritime training and assessment programs in existence.Read More
Officer and Crew Assessment: Tips for Getting it Right (Part 2)
This second-last article of the series on maritime assessment presents a list of techniques and practices (along with supporting arguments) that contribute to valid and reliable assessment in the maritime industry.Read More
Tips for Reliable and Valid Assessment in the Maritime Industry (Part 1)
This is the fifth article in my series on officer and crewmember assessment in the maritime industry. This article is intended to “put it all together” and present a list of techniques and practices (along with supporting arguments) that contribute to valid and reliable assessment in the maritime industry.Read More
Attitude: a Very Important, but Rarely Assessed Mariner Quality
Skills and knowledge are requirements. You can’t be safe and efficient without them. However, a mariner may have all the required skills and knowledge, but still be a very poor, unsafe mariner if his or her attitude or ethics are poor. But how can we assess attitude? There are ways.Read More
Assessment in the Maritime Industry - What’s More Important: Skills or Knowledge?
This is a continuation of a series of articles on assessment in the maritime industry. This article looks at one of the most basic aspects of creating effective assessments: the differentiation between skills and knowledge and the relative importance of each in maritime industry assessment.Read More
Maritime Training: Can we Trust Our Assessment Techniques?
Assessment is a critical part of maritime safety. Although we tend to focus a great deal on training, assessment sometimes takes a back seat. It shouldn't. This article covers some assessment basics and provides an example of how BC Ferries combines techniques to improve objectivity in their assessment of candidates.Read More
Assessment in Maritime Job Training and Familiarization
This is the first in a series of articles discussing current and best-practice assessment methods in maritime job training and familiarization. This first article discusses the limits and purpose of assessment. Subsequent articles will look at assessment reliability and validity, professional judgement, the goals and topics of assessments, and the merits of specific assessment practices in the maritime industry.Read More
Understanding eLearning in Maritime Job Training and Familiarization - Part 5
This is the fifth and final installment of a series of articles intended to cover eLearning in the maritime industry - what it is, its strengths and its limitations. This last installment highlights some of the limitations of eLearning in the maritime training environment.Read More
Understanding eLearning in Maritime Job Training and Familiarization - Part 4
This is the fourth installment in a series of five articles intended to cover eLearning in the maritime industry - what it is, its strengths and its limitations. This installment (part 4) covers the second half of the practical strengths of eLearning including: Trainee peer and mentorship communities, The potential for cost reduction (or not!) , Maintenance and currency of learning materials, and Standardization and objectivity.Read More
Understanding eLearning in Maritime Job Training and Familiarization - Part 3
This is the third installment of a series of articles intended to cover eLearning in the maritime industry - what it is, what are its strengths and what are its limitations. In this installment I will cover some of the practical strengths of eLearning for vessel operators including anywhere/anytime learning, training reports and metrics, trainee-centered learning, and objective trainee assessments.Read More
Understanding eLearning in Maritime Job Training and Familiarization - Part 2
In this installment, part 2, I will cover what the research has to say about the strengths of eLearning, and talk about the implications for eLearning implementation in the maritime industry. In subsequents parts, I will cover the practical strengths of eLearning, and then talk about some limitations of eLearning in the maritime industry.Read More
Understanding eLearning in Maritime Job Training and Familiarization - Part 1
There is no doubt in my mind that eLearning is an important topic for the maritime industry. All of us involved in maritime education, whatever our views on eLearning, are going to have to come to terms with it. This is the first installment in a series of articles where I take a step back and talk more deeply about what eLearning is, and what its strengths and limitations are in the maritime training environment.Read More
The Profound Implications of Supporting Maritime Training
How we think about and how we conduct maritime training has the potential to change the course of the maritime industry now, for all, and forever. Do we give it the respect it deserves? How SHOULD we think about it?Read More
Onboard Internet and the Implications for Maritime Training
The accelerating availability of onboard internet is heralding new opportunities for mariners in terms of anywhere/anytime learning, informal education, professional advancement, and the establishment and maintenance of virtual maritime learning communities.Read More
Implementing Continuous Improvement in Familiarization Training - Part 3
Continuous Improvement (or CI for short) is the process of continually analysing the performance of some aspect of operations, and then applying changes intended to improve that performance. This is the third and final installment in a series of articles intended to introduce you to CI, and to give some practical tips for using CI in your maritime organization to improve training effectiveness and efficiency.Read More
Implementing Continuous Improvement in Familiarization Training - Part 2
This is the second in a series of articles intended to introduce you to Continuous Improvement (CI), and give some practical tips for using CI in your maritime organization to improve training effectiveness and efficiency.Read More
Implementing Continuous Improvement in Familiarization Training
This series of articles is a “how to” primer for implementing continuous improvement in maritime familiarization training. Even a modest program can yield significant results.Read More
Part 3 of 3: Establishing an On-Line Trainer Community for Your Maritime Organization
Most people find that an established professional community is one of their most critical and often used professional resources. In my last two blog posts I introduced the idea of using a "Private Professional Network" (or PPC for short) within your organization to create a community for your trainers. In this blog, I complete this thread by talking a bit about how to "bootstrap" the community or get it off the ground.Read More
Part 2 of: Establishing an On-Line Trainer Community for Your Maritime Organization
This is part 2 of a post which discusses the use of a private, online trainer community for the trainers in your maritime organization. Over the last year or so I have been involved in helping create one for the British Columbia Ferry Services and I believe it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve training outcomes and standardization in your company.Read More
Establishing an On-Line Trainer Community for Your Maritime Organization
This blog discusses the use of a private, online trainer community for the trainers in your maritime organization. Over the last year or so I have been involved in helping create one for the British Columbia Ferry Services and I believe it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve training outcomes and standardization in your company.Read More
Job Shadowing: its Suitability as a Training and Familiarization Technique
In this post, I discuss the strengths and (severe) limitations of job shadowing as a training and familiarization technique. Because of the place job shadowing holds as a traditional and common familiarization practice, I am not sure how many friends I am going to make with this post. However, while working with the British Columbia Ferry Services I have seen the evidence first hand how a move away from job shadowing and toward a more formal educational process can improve familiarization experiences and outcomes.Read More
Self-Study in Marine Training: It Can’t Possibly Be Effective. Or Can It?
In past articles I have blogged about the value of self-study as a powerful component of a job and familiarization training program. But the question that always arises is “can a person really learn as well via self-study as they can in a class or with a trainer”? This blog post addresses that question.Read More
Self-Study as Part of Familiarization Training: The Benefits and How to “Do It Right”.
Every company in the world is (or at least had better be) continuously on the lookout for ways to improve the outcomes or products they generate while maintaining or reducing costs. For familiarization training in the marine industry, self-study is one way to do both. In this blog I will talk about the benefits of self study and give some tips on how to “do it right”.Read More
BC Ferries Leads in Innovative Training Practices
BC Ferries has moved the industry a step forward by advancing the state of the art in familiarization training and clearance. They have implemented what they call the “SEA Program” - which stands for “Standardized Education and Assessment”. This blog provides an overview of the SEA program. I think all marine trainers will be interested in what they have done.Read More