Proper training for crewmembers is essential to ensuring a healthy, safe, efficient and environmentally sensitive dredging industry.

Having well trained operatives in control of dredging plant and well trained staff managing the deployment of this plant has many advantages. These include:

  • cost-efficiency;
  • safety;
  • environmentally sound and
  • sustainable project outcomes.

Training programmes for fleet personnel

The fundamental operations of dredging have always required highly skilled crews, skippers, ship engineers and dredge masters. With the advancement of technologies and increased size of current dredging vessels, the need for “continuing education” on this front is more demanding than ever. To that end, the dredging contractors in cooperation with schools, such as Shipping and Transport College in Rotterdam (STC) and IHC’s Training Institute, as well as the US Army Corps of Engineers, have developed vocational courses to prepare new fleet personnel.

IHC Training Institute

The IHC Training Institute located in the Netherlands offers a variety of dredging and offshore courses and classes. These include:

  • introductory courses;
  • function-specific training and master classes in offshore construction;
  • offshore subsea inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) and offshore renewable energy.


These technical and practical courses can be given in training facilities and simulators in the Netherlands and other locations all around the world.

Shipping and Transport College Group

STC Group is the abbreviation for the Shipping and Transport College Group, an international maritime transport and logistics education provider, which also offers consultancy and applied research in the field of shipping, ports, transport, logistics and port-related oil and chemical activities. The group has a number of schools and training centres worldwide and offers both masters/bachelors and vocational diplomas. The group’s headquarters is located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Also, in cooperation with shipbuilders and technology consultants, dredging companies have provided input for so-called simulators for training the “next generation” of crewmembers about the “next generation” of equipment.

Simulators for training

Simulators have been tested by experienced dredge masters and the test results indicate true-to-life operating situations. Utilising a simulator allows efficient training of larger numbers of people annually, in different and difficult situations which would be too risky to do at sea.
The fleet of large cutter suction dredgers and trailing suction hopper dredgers is growing. At the same time, shorter working times per crew are being implemented. Both these situations have led to an increased need for dredge operators. To increase capacity and reduce risk, trailing suction hopper dredger and cutter suction dredger training simulators have been developed to supplement theoretical and onboard training.

Advantages of simulators

Simulators minimise costs and risks. Equipped with a dredge control desk replicating that installed on a modern-day cutter suction dredger or trailing suction hopper dredger, the simulator can train operators for difficult situations, whilst in practice such exercises are hard to create and are preferably avoided. When mistakes are made they can be corrected without harm. Training can thus be done in a risk-free situation and training costs are considerably lower on a simulator as several people can be trained simultaneously.
Simulators are essential to the updated training for dredge masters, captains, machinists and pipe-operators allowing them to work with the newest state-of-the-art vessels as they are developed.

Other training programmes

Safety programmes and training have become an essential part of company preparedness across the entire maritime sector.
In most cases, certificates of competence as well as safety training are required to join a dredging crew as a seafarer.
Dredging contractors often organise in-house safety courses as well as participate regularly in external programmes so that their crews are kept up-to-date for onboard safety awareness, First Aid and resuscitation courses, as well as global maritime distress and safety systems.
For personnel working internationally, some dredging companies offer supplemental language courses.

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