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ronment typically found onboard a vessel. This allows for independent third parties to provide an unvarnished and objective measure of compliance with accepted standards. Assessments can also be performed aboard an underway vessel, allowing both mariner and assessor to measure performance during routine sailing operations. Generally speaking, assessment programs use a set of accepted standards that are based on an inventory of actual and required skills. It is these standards that are the basis of measurement. For example, advanced simulation-based assessment creates a portfolio of “situations,” which allow desired skills to be identified, demonstrated and measured. The situations are then assembled into a sequence representing an expected operation (for example, a vessel maneuver such as overtaking and passing another vessel). Mariners operate the simulated vessel within the context of the provided situation while assessors observe, take notes, and measure performance relative to the established standards. The outcomes are

then assembled and reports provided, pointing out both strengths and weaknesses and—in some cases—offering suggestions and a plan for skill improvement. Experience has shown that combining different assessment techniques provides a more standard, objective, and comprehensive assessment process than could be provided by any single assessment technique alone. The BC Ferries assessment process involves written multiple choice exams to test knowledge (for example, the location of firefighting equipment), oral scenario-based exams to test ability to communicate effectively and assimilate knowledge into a plan of action, and demonstrative activities to assess critical skills (for example, the ability to don a firefighting suit). Finally, a meeting with the vessel master allows for the hard to quantify human assessment that an experienced professional master can contribute. An example from the cruise industry involves the innovative application of a new assessment technology. At Carnival Corporation’s Center for Simulator Maritime Training (CSMART), train-

ing staff employ a custom created drill/ simulation mobile application for standardizing assessments. “Skill Grader,” a joint development of Marine Learning Systems Inc and Carnival Corporation, is a first-of-its-kind tablet-based application used to assess skill performance for teams and individuals. It provides objective and detailed measures of skills that can be used to identify performance gaps and inform continuous improvement. Crucial to effective training assessment is consistency. This is achieved through the use of standard assessment guidelines/ templates, proper training (there’s that word again!) of assessors, and detailed/accurate reporting of assessment data/results. It is important to collect accurate data so that weakness can be identified, and trends analyzed. Fortunately, tools such as Skill Grader now exist that can help by automatically highlighting areas that require additional training. Accurate and standardized skill assessment provides a comprehensive view of company risk related to the performance of skills and identifies paths for remedial train-


Profile for Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association

Travel & Cruise 1st Quarter 2019