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About this facility

Our ship handling centre at Timsbury Lake, near Romsey, provides world-renowned training for masters and senior officers on ships and large yachts, as well as specific training for pilots and berthing/mooring masters.

The centre is the only one of its kind in the UK and one of a very small number worldwide and provides a safe and controlled environment for practising and developing ship handling skills on a number of different vessels in a wide variety of conditions. The scaled models and our full mission bridge simulator can also be combined to provide real slow-speed ship handling and bridge resource management training.

The fleet

There are nine ship models in the fleet, some of which can be reconfigured to represent several ship types. They include a large sixth-generation container vessel, tankers, very large crude carriers (VLCC), LNG carriers, bulk carriers, car carriers and a roll-on, roll-off ferry.

Each vessel is an accurately scaled model of a real ship and closely replicates the handling characteristics of an actual vessel, including single and twin screw propulsion. On-board logic systems ensure that engine output, delivery and response times, and rudder response times are correctly scaled. This also applies to bow thrusters and the windlass where fitted. The optimum scale used for most vessels is 1:25 and the models themselves are substantial, each measuring between seven and nine metres long and weighing approximately five tonnes. The electrically powered models are ballasted by a combination of water and solid ballast, which can be configured to provide loaded, part loaded or ballast conditions at different trims.

The models are controlled on board by two people and are driven by nearly silent electric motors. Their maximum speed is three knots, equating to about 15 knots of ‘real’ speed.

Five radio controlled tugs are available to support manoevring operations, including a Voith water tractor, two Azimuth stern drives and two Kort nozzles. A jack up oil rig is also available for specialist offshore training.

"The ship handling course is the best training I have had in my 29 years of going to sea. The models, instructors, and facility are outstanding."
Janet DeCastro, Master, ConocoPhillips

"There is a model hre that is a working model of the ships that I dock, so there is immediate application. I can go from this model and next week dock the real ship."
Captain Bob Baker, Alaska Pilot