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Marine simulator provides year-round training in Saskatchewan

John MACZKO, director of operations with ARSU1 in front of their new marine training simulator. (John Flatters/CTV News) John MACZKO, director of operations with ARSU1 in front of their new marine training simulator. (John Flatters/CTV News)
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Amphibious Response Support Unit One, or ARSU1, based in Echo Valley has teamed up with a Newfoundland-based simulator company on an exciting new project.

They’ve launched the first mobile marine training simulator in Saskatchewan, and it’s on display at the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation’s Outdoor & Leisure Show at Prairieland Park.

In a province filled with lakes and rivers but with a short boating season, it can be hard to maintain proficiency with boater safety.

“One of the things that we found - when it comes to training via professional first responders or recreational boaters - is the issues in which training is either weak or non-existent,” said John Maczko, director of operations with ARSU1.

That’s why ARSU1 and Virtual Marine have created the first mobile simulator in the province, so training can be done year-round.

“We can train people all year round,” he said. “So it's not tied to the few short months or that small window we have in the summer. We can conduct our training in November, December, and January when training on a boat would otherwise be impossible.”

The mobile simulator comes with countless training scenarios, fully customizable with weather and water conditions, and it can be tailored to mimic a specific location.

While current boat safety training is limited to web-based or online delivery, Maczko said this unit is the way of the future when it comes to providing safe, hands-on situations to learn from.

“There is no competency training required to operate a vessel in Canada,” Maczko told CTV News. “This is a game changer for that. This allows for the competency framework.”

Over the course of the year, the simulator will be taken around the province to offer on-site training for first responders.

“Our first responders can ask for this training to be taken to their location,” he said. “Thus having the ability to keep staff at their own headquarters, not having to send them away for training.”

Maczko says it will also be used to promote recreational boater safety for the general public, including at several provincial parks this summer.

“I’m sure the folks in Saskatchewan will see us at multiple locations throughout the year,” he said.

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation Outdoor & Leisure Show runs Friday and Saturday from Prairieland Park.

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