Thanks to Bill Midgley (previous Awaken speaker) Rotaract Tyneside joined The Rotary club of Tyneside on a marine simulated adventure. Everyone was split into two groups so experience each of the bridges.
The group I was with was let loose on the controls of a freight liner travelling through Sydney Harbour. We had access to controls for steering, throttle and everything else you would normally find on a bridge.
There was a full 360-degree viewing displayed with huge TV screens to give a good sense of immersion. I was steering the ship for a little while before eventually exploring all other controls of the ship.
There was sonar, on-board remote cameras and various navigation equipment. Our challenge was to simply sail out to sea, we were almost there and thought, it’s time for a little fun!
Our ship went full boar into a little Yacht which surprisingly had huge impact on the ship, the swaying of the ship was very immersive as the whole horizon line was inside the game that swayed violently.
After navigating past the remainder of the obstacles we made it to sea. When we got to the open ocean I was taken by surprise how rough the waters were and concentrated much harder to try keep the boat steady.
Our second simulation was much closer to home. This time we sailed past the Tynemouth Priory down the Tyne.
Whilst the last room was displayed with huge TV screens this room was much more immersive. The boat’s cockpit was built with proper windows and outside the virtual world was projected onto a 180-degree landscape. We had greater control too.
During this simulation, we were all thrown by surprise when the weather changed. We had harsh hail, pea soup fog and even thunder and lighting.
There was a “weather” vent pumping in cold air and speakers above dock to really add to the realism. With all these extrasensory experiences we felt much more responsible for the ship’s success.
I found the fog horn controls (maybe I got carried away) and it blared full volume just as if you were near the ship in the real life, this could be programmed so horn a sequence.
Soon after we survived horrendous weather, the front of the ship caught fire which threw us all into panic we were able to find the fire alarm controls and tried to get to shore before we took on too much water, unfortunately, we met our demise and started sinking pretty fast!
Both simulations were great fun and encouraged us to work together to try and figure our controls and navigate the ship safely.
I would highly recommend a visit if you ever get the chance. Thanks again for the invite from Rotary Club of Tyneside, as it was a pleasure having you all as company.